Stories about mums getting grief for breastfeeding in public seem to be everywhere these days, but now a new study has revealed that 8 out of 10 women say they have felt uncomfortable ot have refused to breastfeed their baby when out of the house.
The Mirror reports:
But research carried out by Slater and Gordon, a law firm who specialise in maternity discrimination, have unearthed some upsetting facts.
- 63 per cent of mums felt uncomfortable breastfeeding in public
- 14 per cent only fed their child in their own home.
- One in five said they had been told to STOP breastfeeding in public.
The statistic that most surprised me here was that 14 per cent of the mums surveyed said they only fed their baby in their own home.
Now I know from previous posts and discussions here that many of our readers feel intensively uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, but I am still surprised that this figure is so high.
I just can't fathom only ever feeding my child at home, and can only assume that this mainly relates to first-time mums, because any mum of more than one child will surely agree that juggling feeds with your other child's schedule is a daily necessity. I literally couldn't have taken my older children to school if I hadn't been prepared to feed my youngest out of the house.
The same study also revealed data which suggests there is "a worrying correlation" between returning to the workplace and reducing or stopping breastfeeding altogether, but this stat surprised me less because surely many mums return to work when their baby is around 6 or 12 months, at a point when their little one would naturally start dropping feeds and prepare for weaning anyway.
The paper reports:
Paula Chan, an employment lawyer at the firm explains:“Women who choose to breastfeed their children are totally within their rights to do so in a public place.
"The law is less clear, however, in relation to women who wish to return to work whilst breastfeeding.
“Employers can’t prevent breastfeeding mothers returning to work but there is no legal requirement to provide facilities to enable mothers to express milk."
We'd love to hear about your thoughts on this, and particularly about your own experience of the impact of returning to work on breastfeeding. And if you're one of the 14% of mums who only breastfeed in your own home, we'd be really interested to hear about why that's the case and what, if anything, might help you to feel more comfortable about breastfeeding your baby in public.