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Public Breastfeeding: America's Double Standard

Updated on January 7, 2014

Breastfeeding Poll

Do you support women who breastfeed in public?

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America's Double Standard

There is much medical research that needs to be done on breastfeeding and formula feeding. I am not arguing that ALL women must breastfeed. I believe breastfeeding is a personal choice. However, I am arguing that the lack of support for women who do choose to breastfeed is deterring other woman against breastfeeding. America needs to support woman and their right to breastfeed where they need and/or want to.

According to the CDC's breastfeeding report card for 2013, 76.5% of mothers breastfed after giving birth. By the time the children are 6 months only 16.4% of mothers exclusively breastfed their child. If society supported breastfeeding mothers, I wonder how much those numbers would increase.

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things we can do as women. I find it to be one of the most beautiful and truly interesting things about the human body. Therefore, when I often hear friends, coworkers and strangers comment about breastfeeding I interject with support that many breastfeeding mommies don't hear.

Here is a list of common middle class sayings I hear about breastfeeding...

  • If she continues to breastfeed that other child, he or she will grow up to have emotional issues
  • If they can talk, they need to be done breastfeeding
  • If they can chew solid foods, they need to be done breastfeeding
  • That's disgusting, can't she do that in the bathroom

I read many articles written about mothers being judged for not breastfeeding. In my opinion, the bigger issue is not supporting woman who choose to naturally feed their child.

Currently in 2014, there is a large breastfeeding movement. Recently Gisele Bundche, posted an instagram picture in which she was breastfeeding her baby as a hair and make-up team was preparing her. She is not the first celebrity to post a breastfeeding picture. Our society is moving in the right direction but there are still far too many Americans who are discouraging woman from breastfeeding.

In 2011 the Surgeon General wrote a "Call to Action" to support breastfeeding. He asked all people (doctors, nurses, family members, employers etc.) to give mothers support with breastfeeding. There is no doubt that breastfeeding is extremely difficult and sometimes painful. Woman should be supported in their determination and hard work.

Lets talk about the monetary savings that comes along with breastfeeding. According the Surgeon General in the first year of a child's life a family can save $1,200–$1,500 on infant formula. Babies add a great deal of monetary stress to a family. Savings this big should be considered and supported. In addition, a study published in 2010 the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.

Lets support women and their choice. Stop giving them dirty looks and making negative comments. Breastfeeding is natural.

Next time you hear someone make a negative comment about breastfeeding, ask yourself, "would this person make the same comment about the Victoria Secret annual fashion show, or other commonly acceptable American fashion statements?" Breastfeeding is not disgusting, it is a natural way to feed your child. Do not make woman feed their child in a bathroom stall. I wouldn't eat in a bathroom stall and neither should infants.

The Double Standard

Society Supports
Society Frowns Upon
swimwear models
openly breastfeeding
movies with mild nudity
breasting toddlers
suggestive clothing

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Benefits to Baby
Benefits to Mother
Other Benefits
decreased risk of SIDS
decreased risk of ovarian cancer
Money saved ($1,200–$1,500)
decreased risk of asthma
decreased risk of breast cancer
protects infants from disease
protects infants from illnesses
decrease risk of ear infection
decreased risk of obesity


Did you breastfeed your child?

See results


This is a controversial topic. Please leave your comments below :).


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    • Miss-Megan profile image

      Miss Megan 4 years ago from Indianapolis, IN

      Thank you for the support WrenchBiscuit :)

    • wrenchBiscuit profile image

      Ronnie wrenchBiscuit 4 years ago

      This is a good topic because I have always been annoyed by this double standard.American society has a perverted sense of morality.Sexuality and light porn are promoted in the media,but a women who breast feeds in public ( a wholesome natural act) is considered by many to be obscene! Furthermore, it is unfair that I ,as a man , can go shirtless in many public places while a woman can be fined and face criminal prosecution.Just a few more reasons I don't hang out at 4th of July parades!