Student Asks Restaurants to Post 'Breastfeeding Welcome Here' Signs to Comfort Moms

Sophie Mumper, 17, is pushing her Georgia community to post signs.

April 29, 2016, 3:41 PM
PHOTO: High school senior Sophie Mumper, 17, is pushing her community in Decatur, Georgia to post this sign to comfort moms.
High school senior Sophie Mumper, 17, is pushing her community in Decatur, Georgia to post this sign to comfort moms.
Courtesy Sophie Mumper

— -- A Georgia high school student is making it easier for moms in her local community to breastfeed.

As part of her senior project at Decatur High School, Sophie Mumper is encouraging local restaurants and businesses in Decatur, Georgia to post signs that read: "Breastfeeding Welcome Here." She hopes the effort will help moms ease their fears of being humiliated or stigmatized while breastfeeding.

Mumper, 17, told ABC News the idea came when she was traveling with her mother in Portugal.

"I saw women able to breastfeed without the same stigma that we see in the south. It didn't seem fair that women were being treated with shame for trying to sustain their child the best way possible," she said. "In Georgia, while it's legal to breastfeed, there are no enforcement provisions. So if a restaurant says, 'You have to leave.' Then there's no repercussions."

"These stickers go the extra mile to say this is a safe environment," she added.

Recently, mother of two Stephanie Rhodus was kicked out of a Henderson County, North Carolina, courtroom for breastfeeding her 8-month-old boy, Archer, during a child custody hearing -- although it's legal to breastfeed in public in North Carolina.

Still, breastfeeding laws vary across state lines. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states including Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands allow mothers to breastfeed in public.

Last month, Mumper reached out to the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, an advocacy group for families in the state. They gave her the breastfeeding signs to post. She then drafted emails to businesses in her local community to tell them more about her initiative.

"At first I didn't get a lot of responses, which is pretty discouraging," Mumper admitted. But, a month later, Mumper said she now has 13 businesses in Decatur who have agreed to post the signs "and the number is still growing," she added.

Revolution Donuts is one of the businesses who signed onto Mumper's project.

"We live in a community that is very family oriented," owner Maria Moore Riggs told ABC News. "So a big portion of our clientele are young moms out with their babies for the first time and I just wanted them to feel comfortable that they wouldn't be shamed out of the business."

"I have a son that I breastfed and I know the feeling of being out in public and feeling self conscious and not knowing how people are going to react to your feeding your child," she added, noting that she's received a warm response from customers who have seen the sign.

Sumper said she's received messages from many local moms, some tearful, thanking her for her efforts.

The senior plans to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City this fall, but says she will continue her project even after she graduates from high school.

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