Nursing moms more modest in the West, survey shows

Posted at 8:46 PM, Sep 17, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Are breast-feeding mothers more modest in the West? A new survey says yes. It also reveals their fears about being seen nursing in public. The survey was commissioned by Lansinoh which touts itself as a world leader in breast-feeding accessories.

FOX 13 talked to nursing mothers. Some have no problem feeding their babies for all to see while others appreciate a little more privacy.

"Honestly, I would do it. I wouldn't care what people think. To me it's natural," said Tiffany Kimball.

Not every Utah mother feels the same way. A global survey by Lansinoh found women on the West Coast are much more bashful about feeding their babies in public than East Coast moms. The survey looked at attitudes toward breast-feeding and their experiences. Mountain West parents consider nursing in public a top three challenge. Eighteen percent of women in the U.S. call it embarrassing while 57 percent say it's perfectly natural. Twenty-two percent said it's unavoidable and three percent believe it's wrong.

"It's uncomfortable, really, to be honest. I don't feel comfortable removing my shirt to feed her," said Gabriella Curtis, who prefers to breast-feed in private.

So does first time mom Madison Shipp, who said: "I feel like people stare at me. It's kind of weird exposing my body in public. Even though I'm covered I'm uncomfortable a little bit."

"When I was a mother and I had my child, I would have preferred a private area," said Suzy Broadbent, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper.

"A lot of times women, you have have to breast-feed so where can you do it. Often times, they have to do it wherever they can, but here they do it in a private room," Broadbent said.

Some mothers are pleasantly surprised to find out the aquarium has a special place for them.

"We put in a special mother's room when we designed this aquarium to accommodate women who want privacy when they need to breast-feed their children when they're here in such a crowded busy facility."

Gabriella calls it a safe haven for her and baby Chloe saying: "It's nice to have that privacy to feed her there and not worry about other people staring."

Still there are many moms, no matter where they live, who feel like breast-feeding in public is natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

"I  think if you really want to breast-feed you should be willing to do it anywhere," Kimball said.

The survey looked at mothers in nine countries, including in the United States.

Here is a link to the survey: