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Women receive unwanted attention while breastfeeding in public, survey finds

While the research mainly pointed out the stigma of breastfeeding in the UK, it is also true that women around the world find it incredibly difficult to find a safe space to feed their babies

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | August 3, 2020 9:40:06 pm
breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, research, world breastfeeding week, indian express, indian express news It was found in the survey that 26 per cent of the respondents said they had been looked at disapprovingly by strangers while feeding their baby in public. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Breast milk is the most natural form of nutrition that a baby receives in its formative years. It supplies all the necessary nutrients in proper proportions, and protects against allergies and sickness. For millions of years, human beings, as well as all other mammals, have nurtured their young ones by breastfeeding. But even today, there seems to exist this huge stigma around breastfeeding, an act that is often seen as unacceptable in the society, especially when it happens in a public space.

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A recent survey conducted by a baby product brand Tommee Tippee, has provided disturbing statistics about breastfeeding mothers. It has revealed that one in every six women has faced unwanted sexual attention while breastfeeding in public. It also showed that 26 per cent of the respondents said they had been looked at disapprovingly by strangers while feeding their baby. While 27 per cent of women have been told to go and breast-feed elsewhere, one in 10 has been told to actually leave the premises or ‘cover up’, The Independent reports. Additionally, another eight per cent of women stated they had received unwanted sexual attention in the form of suggestive comments while breastfeeding their baby.

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Nicole Wallace, spokesperson for Tommee Tippee said the survey reveals how much of a taboo breastfeeding in public holds. “This research reveals just how much stigma still exists around breastfeeding in the UK,” she was quoted as saying by The Independent. Such judgments can make one feel uncomfortable. Thirty seven per cent of the surveyed women admitted that other peoples’ unsolicited remarks made them feel extremely self-conscious, and even led to them taking unnecessary measures to breast-feed their child in private.

The report also quoted a senior midwife Louise Broadbridge, who said: “For any new mum who feels nervous about feeding in public, remind yourself that what is important is meeting your baby’s needs.”

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A spokesperson for Tommee Tippee, meanwhile, was also quoted as saying: “Making the decision to breast-feed is a very personal one and also one that’s likely to draw opinions from friends and family. But you and your baby are unique so swot up on the facts, then trust your instinct and do what is right for you both.”

While the research mainly pointed out the stigma of breastfeeding in the UK, it is also true that women around the world find it incredibly difficult to find a safe space to feed their babies. Researches like these go a long way in starting a dialogue to eventually make breastfeeding an acceptable social and public practice.

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