One in six mums admit to having felt sexually harassed while breastfeeding in public
A new study has revealed that as many as one in six women has faced unwanted sexual attention while breastfeeding in public.
The research, done ahead of World Breastfeeding Week, was conducted by baby product brand Tommee Tippee.
And what the researcher found was nothing short of disturbing.
More than a quarter of women (26 percent) said they had been tutted at by strangers while breastfeeding in public, with another eight per cent said they had received suggestive comments while breastfeeding their baby. Additionally, 27 percent had been told by a stranger to feed their baby elsewhere and one in 10 had been told to leave the premises or cover up.
The mums who took part in the study also said that such judgements have an impact on how confident they feel about breastfeeding in public, with 37 percent saying they felt so self-conscious about doing so that they will often cut trips out short to ensure they can feed their infants in private.
Speaking to the Independent about the study findings, senior midwife Louise Broadbridge explained:
“For the majority of new mums, the first few weeks are generally spent at home whilst both mum and baby get to grips with breastfeeding.
“However, there comes a point when it is time to venture out into the big wide world and that often means breastfeeding in public. For any new mum who feels nervous about feeding in public, remind yourself that what is important is meeting your baby’s needs. We know many parents struggle in establishing breastfeeding, which has led them to switch to formula feeding.
“One of the most valuable things that expectant parents can do in preparation for breastfeeding is gain a really sound knowledge of how breastfeeding works. Understanding how milk volume can be maximised and latch problems avoided will make all the difference in your breastfeeding journey.”
Nicola Wallace, spokesperson for Tommee Tippee added that the survey really revealed how much of a taboo people still attach to breastfeeding.
“This research reveals just how much stigma still exists around breastfeeding in the UK,” Wallace explained.
“Making the decision to breastfeed 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.”