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The Social Cost of Breastfeeding: Overcoming prejudice is the key to increasing breastfeeding rates

breastfeeding post partum Jul 30, 2020

A woman is sitting at a café with her newborn baby who is increasingly distressed and hungry. She begins to breastfeed and is promptly asked to leave the premises by the manager due to a complaint from another patron. A mother breastfeeds her infant at a high tea in a London Hotel and is asked to “cover up.” Mothers in the US, UK and Australia have experienced explicit breastfeeding prejudice such as this, a flagrant negation of their legal right to breastfeed in public (Grant, 2016).

Examples such as these highlight the complicated nature of breastfeeding prejudice, wherein mothers receive mixed messages about breastfeeding: that it is very important, yet also offensive to many people (Schmeid, 2019).

Health professionals and the WHO recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, yet breastfeeding initiation and duration fail to come close to this desired public health outcome. The problem here is not with mothers, but with the prejudice...

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