Too much stigma still attached to breastfeeding in public, reveals survey

People still feel uncomfortable witnessing mums breastfeeding in pubs and restaurants, despite it being against the law to stop a parent nursing their child in public.

According to a survey released to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week the over 65s are most accepting of breastfeeding in public.

But the research revealed that an average of 46 per cent of people felt uncomfortable witnessing a mum breastfeeding in a pub, cafe or restaurant, and over a third of people surveyed were not even comfortable seeing a mum breastfeed in front of another woman.

The least uncomfortable places were at the beach, park and airport.

People surveyed were least accepting towards breastfeeding in front of teenagers, with almost half of respondents agreeing it makes them feel uncomfortable.

Over a third of people surveyed were not even comfortable seeing a woman breastfeed in front of another woman.

More than half of people agreed that rates of breastfeeding are low in the UK because women don’t want to risk abuse.

In 2015, 776,950 babies were born in the UK. Just 0.5 per cent of UK mums are breastfeeding their newborn at 12 months, despite recommendations from the World Health Organisation to continue breastfeeding into the baby’s second year of life.

It is illegal to ask a woman to leave most public places, including shops, pubs, garages and cafes, because she is breastfeeding.

The survey was carried out by Lanisoh.
“We’re committed to supporting all mums who choose to breastfeed, and Feed With Confidence is an important initiative for us because it highlights the places and the people who are doing exactly that,” said Kevin Vyse-Peacock, CEO of Lansinoh Laboratories.

“The more we encourage openness and acceptance within society, the more confident mums will become – and that’s good news for everyone.”

Michelle Lyne, Professional Education Advisor at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM), says: “There has been significant and reliable evidence produced over recent years to show that breastfeeding has important health advantages for both baby and mother.

“The RCM believes that breastfeeding is the best way to get the baby off to a good start in life and has a positive impact on mother-baby relationships and nurturing of maternal and infant mental health”

She added: “Women breastfeeding should not be made to feel uncomfortable or guilty. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to stop breastfeeding, or cover up or leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport.

“Educating the public is really the key to developing a culture of positive support for breastfeeding women right across society. However, we must remember to ensure that women have access to skilled advice and support to help them to initiate and sustain breastfeeding.”

Lansinoh has launched the Feed with Confidence Awards to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, which ends on August 7.

The awards are designed to celebrate places and people across the country supporting breastfeeding mums.

The Feed With Confidence Awards recognise people and places that help to support mums and positively change perceptions.

To make a nomination, visit www.lansinoh.co.uk/feedwithconfidence.

The closing date for entries is December 31 and the winners will be announced in January.

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