A group of Queensland mothers claiming they were shamed for breastfeeding during doctors visits and post-pregnancy check ups have spoken out.
According to a report from the the Courier Mail, mothers have been left humiliated in experiences they’ve described to experts and on social media.
“I was in the waiting room of a community health centre waiting to see the lactation consultant as my baby was premature and I needed help when a worker there told me to stop feeding,” new mum Allison Crabb told the Courier Mail.
“I was in tears as I was already struggling. After that I ended up being too self-conscious to feed outside the house and in the end I gave up.
“When my next child was in the hospital a nurse told me to feed behind the curtain.”
Thinking she was alone in her experience, Crabb posted her story in a Facebook group for new mums. She discovered she wasn’t the only one.
“At my six week post-natal check-up the female doctor said she wasn’t a fan of me breastfeeding and asked me to feed after the appointment,” one woman reportedly posted.
“I was instructed by the doctor to stay behind the curtain,” added another.
The reports have breastfeeding experts worried, with Brisbane’s Robyn Thompson, a midwife with a PhD focused on breastfeeding, who says medical professionals should be well informed about breastfeed shaming.
“There is no place for people airing their personal opinions when it comes to breastfeeding but it is more disappointing when negativity comes in places that should offer the most support,” Dr Thompson said.
“These health workers need better education and to be aware that they are acting illegally. It is a baby’s right to breastfeed and a mother’s right to feed her baby.”
One woman says she was told to feed her baby in the staff room at her local doctor’s office.
“My old GP made me go hide out the back in the staffroom when feeding my baby. I felt so awful. The laws are there but it’s really hard to speak up when you’re suffering severe post natal depression and your baby is sick and it’s the only doctor you know can see you,” she wrote on Facebook.
Breastfeeding expert Pinky McKay told the Courier Mail the problem was widespread and seriously unacceptable.
“It’s difficult enough for vulnerable new mothers learning how to breastfeed without the very people who should be supporting them telling them to cover up,” she said.
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