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Some people look at a mother breastfeeding her baby in public and think that it’s just a loving picture of what is natural. Others think just the opposite. In fact, some feel that it is offensive.
There has been much to-do about this subject. Most mothers know that it is their legal right to breastfeed their babies anywhere in the U.S. In 1999, President Clinton approved and signed the Right to Breastfeed Act. However, many public areas remain squeamish about this issue. This is especially true if their customers complain. Representative Carolyn Maloney stated that many nursing mothers have been asked to nurse their child in a more private area, been harassed, told to leave or even intimidated off federal grounds, as reported by Breastfeeding.com.
What can be done to improve this situation? One thing is education, and the other, ironically is to help create more breastfeeding moms. AskAboutPregnancy.com stated that scientifically, babies are born to breastfeed. There are so many benefits – long-term and immediate – to the baby and mother. In general, the public may not know this fact. And in fairness, many mothers do not either. However, there are different organizations trying to be proactive in keeping new moms informed in regard to this option. Some may choose not to breastfeed even after being educated, but the point is that now they know.
Lastly, the more numbers of mothers who breastfeed publicly, the more the public gets used to it. Then it will not be so shocking but will be seen as a normal part of life. What’s interesting is that in some instances when a nursing mother’s rights have been violated, nurse-ins have been staged. Meaning a group of nursing mothers sit and quietly nurse their babies where the offense took place. That’s certainly one way to speak out. Another way is to contact local representatives and see what protective laws are in place in your area. While public breastfeeding is legal, it is good to know if protective laws exist for you if needed.
Resource: Breastfeeding.com, AskAboutPregnancy.com
Dita Faulkner is a writer living in Tennessee.