Shame or Not, breastfeeding remains a double-edged sword

Mothers are likely to experience shame irrespective of whether or not they breastfeed their infants, new research says.

While some mothers feel shame due to public exposure, others who do not breastfeed but experience shame because they fail to give their infant the “best start”, leading to feelings of failure, inadequacy and isolation, the findings showed.

“This study highlights the difficulties and tensions that breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women can face in hospital and community settings,” said lead author Gill Thomson from the University of Central Lancashire in Britain.

The study involved 63 women with varied infant feeding experiences.

“It emphasises the need for person centered, individualised support to be available to women, irrespective of how they feed their infant, as well as focused efforts to address cultural and structural constraints associated with infant feeding,” Thomson added.

The study appeared in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition.

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