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

Growing Up in Scotland: Birth Cohort 2. Results from the first year. 2013. (accessed 20 January 2016)

Brown A Breast is best, but not in my backyard. Trends Mol Med. 2015; 21:(2)57-9

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

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

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

Breastfeeding is ‘creepy’ says parenting magazine. 2010. (accessed 20 January 2016)

Scott JA, Kwok YY, Synnott K A comparison of maternal attitudes to breastfeeding in public and the association with breastfeeding duration in four European countries: results of a cohort study. Birth. 2015; 42:(1)78-85

BBC Radio Solent DJ Alex Dyke's breastfeeding comments ‘in breach’ of broadcasting rules, says Ofcom. 2015. (accessed 20 January 2016)

World Health Organization. Breastfeeding. 2016. (accessed 20 January 2016)

Breastfeeding at home and abroad

02 February 2016
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).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month