UK views towards breastfeeding in public: an analysis of the public's response to the Claridge’s incident

MORRIS, Cecile, ZARATÉ DE LA FUENTE, Gustavo A, WILLIAMS, Claire and HIRST, Craig (2016). UK views towards breastfeeding in public: an analysis of the public's response to the Claridge’s incident. Journal of Human Lactation, 32 (3), 472-480.

Morris et al. Journal of Human Lactation.pdf - Accepted Version
All rights reserved.

Download (648kB) | Preview
[img] PDF (Acceptance e-mail)
morris - 12131.pdf
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (104kB) | Contact the author
Link to published version::


Background: The embarrassment UK mothers experience when breastfeeding in public has often been cited as a key factor in the decision of the mother to discontinue breastfeeding. There is convincing evidence that many UK residents are not comfortable with women breastfeeding in public; however, little is known about the underlying reasons for this discomfort. Objective: To assess views on breastfeeding in public in the United Kingdom and to understand why some UK residents object to this practice. Methods: The comment sections of news media websites and parenting forums were systematically identified and reviewed for statements made in response to an incident widely reported in the British press: a woman was asked to cover up while breastfeeding in public at Claridge’s, a London luxury hotel. Of these, 805 comments (73,108 words) met the inclusion criteria and were thematically analyzed. Results: The majority of commenters were supportive of “discreet” breastfeeding in public, but a significant portion felt that breastfeeding in public is always inappropriate. Sexualization of the breast was mainly evoked as something others may experience while viewing a breastfeeding mother, rather than to reflect the commenters' own views. Common justifications cited against breastfeeding in public were onlookers’ embarrassment (not knowing where to look) and disgust (at bodily fluids and/or functions). Conclusion: Campaigns portraying breastfeeding in public as normal and desirable with a focus on human milk as food rather than a bodily fluid may improve societal acceptance of breastfeeding in public. Keywords: Breastfeeding; public.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Food Innovation
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School > Department of Service Sector Management
Identification Number:
Page Range: 472-480
Depositing User: Cecile Morris
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 11:38
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 06:54

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics