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Nursing mothers out and proud but Koch defiant

CHANNEL SEVEN host David Koch is standing by his controversial comments that women should be ''more discreet and modest'' when breastfeeding in public despite scores of angry mothers protesting outside the Sunrise studio in Sydney.

About 100 mothers and their supporters converged on the studio in Martin Place at 7am to breastfeed live on national television for the Sunrise nurse-in, which was organised on Facebook following Koch's comments on Friday.

But despite the uproar, Koch - who in 2007 was named Australian Father of the Year by the Australian Father's Day Council - said he would not take back his comments, which were made in response to a story about a Queensland mother being asked to be more discreet with her breastfeeding at a public pool. Koch had said it was ''fair enough'' that an attendant had asked her to move.

One of the organisers of the nurse-in, Amy Ahearn, said while she believed Koch's comments were well intentioned, they had done ''more damage than you could realise''.

''You have such a huge audience here. By saying that women should cover up or be discreet, that word has a shame connotation. We just want to see public feeding normalised. It shouldn't be something to be hidden.

''You don't have to hide under a blanket. In my case you can't, she [her daughter] will pull it off. You shouldn't have to run and hide in a parents' room or a toilet or any other area. It's just a part of life.''

The Sunrise host apologised to anyone who interpreted his comments as implying there was any shame associated with breastfeeding in public.

''I apologise if that's the way people have taken it, but breastfeeding in public isn't new. We breastfed in public our four kids 30 years ago, but we adopted a line of having the common courtesy to others. Others may not be as comfortable as we are with breastfeeding,'' he said.

Koch said two of his daughters currently were breastfeeding, and one ''tore strips" off him after his comments on Friday.

Men were definitely in the minority at the protest, with only two males, including the partner of organiser Ash Zuko.

Ms Zuko, a full-time mother, said 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'.''

with AAP

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