In national Breast-feeding Week, we asked people how they feel about seeing boobs on the Tube and in the park
Michael Smail, 27, graphic designer

Anybody who thinks that breastfeeding in public is offensive is completely sad and hypocritical. It's just a bodily function. A bit of discretion may be called for. But I think women find it difficult because of male attitudes. Men sexualise the female body. After all, another woman wouldn't be offended by it.

Jo Smith, 74, retired

I don't think women should be seen doing it. I would never want to expose my breasts in public. It's not right. They must be exhibitionists if they want to do that. I don't see why women can't arrange to feed before or after they go out. Infants don't die in an hour or two if they're not fed. And in an emergency there's always the bottle. I think some women like people to see that they're mothers. But it must embarrass the men. And there are some men who would be watching in a nasty sort of way. It gives them ideas.

Derek Moore, 28, bicycle courier

I think it's stupid to have a hang-up about it. Not enough women do it because they're frightened or because other people get embarrassed. If women are discreet, you shouldn't need to set aside special places for them.

Lynda Fryatt, 42, legal secretary

I don't want to see women breast-feeding in public. I suppose that sounds hypocritical because you've got women's breasts being shown in certain newspapers. But I think it can lead on to other things, like the baby being sick in a restaurant or the nappy needing changing. It's for that reason I dislike it, not because a woman's showing her breasts. I think women should be looked after more like they are in Europe. They should have places set aside for them.

Patrick Waldron, 59, actor

If it's going to embarrass others, then maybe women shouldn't do it. But there's nothing wrong with breast-feeding in public. I'm sure more women avoid it because they're embarrassed. It's down to Victorian sexual suppression.

Claudia Henry, 31, graphic designer

I was on the Underground once and a lady was breast-feeding. She had no choice because the baby was crying. I was fine about it, but this guy was looking at her. She was trying to be discreet, but I could see he was making her feel uncomfortable. I think some people think it is a sexual thing. I wouldn't do it. I'd rather go somewhere private.

Dorothy Pierce, 53, secretary

I don't think women should breast-feed in public. It is a natural thing, but it's also very personal and private. And other people shouldn't be subjected to watching people do it. If a place was set aside for women, it may do some good.

Julie Gibson, 33, childminder

It's wrong for a woman to expose her breasts, but if women became adept at being discreet it wouldn't be such an issue. A woman should be able to satisfy her baby's needs. We shouldn't be banished to the public toilets.

Wesley Campbell, 58, chauffeur

A woman's breasts are private and taking them out in public isn't on. There are private places where women can go, like bathrooms. What she could do is train her baby to breast-feed and bottle-feed at the same time and just use the bottle in public.

Glen Eisenhut, 29, software engineer

It's time people woke up to the fact that breast-feeding is perfectly natural and that women should do it in public. Most women don't put on a big display. I think a lot feel inhibited because people have made a fuss in the past and that's wrong.

Claire Hammond, 29, marketing group co-ordinator

Breast-feeding is the natural way and you can't determine where and when the baby is going to need to be fed. Women should definitely breast-feed in public.I'm sure women used to do it more a few years ago. Powdered milk does allow for an easy life. I think that the girls these days are lazy.

Kris Baublys, 18, student and church verger

It doesn't affect anybody else's health, so why not? Women don't breast- feed in public where I come from in Lithuania. But I don't see why they shouldn't. Western culture is more free than in eastern Europe. Perhaps other people are offended because their sexual fantasies are sick and the sight of a breast shocks them.

Interviews by Michelle Ticktin

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