Too Shy To Breastfeed In Public? Study Shows Why

Too Shy To Breastfeed In Public? Study Shows Why

A study has revealed that a mom's personality affects her breastfeeding decision and how long she breastfeeds. Read on to find out the other highlights of the study.

We all know that there are lots of obstacles for mums who want to breastfeed.  Stress and anxiety, improper or misguided breastfeeding information, physical issues like flat or inverted nipples and other medical issues to name a few.  Studies reveal that there could be another factor to add to the list of breastfeeding barriers – a mother’s personality!

The study

The study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, conducted by Dr Amy Brown of Swansea University, United Kingdom, examined the personalities of 602 moms with babies six to 12 months old. They tried to find a link between how long they breastfed and their attitudes and experiences of breastfeeding.

Too shy to breastfeed?

Too Shy To Breastfeed In Public? Study Shows Why

Image source: iStock

The data collected over three months showed mothers who indicated they were extroverts and emotionally stable were significantly more likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding for a longer period of time, while those who were introverted or anxious were more likely to use formula milk or only breastfeed for a short while.

It no real mystery as to why introverted or conservative women are more resistant to breastfeeding. Its because introverts are more self-conscious about feeding their babies. They are too shy to breastfeed, especially in public. Hence introverts are more likely to use formula milk, which is generally less beneficial to babies. As Asian women are generally more conservative and introverted than their western counterparts, this study sheds light on a potential problem here. It certainly does seem to explain why women who are too shy to breastfeed, switch to formula sooner than confident extroverts.

According to Brown:

“The important message from the findings is that some mothers may face more challenges with breastfeeding based on their wider personality. Although they may want to breast-feed, more introverted or anxious mothers may need further support in boosting their confidence and learning about how to solve problems, and they may need encouragement to make sure they access the breastfeeding support services that are available.”

Here are a few important facts highlighted by the studies:

Stress is not good while breastfeeding

Too Shy To Breastfeed In Public? Study Shows Why

Image source: iStock

Feeling stressed while breastfeeding may affect your milk supply. When you are concerned about what others might say or the stares from a stranger, the milk supply may diminish, leaving the mother very frustrated. This is particularly true for conservative Asian mums who want to breastfeed but are stressed about doing it in public.

Understanding and support

Though many factors affect whether a mother breastfeeds, mothers who have lots of support, feel confident, and are more likely to breastfeed for longer. Understanding what makes a mother feel confident and supported is important to increase breastfeeding rates. As Asian societies become more accepting of mothers who breastfeed in public, and provide facilities to allow conservative and shy mums to do so in privacy, more mums will feel empowered to continue to breastfeed their babies without having to worry about societal pressures.

What do you think about the revelations made by Dr Brown? If you are an introvert, did the lack of privacy during breastfeeding prevent you from breastfeeding for a longer period?


Source: Choice to breastfeed or bottle feed could be influenced by mum’s personality (Study)

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Written by

Miss Vanda

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