Although breastfeeding is arguably one of the most natural things that a body can do, a look into the comments section on any breastfeeding post can tell you that we still have a long way to go when it comes to accepting it in public. Everyone loves babies, and babies need to eat so you would think that it wouldn't be such a divisive topic, but sadly it is.
Aeroflow Healthcare recently did a study that showed that 1 in 4 Americans feel that breastfeeding in public is inappropriate. ONE IN FOUR.
Aeroflow Healthcare is a company that helps women access breast pumps and other supplies through insurance. Although it's 2019 and you would think we have come a long way in normalizing breastfeeding, their study showed just how backwards some attitudes are when it comes to breastfeeding in public.
Even more surprisingly, of the 1,048 people surveyed, 25 percent of women found breastfeeding or pumping in public to be inappropriate. Women! 22 percent of men surveyed felt the same. This attitude towards breastfeeding is largely because of the sexualization of female breasts. Nobody bats an eye when a man goes out in public topless, but breastfeeding your child is somehow indecent? Please.
These results show that a higher proportion of women have a problem with public breastfeeding than men. Which is frustrating and sad.
The study did find that women are more likely to have positive attitudes towards accommodations for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. Half of men surveyed didn't see the need for these accommodations for women, whereas only 24% of women felt the same (again, seriously?).
Breastfeeding is a totally natural occurrence. Feeding a baby is not only normal and natural, but necessary. You couldn't pick a group of people to shame for eating in public, why are we doing this to babies? This ends up with women feeling uncomfortable at the prospect of feeding their own child when they are out. This can cause much unneeded anxiety and stress that unfairly lands on the mothers shoulders.
The best thing that we all can do for progress is to start treating breastfeeding as the totally normal and appropriate practice that it is.