A nationwide survey suggests as many as one in twenty (five percent) stressed out working mums have been forced to feed their baby in front of their boss or colleagues on a video call.
Almost a third (30 percent) of those surveyed claim they feel ashamed feeding in front of others, while 14 percent find it excruciating getting their breast out in front of male colleagues or friends.
In fact, the majority (66 percent) of women claim they have been made to feel uncomfortable for breastfeeding, while 16 percent have been stared at or approached by someone while feeding their child.
Overall, just 21 percent of the 2,000 women surveyed by Tommee Tippee said they had found breastfeeding a pleasurable experience, while 27 percent said they preferred to bottle feed from the beginning.
Yet, the survey also shows the extent to which women feel judged for NOT breastfeeding, with 21 percent saying they found the experience too painful and difficult – and more than one in ten (12 percent) saying they felt pressured into it by the “breast is best” message. And breast shame has a lot to do with younger women’s feelings about feeding with 43 percent of millennial mums saying they compare their breasts to models and TV stars. 62 percent compare their breasts to friends and other mums in their social circle.
Nicola Wallace, UK Marketing Manager at Tommee Tippee, who conducted the research to celebrate its Boob Life campaign, said: “The research shows women have a complex relationship with their boobs and are vulnerable to society’s expectations and pressures. But we want to empower them to feel confident in their own bodies and choices through our new campaign, The Boob Life. The Boob Life is a chance to spark a much-needed conversation about the emotional realities of breastfeeding and encourage women to make choices that are best for themselves.”
The survey also reveals over half of women of all ages (52 percent) would never consider sunbathing topless, thirty percent of women are uncomfortable about the thought of a bra fitting and 29 percent feel embarrassed in front of doctors. A quarter (24 percent) of mums have felt self-conscious to breastfeed in front of their friends and only one in ten (9 percent) of younger mums said they would be brave enough to do so in public.
22 percent are worried about stretch marks, while the same percentage felt their breasts were too small. And 19 percent of British females think their breasts are too big, while 16 percent think they have wonky breasts. Millennial mums are the most likely to worry that breastfeeding has affected how their boobs look (15 percent), with 14 percent fearing their breasts never regained their shape.
Young women are the most likely to be uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, with 35 percent of 16–29-year-olds admitting they would not dream of doing it. But almost three quarters of women say that being able to feed a baby is one of the most empowering things about having breasts (73 percent). And despite a lack of confidence, the report shows the majority of females (58 percent) would never consider a boob job.
Tommee Tippee’s new Boob Life campaign is a celebration of women, their bodies, and their choices.