Breastfeeding in Public

Topics: Breastfeeding, Indecent exposure, Breastfeeding in public Pages: 5 (1791 words) Published: November 14, 2010
Breastfeeding in Pubic "Right" or Wrong

Have you ever wondered what food is safe, effective, and readily assessable? That is engineered to individual needs, environmentally friendly, painless, offers long term protection, is free and as a side effect is a weight loss method? Could you imagine someone being discriminated against for using such a great product? Breastfeeding is the oldest form of feeding a child. It has existed since the beginning of time. In fact, out of all the mammals that exist on this planet, every one of them nurse their babies, including humans. Recently, breastfeeding in public has been seen as indecent. Why would society frown upon the most natural and beautiful act a mother can do for her child ? Almost daily women are asked to leave public places they are feeding their children because someone believes it is indecent or perverted, despite the efforts that have been made to promote breastfeeding as positive. Breastfeeding is not indecent or perverted; however, many individuals think it should be hidden and out of the public eye. It is a women’s right to breastfeed her child anywhere she feels fit. Breastfeeding in public is legal across the United States but widespread discrimination toward breastfeeding in public still exists.

Across the United States laws exist to protect women for breastfeeding in public. Despite that laws exist, women feel hesitant and uncomfortable breastfeeding in public because of societal view of it being perverse or indecent. Is it wrong to tell women who nurse in public to stop or leave? Is it not an infringement on her civil rights? I believe women should not have to feed her child in a dressing room or a bathroom because she is doing the most natural thing for her child. “A United Kingdom Department of health survey found that 84% (about 5 out of 6 people) found breastfeeding in public acceptable, if done discreetly, however, 67% (2 out of 3) mothers are worried about general opinion being against breastfeeding” (UK Dept. of Health 2004). The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding should be done up to the age of five. Government campaigns and strategies have been created to promote breastfeeding in the united states and around the world and despite their efforts, women are still asked to stop breastfeeding in public. They are asked to leave restaurants, malls, to go into dressing rooms, bathrooms and in rare cases, arrested. “The World Health Organization (WHO), along with grass-roots non governmental organizations like the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) have played a large role in encouraging these governmental departments to promote breastfeeding. Under this advice, they have developed national breastfeeding strategies, including promotion of its benefits and attempts to encourage, particularly those under age 25, to choose to feed their child with breast milk” (Wikipedia, 2010 p.4). “In September of 1999 A United States House of Representative bill (HR2490) with a breastfeeding amendment was signed in to law. It stipulated that no government funds may be used to enforce any prohibition on women breastfeeding their children in Federal buildings or on Federal property” (Wikipedia ,2010 p. 5). “A majority of states have enacted state statues specifically permitting the exposure of the female breast by women breastfeeding infants, or exempting such women from prosecution under applicable statutes such as those regarding indecent exposure” (NCSL 2010). Support exists in the United States. Both federal and state government levels have put laws into effect to protect women. Organizations exist to support women and to promote the positive effects of breastfeeding, for example Le Leche League International and the World Health Organization are both strong supporters and promoters of breastfeeding. Despite these efforts, discrimination still prevails. “ In November 2006, Emily Gillette, a 27 year old...
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