|Breastfeeding in public, do you feel comfortable?|
Breastfeeding aids manufacturer Medela is circulating a press release on mums' perceptions of breastfeeding in public. As the UK is a bottlefeeding country [most mums try breastfeeding but after six weeks or so there is still a massive drop in the breastfeeding rate according to the latest Infant Feeding stats] people are not very keen on seeing women breastfeeding in public, especially if the baby is a bit older (six months upwards). I'm not sure why - after you get the hang of it, breastfeeding can be quite discreet [personally I used a Pashmina to make a "tent" but still felt eyes were on me anyway].
Mums on Twitter and Facebook were canvassed to find out what they thought about breastfeeding outdoors. This revealed that an amazing 90% of [breastfeeding] mums have breastfed in public. However, only 63% of these mums had felt uncomfortable doing so. More than 40% of mums felt uncomfortable because people gave them 'funny looks' while they were feeding. One mum said: 'I found public feeding was stressful, people can’t help but look...' Worryingly, 26% of the mums we asked were concerned that if they were feeding inside a café or restaurant they would be asked to leave [which is now illegal bty]. One mum said: 'I was once sent to a single cubicle toilet and expected to feed my baby sat on the loo!'
Sioned Hilton, Medela’s lactation consultant, has some tips for mums who want to breastfeed while out and about. She suggests [quite sensibly] that finding a quiet place or practising at home can help. "More than a quarter of mums said they felt uncomfortable because they couldn’t cover up properly, but as Sioned advises, wearing a good nursing bra or a breastfeeding vest can make this much easier." [Sorry to butt in but do make sure that you are wearing the correct size as a too small a bra can, in the worst case scenario, lead to blocked ducts and doesn't help with attachment as your baby won't be able to take a good amount of breast in the mouth. Also be wary of some too discreet breastfeeding tops as they won't bare enough breast, making latching on harder if you are still on a learning curve.]
Medela's press release continues: "It is not all about the mum though - the public have an important role to play too, if they can recognise that breastfeeding is completely natural, mums won’t have to worry about funny looks or comments. Interestingly 21% had never received any negative feedback while feeding outdoors, proving that slowly but surely people are becoming more accepting." [Hooray! but why there are still people on forums suggesting mums to go to the toilet as it's private, it's not the same as doing a No. 1 or No. 2. And why some bottlefeeding mums are suggesting breastfeeding mums should express after six months and give bottles? Not everybody can express successfully and at this stage you'd be better off using closed beakers, not bottles.]
"Breastfeeding friendly cities are springing up across the country and many cafes and restaurants now display a badge welcoming new mums, so with a little more awareness and expert advice, Medela hope breastfeeding in public can be a peaceful experience." [I have to relate a funny thing here: the Middle-eastern cafe where I used to live in London - yes, one with smoking pipes on display, had a breastfeeding friendly logo. I kept wondering if they wanted to be helpful and inclusive or provide "tittillation" to their customers because the clientele was male.]
Breastfeeding friendly places in the UK
STOP PRESS - STRANGEST PRESS RELEASE
Beware of fake slings! As babies are allowed to Olympics in a sling, apparently there are rogue sling businesses out there. I am not sure if to laugh it off or be worried about this statement.