A craze for breastfeeding selfies is fuelling an atmosphere which makes mothers who bottlefeed feel “judged at every turn”, campaigners have warned.
A survey has revealed that seven in 10 (69%) bottlefeeding mothers say they have been judged negatively, while four in 10 (41%) feel they have “failed as a mum and failed their child” because they do not breastfeed.
Four in 10 (39%) say they have received negative looks and comments from strangers when they bottlefeed their offspring, while a fifth have been attacked on social media and 16% have endured cruel comments from other mothers.
It comes after a craze for breastfeeding selfies, known as “brelfies”, swept the internet, with many celebrity mothers including model Miranda Kerr and pop star Gwen Stefani among those posting shots of themselves breastfeeding.
The move aimed to break down stigma and encourage women to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, but it has sparked a backlash.
Siobhan Freegard is co-founder of parenting website Netmums and the recently launched Channel Mum, which commissioned the research
: “Putting new mums under ‘bressure’ benefits no one and swapping abusing mums who breastfeed in public for mums who bottlefeed isn’t progress.
“Most mothers desperately want to breastfeed — but not all can. Putting new mums under ‘bressure’ benefits no one and may even be causing many to fail.
“New mums need support, not pressure.”
The poll of 2,075 mothers found that more than half (55%) agreed the campaign to promote breastfeeding has gone too far and “places too much stress on new mums”.
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