It won’t be on the vegetarian menu.
But breastfeeding will be a staple at the Commensal Vegetarian Restaurant as the Bay Street eatery yesterday became the first in the city to officially welcome nursing into its laid-back premises.
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And nine-week-old Sofia Smale became the first infant to take advantage of a Toronto Public Health-run program that allows restaurants to proclaim themselves — with a door sticker and on the city’s website — Breastfeeding Friendly.
“I always knew I was going to breastfeed and I’m very comfortable with it, but I know some people aren’t,” said Clare Sullivan, the baby’s mother. “Having the sign up is a great way of letting them know that it’s OK and that it’s normal.”
It also lets people who might be squeamish about nursing know they may see it at designated restaurants, said Dr. David McKeown, the city’s medical officer of health.
More importantly, McKeown told a news conference, it’s a way to promote a practice that “confers benefits in terms of nutrition, in terms of immunity, in terms of bonding with the mom. It is the best start we can give our children in life.”
More than 90 per cent of the 30,000 babies born yearly in Toronto are breastfed at the start, but fewer than half of new mothers continue after six months. Part of the reason for that, McKeown said, is mothers can feel intimidated.