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Breastfeeding in public is a debated topic. Some argue it's natural and should be accepted, while others believe it should be done in private. Supporters say it's important for mothers to feed their babies whenever and wherever, to ensure they're nourished and to destigmatize breastfeeding. Opponents say it can make people uncomfortable and mothers should use a cover or go to private locations. The debate revolves around balancing the rights and needs of the mother and baby with the comfort of those around them. Breastfeeding in public has been a topic of debate for many years. Some argue that breastfeeding in public is natural and should be accepted, while others believe that it should be done in private to protect the modesty and privacy of both the mother and those around her. On the other hand, opponents of public breastfeeding argue that it can make people uncomfortable and that mothers should use cover or go to private locations to breastfeed. Supporters of public breastfeeding argue that it is important for mothers to be able to feed their babies whenever and whenever they need to, in order to ensure that the baby is properly nourished. They also argue that breastfeeding in public helps to destigmatize the act and make it more accepted in society. Overall, the debate centers around the balancing on the rights and needs of the mother and the baby with the comforts around them. My name is Matias Lara and today's podcast theme is Public Breastfeeding. Today we have two guests who will speak in more depth on the subject. Circe Gonzalez and Alba Granat. Well, I'm Alba and I think that considering all the shame and discomfort mothers need to go through, I think that they shouldn't breastfeed in public as a first choice. They should rather use a breast pump or formula to avoid staring and potential shame. Hi, my name is Circe and I'm pro breastfeeding in public as it's something that children need to eat. They need to eat every day and a lot, eat every hour, and they shouldn't have to hide it just because some people are uncomfortable with it. Well, what are the main thoughts of people after seeing a woman breastfeeding? Well, I think that it tends to vary a lot depending on what country and culture you are and grew up in. And for example, it's more acceptable in Scandinavia and Europe than it is in Asia and Australia. And I think that it also is more of a struggle today than it was a generation ago due to that the past generation's mothers did it very discreetly and most often hid it like there was something wrong with doing it. And therefore many interpret it that way and therefore think more strongly that it is wrong or get uncomfortable with it. I do agree that it is harder to do now than it was a couple of years ago as it is something that has grabbed a lot of people's attention. But I also know that in the USA, for example, 50 states have made it illegal to breastfeed in public, protecting women. So that shows that there is a lot of advances and there's many people that just don't think anything of it. Well, even if there are laws, I think it's still a huge problem to mothers as they feel really uncomfortable. And I think a big problem with it is that the shame and the staring that they're getting. And therefore I just don't think that they should go through that and rather use a breast pump or a formula. But you know that there's a bond created when the mother and the child is breastfeeding. So the mother and the child have a bond. And for example, there's this woman, Diane Westinger, who was breastfeeding in public one day and a woman came up to her to check the baby's face without realizing what she was doing and got startled. She then reassured her saying it wasn't a problem, we've all been there. And the woman answered saying, yes, we have. So it is something that people do have to get used to because it is something different. But why shouldn't it be normal? Like wearing masks in public was first weird and now it's normal and no one judges it. It just has to get to that point. Okay, I'm wondering on what is starting to turn a bit of a woman breastfeeding their children? I mean, everyone can look, but it's also, it's something new. It's not something new, but it's something that has caught many people's attention now because it's something that is more talked about. And it is unstoppable for people to look, but that shouldn't be a problem. Yeah, I think that many look because of different reasons. Someone is uncomfortable with it and therefore they stare. Or some people get caught off guard. But I think a main reason is that breasts are usually not associated with a function. And for many, they're seen as a sexual object for pleasure and something used in sexual content. And therefore, when they see a baby breastfeeding, they get very uncomfortable with it as they're connected with something sexual. But shouldn't, if women are given this gift, let's say, to be able to breastfeed their babies whenever they can, shouldn't they be able to? Why does it have to be sexual if the baby just needs to eat? And it's also unfair that women, if they have to go somewhere else, and women are missing all their surroundings and all their conversations around them just because the baby is hungry. If you are eating with other people, you are still able to have this conversation. So why shouldn't she when the baby is feeding? Yeah, but just imagine, for example, a boy that just got into puberty and maybe started watching stuff, and then they see that. I can understand why they would get uncomfortable as they think of it as something else and not just for babies to feed on. And also, a study was done in the UK in 2010. It concluded that around 40% of women or mothers have never breastfed in public. And it also concluded that if you were young or from a socially disadvantaged background, you're even less likely to do it. But I think it's just something that if the boy, like, if he sees it from the beginning, then it won't be weird. If you make a big deal about it, then he will make a big deal about it. But if it's just something that women start doing, then it will just be normal and be like, oh yeah, that baby's breastfeeding. That's it. Yeah, but I think it's just a problem with it. Like, I think it's easy in theory, but when you actually are there, I think it's a bit harder. But a solution to it would be to use a breast pump at home. And a breast pump is a device that pumps out your breast milk into a bottle, which you later can bring with you when you're going out. And in that way, you still get all the benefits that breast milk gives the baby without having to feel uncomfortable or getting sick. But did you know that, like, the bottle where the milk is stored, it has a high risk of infection as microorganisms may stick to the neck of, like, the bottle and transmit to the infant with reused bottles? And it can increase the baby's risk of choking, ear infections, and tooth decay because your baby may also eat more than he or she needs with the bottle. And it also, when, like, sometimes you put your baby to sleep with the bottle, it is not a good idea because milk can pool around the baby's teeth, and this can cause tooth decay. But is it, like, the milk is the same as it gets out of the breast? I don't know, but it's the concept of the bottle. It's not the milk. Okay. And is there an appropriate type of clothes that mothers should wear while they're breastfeeding their kids to make people not that uncomfortable? Yeah, and just like they're clothing for pregnancy and, like, to make the mothers comfortable, they're also clothes for when we breastfeed. And they're also designed for all types of events, like both casual and, like, a bit fancier, like, dresses and stuff. And the positive aspect of this type of clothing is that you don't need to reveal anything by taking off, like, the side and showing, like, your shoulder or dragging up your shirt. You just have to pull out a bit of your breast where the baby's going to breastfeed from. I do agree with that, and it's true that Diana Westinger says that 42 years ago there wasn't clothing designed for nursing women. So she had tactics, and she found out that how apparent, like, milk stains were and that whenever she went to buy something, she would have to test it out, like, the spit test to see if it would get, like, a stain just for her clothes. And I think that this is really good that women that are uncomfortable have the advantage to start off like this and still breastfeed in public and not have the bottle or the formula. But I also think that it might also attract more attention to yourself sometimes. Why do you think it would attract more attention to you? Because it's, you have, like, more things that you have to do, or, like, it just might be more obvious having those, like, clothes. But they look like normal clothes. Yeah, but instead of, like, just pulling up your shirt, you have to, like, unclip this and unclip that of your bra to, like, just show the nipple. And that might also make it more obvious than just saying, oh, hey, like, baby, get your food. Well, I don't know about that, but I think it is a good alternative for women who, like, need to breastfeed in public, like, due to the fact that the baby doesn't take the bottle or that you don't have, like, a breast pump or formula available. I think it's just a good alternative. Yeah, I do agree with that. Okay. Talking about privacy, should women have a specific place for breastfeeding their children? I don't think so. I think that when the baby needs to eat, they need to eat. They shouldn't have to, like, search up somewhere, oh, where can I breastfeed my baby? Like, they shouldn't hide it if the baby is hungry the way that we shouldn't hide the way that we eat. You know? And why should the person have to run somewhere just because other people might feel uncomfortable? They shouldn't miss out on everything else. Well, I agree to a certain extent on that, but I'm a bit torn on the subject because the main reason why I don't think that women should breastfeed naturally in public is to minimize and reduce their uncomfortableness. And by having a specified area designed for breastfeeding would only draw more attention to it and would most likely bring more shame to the mothers. But I think also that if other people around you feel uncomfortable and get distracted by it, I think you should respect them, but they should also respect you in a way. So I think you just have to, like, come to an agreement or just use a bottle. But, you know, infants, like, feed from 8 to 10 times a day or often as an hour. So what if you're out the whole day, do every hour, do you have to go find a place to hide because the baby is hungry and other people don't feel uncomfortable with it? Um, I think that, obviously feed a lot, but I think that if you have, like, a breast pump, you can just, when you go to the bathroom, it doesn't take that long to breast pump so then you can just fill up the bottle you already have. Or you can use, as we said before, the clothing appropriate to breastfeeding to minimize the uncomfortableness for you and for others. Okay. I think some mothers have different points of view about this. What do you think? Yeah, I think that mothers have very different points of view depending on where you live and on your culture. And in Scandinavia, as I said before, it's more socially acceptable. For example, in Australia, and a study was conducted there, and it concluded that it was a very controversial topic where people disagree a lot on what's acceptable and what's not. And even when the mothers like to breastfeed in public and doesn't have a problem with it, they think that they have a responsibility to others to minimize discomfort for others and to keep themselves safe. And there are also unwritten rules over there that should be undertaken, for example, to do it very discreetly. And it has become a bit of a habit to not do it in public. And here's a talk from an Australian mother that said that breastfeeding in public isn't as acceptable as it is in Europe. And personally, I don't want to do it either because it's a personal thing that should be kept private. I don't think that a child eating, no matter what way it is, should be kept private. And I know it is said that in Europe it is more accepted and the same as in the USA, but they started off somewhere, they were stuck in the same situation. So other people should be able to start off somewhere, even if it's just with clothes still, and just protect themselves if they are that uncomfortable to do it in public, but still do it and start off, and then more and more people will do it. And there are some women that are really pro, and it is shown that breastfeeding gives so many more nutrients to the child than formula, and it is much cleaner than having bottle-fed, even if it's from the breast milk. Yeah, I think that women have different point of views, and I think that you just have to accept that some want to breastfeed in public and some don't. And to those who do want to breastfeed in public, just minimize discomfort for themselves and for others. But if they don't have any discomfort for themselves, then they don't have to worry about anybody else around them, because in the end they are just feeding their child. Okay. Is there protection from governments to mothers that want to breastfeed their children in public and they don't have to be afraid of anything in the streets? As I said before, in the USA it's legal in 50 states. This means that there is protection for women as well, and there are laws created to protect women. In some countries more than others, as religion also takes a big effect on this, and it is not really accepted in countries in the East. But in Europe and the USA there are laws to protect women. Yeah, there is the Equality Act in the UK that states that women are allowed to breastfeed in public, and it's a sex discrimination to treat women unfavorably if she's breastfeeding. However, as I said before, there is around 40% of women in the UK that have been breastfed in public, and the main reason for that is because of the public shame and the uncomfortableness they would feel. So there still is, even if there are laws, women still feel a bit threatened and uncomfortable by doing it. So I think there is a problem within it. Okay. How does location and culture around the world affect your point of view of breastfeeding, like in Asia, or in Europe, or in other continents? How does this work there? Well, it's a big difference depending on where you live. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to expose their breasts in public, even for nursing. Despite the fact that the Islamic religion encourages women to breastfeed until the baby is around 2 years old, whatever place you are in. So that's just the Saudi Arabian government going against, like having their own mind of things. I do agree that culture does play a big role, but if you have the ability to breastfeed your child in public, then you should do it because of everything that it gives the child. But it is also hard for women that were in a culture where it's not accepted, and men have the power to be able to move from that. Yeah, and I think that even where it is acceptable, for example in Europe, a study was done in 2014 by the University of Athens, and they found that it's more socially accepted in Northern Europe, so like Norway, Sweden and Finland, while it's more rare in France and Wales, where women have mixed feelings due to judgments or embarrassment. And I think that there is a correlation between the equality between men and women in a country, and how socially accepted it is to breastfeed. So where it's more like equal between women and men, like it is in Norway, Sweden and Finland, it's more socially accepted, and where in France it's a bit less, it's still kind of equal, but it's less equal between men and women, so it's less socially accepted to do it. Okay, last question is, do you think that social criticism affects these women that have the necessity to breastfeed their children? I think so, women and people in general are always scared of what other people might think, and it's something that it's hard to move from, but we should move past it, because it's something that's natural, it's something that nature has given us, the ability to breastfeed your child. So moving on from that mindset is going to be hard, but it's something that has begun, and it should keep on going. Yeah, I think that unfortunately most women experience some kind of criticism or feel uncomfortable at least once during the breastfeeding journey, and referring back to the study in the UK in 2010, 40% of women haven't breastfed in public because of this. Do you have a conclusion? No, I don't have a conclusion. We can cut that. Yeah, we can cut it. So do we need to say final thoughts? It's 20 minutes, we have 20 minutes. But we can cut it out, that was like a small... You have to say final thoughts, and then I can give my conclusion. Okay, let's do that. Okay, to sum it up, do you guys have any final thoughts? Yeah, I already wrote them. Wait, let me, I'll start the video now. Okay, so we have had a long discussion about your opinions of breastfeeding. What are your final thoughts on the topic? I think that I am still pro-breastfeeding in public, and I know how Alva said some good points, especially about religion. And in Saudi Arabia, the culture is different, it is harder. But there is so many good things that comes with breastfeeding without the bottle, because the bottle has germs, and it prevents children from so many diseases, that the nutrients that the breast milk gives them, that we should try to move on from a culture where it's not as accepted. And just modernize with that subject. And there are countries in Europe and the USA where it is being more accepted, and it's just moving on from an idea that is old. Yeah, well, I still think that due to the shame and discomfort of mothers, as you can see in the UK, that 40% didn't do it in public because of discomfort. I think that the use of the breast pump or even a formula is better sometimes, not always, but, or the use of breastfeeding clothes is sometimes better to minimize the discomfort of mothers. However, I think that Syriza made some really good points about how it's more sanitary to use the natural way of breastfeeding, rather than the bottle, as of all the consequences that came with it. In conclusion, the debate around public breastfeeding is a complex issue that involves the balancing of the rights and needs of the mother and baby with the comfort and modesty of those around them. Supporters of public breastfeeding argue that it is natural and necessary for proper nourishment of the baby, but opponents argue that it should be done in private to protect the modesty and privacy of the mother and those around her. Ultimately, the decision of where and when to breastfeed should be left up to the mother. The society should strive to create a culture that is accepting and supportive of breastfeeding in all forms. Additionally, laws and policies should be in place to protect rights and breastfeeding mothers and ensure that they have access to the support and resources that they need to comfortably and confidently breastfeed their babies in public.

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