Life Style

Breastfeeding in public, a taboo?

Hide this breast which I cannot see. The formula remains a topicality which astonishes when it comes to feeding a child. While posters and magazines display photos of largely naked women, the sight of a mother feeding her child still seems indignant. At least, this is the bitter experience of a young Bordeaux woman, if we are to believe the testimony she posted on social networks.

Engaged in an endless queue in front of a relay point, she would have been slapped by an older woman, shocked to see her breastfeed her baby in the middle of the street, under everyone’s gaze. The mother might have argued that the little one was hungry, that she had modestly pulled down her jacket, the other witnesses to the scene were careful not to defend her. Or, conversely, supported the aggressor, deeming the image submitted to their sight to be immodest.

This extreme situation illustrates how breastfeeding has difficulty finding its place in the public space, where nothing forbids it. The observation is valid in all spheres of society. Thus, while in Iceland, Italy or Spain, MPs breastfeed their babies during a parliamentary session, such an initiative remains almost inconceivable in France. In companies, the same reluctance. How many have opened a dedicated place, yet provided for by law?

A return to the Stone Age?

Paradoxically, part of the little space left for breastfeeding in the city and in public places belongs to the women themselves. Some see it as a return to the Stone Age, enslaving. This is, for example, the point of view of certain feminists, for whom seeing a mother subject to the appetite of her child is a regression, where the bottle would be emancipatory.

→ READ. In California, you can breastfeed in the office

While in other countries, long breastfeeding is the rule, in France it remains the exception. According to Inserm, only one in four French children is breastfed for up to 6 months, a period recommended by the WHO. But the problem: the rarer it is, the more the image of a mother with her child at the breast risks shocking.


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