This Morning viewers were left feeling furious when a guest on the show compared breastfeeding in a swimming pool to urinating in public.
Breastfeeding in public is a divisive topic and one that many people feel very passionately for and against.
This Morning hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsofrd were holding a debate on breastfeeding following the news that two women had been reprimanded for breastfeeding their babies in a local swimming pool.
Mums Natalie Forester and Chloe Hattersley were both on the show to discuss their experiences and journalist Virginia Blackburn was there to share her opinion on why she thinks the women were rightly reprimanded.
Natalie was at a swimming lesson with her son in Stoke-On-Trent when she realised he was hungry and went to the corner of the pool to feed him. She was then asked to leave the pool and says she was shocked by the request.
Although Ruth tried to justify breastfeeding in public as a natural bodily function, Virginia replied and said there are other bodily functions that shouldn’t be done in public.
She protested: ‘It’s not about what’s legal or illegal it’s about consideration for other people. If you are in a public place it’s not necessarily something you want to see.’
Virginia continued: ‘It’s on a level with urinating in the street. You have a path that leads to increasingly anti-social behaviour and I’d say it’s on that path. If I’m sitting in a cafe or a swimming pool I don’t want people to start engaging in bodily functions that have usually been kept private.’
Kate Quilton recently presented a documentary on Channel 4 that looked into why breastfeeding rates in the UK were the lowest in Europe and also discussed her own experience of being publicly shamed while breastfeeding her newborn son.
So as surprising as Virginia’s comments were to the This Morning viewers, she is not alone in her belief that women should not breastfeed in public.
The controversial comments saw viewers taking to Twitter to share their outrage, with one person writing: ‘Please tell your breastfeeding mums they spoke eloquently and are brilliant role models. Absolutely horrified at the archaic viewpoint from the studio lady. Breastfeeding antisocial behaviour?!! Isn’t it more antisocial to let your baby cry hysterically?’
Another said: ‘Makes me mad to think a women doesn’t have the right to breastfeed her own child in a mother baby swimming class when her baby has the right to eat! She hasn’t broken any rules! I get the no eating and drinking rules but baby’s need food more frequently than we do.’
A third added: ‘Not being funny @thismorning…but why on earth give someone the time of day who compares breastfeeding in public to urinating in public…who does she think she is?!’
However, other viewers did think that while women should be able to breastfeed wherever they want to, in a swimming pool might have been a little unhygienic.
One person wrote: ‘I wouldn’t want pool water in my mouth! It’s unhygienic for the baby more than anything! Pools are full of bacteria and urine! I’m all for breastfeeding anywhere! But common sense tells you not to do it in a swimming pool!’
Another said: ‘I think mothers should be able to breastfeed babies wherever they want. The issue here is not feeding in public, it’s the bacteria in the top part of water in a swimming pool (I was a lifeguard). So I think feeding at the side instead of in the water is sensible.’
Did you catch the show? What do you make of the debate? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions and if you’ve had any bad experiences while breastfeeding in public. Head over to our Facebook page to get involved!