Too Shy To Breast-feed? Put A Hat On It

Illustration for article titled Too Shy To Breast-feed? Put A Hat On It

Many women don't breast-feed because they feel self-conscious doing it in front of others — but are state-of-the-art boob-covering contraptions the answer?

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According to a survey, 65% of British moms say they don't breast-feed because they're worried about people looking at them. And their fears may not be unfounded — 54% of women who do breast-feed they've been asked to leave the restaurant for doing so. Some have to retreat to their cars to feed their kids, and, in an unfortunate example of the differences between British and American English, "35 per cent admitted they were forced to feed their baby in a toilet."

Mammographer Ella Laseinde (pictured) has a solution to breast-feeding shyness: a special bib with a hole for the breast and a flap that goes over the baby's head. It may not cover the whole breast, but there are other options. Recent inventions include a curtain suspended from the mother's neck by a circular rod, or, for the baby, a wide-brimmed Breast-feeding Hat.

Breast-feeding advocate Dia Michels, however, doesn't think the solution lies in such innovations. She says,

The reason women are so freaked out about breast-feeding in public is because we have completely sexualized the breast. The only way to make breast-feeding easier for women is to desensitize the public to breast exposure. If these devices allow women to hide what they're doing and cover it because it's shameful and because it's embarrassing, it's just perpetuating the sexualization of the breast.

Desensitizing the public, however difficult, still seems like a better option than making a baby wear a giant boob hat.

Image via The Sexist (Washington City Paper)

Two-Thirds Of Women Too Shy To Breastfeed [Daily Express]
Public Breast-Feeding: What The Nursing Bib Means For The Right To Bare Breasts [The Sexist]

DISCUSSION

applejuice
applejuice

Where in the UK do these people live? I can't get the article to open. In Scotland it is legal for you to breastfeed ANYWHERE you are legally allowed to be anyway. If anybody ever said anything to me I wouldn't take that crap, the law in on my side. Also, I'm not a member of LLL or the NCT but both of them love it when someone contacts them about something like this. They make a huge deal of it in the media. I'd be on the phone to the cops and then the LLL before you cold say "nipple".

(BTW, I've breastfed three kids for a couple years each and I have never had any trouble anywhere. Most people wouldn't even know I was breastfeeding. I personally feel those giant tarp contraptions do more to call attention to you than anything else. Also, many babies do not like their heads covered when they are nursing so that is a big FAIL.)