Fighting Society's Ridiculous Breastfeeding Stigma

December 20th 2015

Breast-feeding in public isn't some new phenomenon, but people still act like it is and stigmatize breasts as sexual objects meant only to stimulate desire.

Despite this lingering stigma, right now, in tons of places around the world, mothers breast-feed their babies in defiance of the ill-informed opinions or sexual perversions of others. Even Instagram nipple restrictions aren't holding them back. And in many ways, social media is giving moms a chance to normalize breast-feeding.

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Breast-feeding childFacebook/ATTN: -

Breast-feeding is normal, the natural outcome of the act of giving birth, and many women are sick of feeling shamed over it, their bodies, and their babies. And in the United States and around the world — from China, to Australia — women are speaking out against the hypocrisy.

There are health benefits to breast-feeding.

Both mothers and their babies derive major benefits from breast-feeding, with studies showing that children who take in breast milk are less likely to have ear, respiratory, and urinary tract infections, as well as diarrhea, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As a consequence, most states have laws that protect a mother's right to nurse in public. This makes sense. As one woman told Sky News in the below video, "[t]hey are nipples. They are not weapons."

The only U.S. states that don't are South Dakota and Idaho. In those states, it's illegal for mothers to breast-feed in public.

The World Health Organization recommends breast-feeding babies for the first six months of life, with continued nursing combined with other foods up to 2 years of age or older.

RELATED: The Problem with the Way We Talk About Breastfeeding

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