Mothers are still made to feel ashamed of breastfeeding in public, according to a new international campaign.
This is despite a number of celebrities speaking out about receiving negative comments and a spate of high profile campaigns, including #FreeTheNipple which spiralled after Facebook banned breastfeeding photos among others, gaining huge support around the world.
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The research, published online in Maternal & Child Nutrition, involved British, Swedish and German researchers and included interviews and focus groups with 63 British women.
Those interviewed reported being stared at or tutted at while breastfeeding and felt as if they were seen as ‘hippies' or 'weirdos'. Others said they wanted to breastfeed after 12 months but feared public disapproval.
Only 46 per cent of UK mothers exclusively breastfeed their child at one week compared with 83 per cent in Sweden, the study’s author said.
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Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, says, ‘The Health Service dumps new mothers and sends them home with very little support, even though they’ve been told that breastfeeding is best.
‘A lot of women are crying out for help and that’s one of the reasons they give up breastfeeding.’
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‘If you go to a major store in the UK they put the breastfeeding area in a toilet. Even in an NHS trust a woman has been asked to stop breastfeeding,’ she adds.