When author and television presenter Tara Moss fell pregnant last year she realised she had reservations about breastfeeding.
After giving birth to her daughter Sapphira earlier this year, she realised her doubts - like ''saggy post-feeding breasts'' and the modern choice to ''stick breastfeeding altogether'' - were largely driven by the media, friends and strangers.
Moss would have missed out on the breastfeeding experience had it not been for ''patient'' and ''well-educated'' midwives and nurses.
She said that despite conclusive evidence which detailed the importance of breastfeeding for babies and mothers, it remained a contentious issue.
Since becoming UNICEF Australia's patron for breastfeeding, Moss has been raising awareness of the importance of nursing.
Yesterday she was surrounded by hundreds of mothers as she opened the Australian Breastfeeding Association's international breastfeeding conference in Canberra.
''Our culture has made breastfeeding all but invisible and taboo,'' Moss said.
''Many are openly squeamish about it, still.''
''In our culture breasts are commonly viewed as sexual organs, but not as a source of nutrition.''
About 36 per cent of children worldwide are breastfed to the medically recommended six-month mark.
The rate is 14 per cent in Australia.
Moss said women faced many obstacles - such as still being asked to feed in toilets rather than in public spaces - despite anti-discrimination laws which give women the right to breastfeed any time, anywhere.
After tweeting about public breastfeeding recently, Moss received a response which read, ''Many folks are made uncomfortable by it, think of others.''
Moss said, ''Without normalising the sight of breastfeeding in our society we have little hope of making more mothers comfortable enough to engage in the practice.''
Moss also believed there needed to be more breastfeeding-friendly workplaces. When she returned to work in television, when Sapphira was two-months-old, she took breastfeeding breaks while others took smoking breaks.
- The Step Up, Reach Out: Developing an Inclusive Breastfeeding Society conference at the National Convention Centre ends today at 5pm.