Getting breastfeeding out in the open
In 2015, 776,950 babies were born in the UK. Yet just 0.5% of UK mums are breastfeeding their newborn at 12 months, despite recommendations from the World Health Organisation to continue breastfeeding into your baby’s second year. With British breastfeeding rates among the worst in the world, could the culprit be society’s attitudes towards breastfeeding?
To understand if there is a stigma attached to breastfeeding in public, Lansinoh conducted research to gauge public opinion. The new research quashed common misconceptions, revealing that the over 65s are the most accepting and that men are more comfortable with it than women.
Most Uncomfortable Places
Least Uncomfortable Places
Witnessing a woman breastfeeding in a café, restaurant or pub was uncomfortable for an average of 46% of people. Despite the most comfortable public spaces being revealed as the great outdoors, a surprising percentage of people still felt uncomfortable at the park (17%) and beach (16%).
People surveyed were least accepting towards breastfeeding in front of teenagers, with almost half of respondents agreeing it makes them feel uncomfortable. Over a third of people surveyed were not even comfortable seeing a woman breastfeed in front of another woman.
Although lack of support from policy makers and opinion leaders was the least popular reason for low breastfeeding rates, 1 in 3 still felt that it’s a significant root cause despite it being illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport*. More than half of people agreed that rates are low because women don’t want to risk abuse.
“We’re committed to supporting all mums who choose to breastfeed, and Feed With Confidence is an important initiative for us because it highlights the places and the people who are doing exactly that,” explains Kevin Vyse-Peacock, CEO of Lansinoh Laboratories. “The more we encourage openness and acceptance within society, the more confident mums will become – and that’s good news for everyone.”
Michelle Lyne, Professional Education Advisor at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM), says: “There has been significant and reliable evidence produced over recent years to show that breastfeeding has important health advantages for both baby and mother. The RCM believes that breastfeeding is the best way to get the baby off to a good start in life and has a positive impact on mother-baby relationships and nurturing of maternal and infant mental health.”
“Women breastfeeding should not be made to feel uncomfortable or guilty. The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to stop breastfeeding, or cover up or leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport.”
“Educating the public is really the key to developing a culture of positive support for breastfeeding women right across society. However, we must remember to ensure that women have access to skilled advice and support to help them to initiate and sustain breastfeeding.”
The Feed with Confidence Awards recognise people and places that help to support mums and positively change perceptions. The awards are supported by the Lansinoh Feed with Confidence Ambassadors: Jason Cotta, MD of Costa Coffee and Al Ferguson of The Dad Network. To make a nomination, please visit www.lansinoh.co.uk/feedwithconfidence. The closing date for entries is the 31st December 2017 and the winners will be announced in January.
Notes to the Editor:
Lansinoh was founded by Rasheda Hagen in 1984 to offer breastfeeding women a safe and effective alternative to the highly cosmetic products that were available for nipple soreness – a major reason for failing to establish successful breastfeeding relationships.
When mums choose to breastfeed, Lansinoh believes they should have the support and encouragement they need to experience all its benefits, and ensure baby feels the same. We’ll always take our mothers seriously and their needs personally, creating high-quality products mums want and can trust as they nurture their babies and develop a special bond only formed in motherhood.
Visit www.lansinoh.co.uk for the full range of products and more information. www.twitter.com/lansinohfamily (@lansinohfamily)
For more information, please contact:
Will Pike at Satellite PR: +44 (0) 203 872 4903
 ‘Births in UK: 2015’, Office for National Statistics
 ‘Breastfeeding in the 21st Century: epidemiology, mechanisms and lifelong effect’, The Lancet, 2016
 All figures unless stated otherwise are according to research on a nationally representative sample of 1000 UK adults carried out by ID Insight Consulting on behalf of Lansinoh, 2017.
* In England and Wales, the Equality Act states that it is sex discrimination to treat a woman unfavourable because she is breastfeeding. In Scotland, breastfeeding is protected by the Breastfeeding etc. (Scotland) Act 2005, under which it is an offence to stop someone in a public place from breastfeeding their child, if under two.