Why Do People Take Offense to Women Breastfeeding?


Quick Answer

Some people take offense to women breastfeeding in public because they see breasts as inherently sexual, and they believe the act of breastfeeding should be considered private. However, these people usually support the health benefits of breastfeeding, and they may advocate for more accessible facilities for mothers as an alternative.

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Full Answer

Both men and women in the media have expressed the opinion that while breasts are not meant to be seen in a sexual context during breastfeeding, it is difficult to remove that context when they are displayed publicly. Public breastfeeding is also considered inconsiderate by some, because mothers who feed their babies in crowds fail to consider that other people may not want to witness this act or may feel uncomfortable. There are also parents who would prefer not to expose their children to a stranger breastfeeding.

Even those who are offended by public breastfeeding often support breastfeeding facilities in public restrooms where mothers can go to discreetly feed their infant. Some prefer that private rooms like these be used consistently.

As of 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 77 percent of new mothers breastfeed their babies, and nearly half of all mothers are still breastfeeding after their child is six months old. Breastfeeding provides valuable nutrients to infants, and it helps prevent diseases such as childhood leukemia and diabetes, among other benefits. It has been increasingly supported by the general public since the early 1990s, though the debate on public breastfeeding has also grown.

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