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Boyer K “The way to break the taboo is to do the taboo thing” breastfeeding in public and citizen-activism in the UK. Health Place. 2011; 17:(2)430-7 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.06.013

Growing Up in Scotland: Birth Cohort 2. Results from the first year. 2013. http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2013/02/3280 (accessed 20 January 2016)

Brown A Breast is best, but not in my backyard. Trends Mol Med. 2015; 21:(2)57-9 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molmed.2014.11.006

Carroll M, Gallagher L, Clarke M, Millar S, Begley C Artificial milk-feeding women's views of their feeding choice in Ireland. Midwifery. 2015; 31:(6)640-6 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2015.03.002

Hunter L, Magill-Cuerden J, McCourt C ‘Oh no, no, no, we haven't got time to be doing that’: Challenges encountered introducing a breastfeeding support intervention on a postnatal ward. Midwifery. 2015; 31:(8)798-804

McLelland G, Hall H, Gilmour C, Cant R Support needs of breast-feeding women: views of Australian midwives and health nurses. Midwifery. 2015; 31:(1)1-6 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2014.09.008

Nolan A, Layte R The ‘healthy immigrant effect’: breastfeeding behaviour in Ireland. Eur J Public Health. 2015; 25:(4)626-31 https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cku177

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Breastfeeding at home and abroad

02 February 2016
2 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 2

Despite all the evidence that breastfeeding is best for babies, many people still hold negative opinions about it. For example, Kathryn Blundell—then deputy editor of parenting magazine Mother & Baby—wrote of breastfeeding that ‘seeing your teeny, tiny innocent baby latching on where only a lover has been before feels, well, a little creepy’ (Rock, 2010). Meanwhile, BBC radio DJ Alex Dyke condemned ‘earth mothers…with moustaches' who breastfed in public—a practice, he said, that ‘has to be stopped’ (Shepherd, 2015).

On the one hand, there is an evidence base confirming the multiple health benefits conferred by breastfeeding, plus the World Health Organization (WHO, 2016) recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, with continued breastfeeding alongside foods up to 2 years or more. But on the other hand there are individuals who view breastfeeding in a negative light. Such attitudes may have prompted the rise of lactation advocacy, so-called ‘lactivism’, in the UK (Boyer, 2011). Yet despite this, Brown (2015: 57) states: ‘In the UK, although 81% of mothers breastfeed at birth, by 6 weeks only 55% breastfeed at all.’ In Scotland, meanwhile, only 36% breastfeed exclusively for 6 weeks or more (Bradshaw et al, 2013).

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