Wimmera Health Care Group lactation consultant Jennifer Wilcox said there are not enough safe breastfeeding facilities for Horsham parents.
"I tell mums they are always welcome to go to the Kalkee hub to breastfeed but that's out of the way if you have come from out of town to do your shopping," Ms Wilcox said.
"You wouldn't eat your lunch in the toilet."
IN OTHER NEWS:
It is illegal in every Australian state and territory to ask someone to leave for breastfeeding or expressing milk.
"You can feed your baby anywhere, anytime but some mums don't feel comfortable feeding in public," Ms Wilcox said.
"They might want a comfortable space to feed their baby.
"Having a space would be wonderful for Horsham."
Cafes and other businesses can get breastfeeding-friendly stickers from the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
This means the business supports breastfeeding in their business, but it might not necessarily mean they have a breastfeeding or parenting room.
The association lists the requirements for "gold standard" breastfeeding spaces.
Kalkee Road Children's and Community Hub coordinator for youth and early years Cassy Kelly said the hub's space is up to that gold standard.
"Anyone is welcome to use our facilities," she said.
"They are welcome if they need to feed their baby, or change baby or even if they just need to sit and cool down."
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The hub was built in February 2018, and the location was selected to allow Horsham to expand its resources.
"Many resources are more central to the city centre, by having the community hub located here on Kalkee street it means the north community would have better access to a facility like this," Ms Kelly said.
Horsham Council's director communities and place Kevin O'Brien said the hub was purpose-built with young families in mind.
"The Hub provides areas for families to come and attend appointments, playgroup, kindergarten and other events. The facility is equipped with a number of areas suitable for families to feed children, change nappies and rest as required," Mr O'Brien said.
"Our facilities include baby change areas, toddler-sized toilets, feeding chairs, high chairs and a microwave and refrigerator.
"Families are able to feed babies and change nappies while older children can play safely in the area also."
A vital issue supporting breastfeeding is that though a mother might choose to feed in public, she also can feed her child privately and in a dedicated space that isn't a public toilet or a hot car.
"Babies pick up when their mums tense, so they might not feed as well if they are not in a comfortable space"Jennifer Wilcox, lactation consultant
A more central location is in the Horsham Plaza, which has a parenting room opposite the toilets. It has a chair, sink and microwave for parents to use.
Ms Wilcox, who is also a maternal and child health nurse, said it's important for mothers to have a safe place to feed and to feel comfortable.
"Babies pick up when their mums tense, so they might not feed as well if they are not in a comfortable space," she said.
"It would be wonderful if there was somewhere centrally located for mums to feed."
Many regional townships are developing central feeding and parenting spaces, like Ballarat.
"Bigger towns have dedicated spaces to feed children, some even have playgrounds," Ms Wilcox said.
"These spaces need to be clean, private and safe space.
"Often, parents might also have a toddler with them; they'll need a secure place.
"It doesn't have to be fancy."
Ms Wilcox said mums might be reluctant to go out if they don't have space to feed their babies quietly.
"It makes it difficult, people are fairly socially isolated anyway and now restrictions are lifting its good for people to get out," Ms Wilcox said.
"If you don't have a comfortable space to feed, it limits where you can go and what you can do.
"Especially for women out of town."
Mr O'Brien said future breastfeeding facilities would be considered part of plans being developed for the CBD over the next six to eight months.
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