Koch stands firm amid breastfeeding frenzy

AAP and Alexandra Pleffer
10:11am January 21, 2013
Mothers have staged a protest outside Channel Seven’s Sunrise studio in Martin Place after controversial remarks from host David Koch on breastfeeding.

It was prams at 20 paces in the Sydney CBD as dozens of nursing mums turned out to challenge television host David Koch's comments about breastfeeding.

The Seven Network presenter on Friday said he supported breastfeeding but that women should be "classy" about it.

Sunrise featured a blank backdrop today instead of its usual live window, possibly to avoid shots of the "lactivists" appearing behind the presenters, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Koch's comments, which came after a Queensland woman was told she couldn't feed her baby at a public pool, prompted an immediate backlash.

Breastfeeding supporters organised a Sunrise Nurse-In over Facebook and converged outside Sunrise studios in Martin Place on Monday morning.

Although nearly 800 people pledged to attend on the Facebook event page about 100 showed up.

Men were definitely in the minority, with only two males, including the partner of organiser Ash Zuko, spotted by AAP.

Ms Zuko, a full-time mother, told AAP she was pleased at the turn-out.

"This is what we were hoping for - to show that it's nothing big and scary and outlandish, it's just part of life," she said.

The 28-year-old said she had no qualms about the idea of breastfeeding live on national television.

"You can't dictate when your baby wants to eat, that's the whole point," she said.

"If I'm on a public bus with my five-month-old I can't say 'can you hang on 20 minutes'.

"She can't understand that - her stomach's empty, she needs to eat."

Koch stood by his comments but said everyone was "entitled to an opinion".

"I think you should breastfeed anywhere, any time at all, it's just that I think you've got to be aware of your environment and to show respect to others and common courtesy to others," he said.

"... But depending on the situation to be discreet and to be modest."

Koch added that he also didn't mind women sunbathing topless as long as they were discreet.

"But I think, out of respect to others, I hope they wouldn't do it between the flags in high traffic areas at the beach with families around, or sitting on the edge of a public pool, that they would do it discreetly on the grass," he said.

"They were values we had, which are courtesy, and I don't think they've changed today.

"Some people would call me a dinosaur, but..."

During the show, mother Victoria Brookman also presented Koch with a framed montage of 140 mothers breastfeeding.

"No one has a right to tell a breastfeeding mother to stop, move away or cover up," she told The Daily Telegraph.

Midwife Emma Beddall, 35, was among the mums who came out on Monday morning, with her four-month-old daughter in tow.

"We don't want to be judged and have conditions put on how we care for our babies," she said.

She told AAP she was offended watching Koch ask women to be discreet.

"It's certainly not personal, but I was offended by comments like 'be classy'," she said.

"I don't think breastfeeding is either 'classy' or 'unclassy', it's just the best health option for my baby."

© AAP 2014
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