International Breastfeeding Week is Saturday 1 - Friday 7 August. Did you know the majority of New Zealanders support breastfeeding in public, yet many mothers still don't feel comfortable doing so? Women often feel like they are 'getting their boobs out', or they feel a need to 'cover up.'
Breastfeeding over the generations
My Grandmother never breastfed in front of her own husband. Whereas my Mum would wear a giant smock, so that she could breastfeed in front of people but with her babies completely hidden. My Grandmother would probably be surprised to know her Grandaughter has created her own line of breastfeeding friendly clothes, to help women feel confident about feeding in public. My how much can change over the generations!
Breastfeeding in public is a woman's right
There's a lot of public opinion around how women 'should' feed in public, all of which focuses on the discomfort or perceived judgement of others - rather than focusing on the woman's choice. More often than not, the responsibility falls on the woman to make the people around her comfortable, either by covering up, or feeding her baby in a different location, or avoiding breastfeeding in public altogether.
Research shows that while a lot has changed around cultural attitudes, breastfeeding in public is still a controversial issue! And research also shows us that when women feel embarrassed about feeding in public, this can influence their feeding decisions.
We believe women should feel comfortable to feed their baby wherever, however and whenever she chooses. If that means feeding in public - great! If that means only feeding at home - great! We are all different and we should be supported by society to make the decisions that are right for us.