Attitudes to Breastfeeding across the UK

Thursday 7th August

The aim of World Breastfeeding Week is to raise awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding and provide support to those across the world wanting to breastfeed. But here in the UK, what are our attitudes towards breastfeeding? Do we allow women to feel comfortable about this natural act, with its indisputable health benefits?

According to our survey results, almost half (49%) of mums that didn’t breastfeed, wanted to or tried to. Of those that didn’t, only 16% said they chose formula feeding because it was more convenient. So what is it that’s really putting people off breastfeeding?

Well, with a shocking 1 in 5 mums who completed our survey experiencing negativity in public, it’s little wonder that people have their reservations. In fact, of those that have breastfed in public, only 57% of them were comfortable about doing so. But who are they experiencing negativity from, and why?

Perhaps surprisingly, 16% of women believe that breastfeeding in public is unacceptable, compared to just 6% of men. What’s more, 12% of women said that public breastfeeding would be acceptable if they were covered, either by breastfeeding under clothes or using a modesty cloth, whilst only 4% of men felt that this was necessary.

It seems that people’s age groups also affect their views on breastfeeding. The most lenient groups were the 25-40 year olds, with 90% of them finding public breastfeeding perfectly acceptable. The biggest percentage of those that found it unacceptable were over 60, 40% of whom deemed it inappropriate.

Attitudes also appear to vary depending on location. Of those that have experienced negativity when breastfeeding in public, 41% of them were from the south of England. Those from Northern Ireland seemed to have received the least amount of negativity from breastfeeding in public, with only 2% of people being affected.

It seems that whether people are deciding to breastfeed or not, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding breastfeeding in public, and despite the proven health benefits for both mother and child, these attitudes continue to put people off. But this modern world, where science prevails and health should be everyone’s number one priority, should this really be the case?

Survey was completed by 647 respondents during a one week period.

If you want to share your opinion on this topic, why not take the survey as it's still open for participation here.

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