A Surprising Number of People Still Find Breastfeeding in Public Inappropriate, Survey Reveals

And there are more women than men who are against it.
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By Stephanie Grassullo, Associate Editor
Published June 19, 2019
mom breastfeeding her baby in public on the bus next to her partner
Image: Tony Anderson / Getty Images

Despite the fact that breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states, people still find it offensive. What’s even more jarring is there are more women than men who think it’s wrong to nurse in public locales. Don’t believe us? Check out a survey from Aeroflow, a company who specializes in helping pregnant and nursing moms qualify for their breast pump through insurance.

Breastfeeding and Pumping in Public

The company surveyed more than 1,000 people in the US to understand their feelings on breastfeeding and pumping. Survey says about one in four people find it inappropriate for a women to nurse or use a breast pump in public. Twenty-five percent of women feel this way compared to 22 percent of men. The one spot that really grinds their gears? Restaurants—61 percent of people think it’s “unacceptable” for a mom feed her baby by breastfeeding while out to eat. Lots of nursing moms probably could have told you this much, considering all those horror stories you hear about women who were asked to cover up or leave the restaurant as a result.

One in three women say they feel uncomfortable when they see someone breastfeeding their child because they find it too personal. This could be why about 93 percent of women think public spaces should provide a lactation room. It’s a lot higher than the 80 percent of men who feel the same.

Pumping in the Workplace

Ask any mom who is returning to work shortly after giving birth, and she’ll likely tell you one of the hardest parts about the transition is figuring out where and when she’ll pump. Despite the 90 percent of people believe women should be able to pump at work, 41 percent of men and 25 percent of women don’t think employers should have to provide a room for breast pumping. Adding insult to injury, 21 percent of men don’t think breaks should be provided for new moms to pump, compared to just 9 percent of women.

The lack of support and proper breastfeeding etiquite from fellow coworkers is largely responsible for why some women stop breastfeeding earlier than planned. Which is why coworker support is the key to breastfeeding success for working moms. The best advice? Know your rights and be ready to be your own advocate. Here are the best tips for breastfeeding to keep in your back pocket when you’re returning to work.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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