My Views on Nursing in Public

Posted 11-27-2011 at 08:00 AM by whitneywalters

Breastfeeding in public continues to be a pretty hot button topic. It seems like every couple months of so you hear another story about a mother being kicked out of a restaurant or businesses for doing so.

I think the things that bothers me the most is the fact that a bottle fed baby can get their meal in public and no one bats an eye. Why shouldn’t a breastfed baby have the same rights? I have never seen a public restroom I would dream of feeding my child in. I know a lot of women feel more comfortable using a cover and that is fine but not something I do either.I have always been able to  nurse using my sling, nursing tops and even just regular tshirts and you can see little to no skin at all.

I myself have gotten nasty look and heard nasty comments about nursing in public. I know when my third child was just shy of a year old we went to the zoo. Everyone was oooing and awwing over a mother seal nursing her pup, one woman in particular was snapping pictures and telling her kids how cute it was so I found it pretty amusing when not even 15 minuets later when I sat down to nurse my daughter that same women loudly said to the other adult she was with, “Geeze,  why do women think they have to do that in public,” and then gave me a dirty look. I just rolled my eyes and kept doing what I was doing.

All women need to know their rights, breast feeding in public is not illegal and it is not indecent exposure.

  • Forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)
  • Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)
  • Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.)
  • Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty. (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia.)
  • Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign. (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont.)
  • Several states have unique laws related to breastfeeding. For instance,
    • Virginia allows women to breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state. Puerto Rico requires shopping malls, airports, public service government centers and other select locations to have accessible areas designed for breastfeeding and diaper changing that are not bathrooms.
    • At least two states have laws related to child care facilities and breastfeeding. Louisiana prohibits any child care facility from discriminating against breastfed babies. Mississippi requires licensed child care facilities to provide breastfeeding mothers with a sanitary place that is not a toilet stall to breastfeed their children or express milk, to provide a refrigerator to store expressed milk, to train staff in the safe and proper storage and handling of human milk, and to display breastfeeding promotion information to the clients of the facility.
    • California requires the Department of Public Health to develop a training course of hospital policies and recommendations that promote exclusive breastfeeding and specify staff for whom this model training is appropriate. The recommendation is targeted at hospitals with patients who ranked in the lowest 25 percent of the state for exclusive breastfeeding rates.
    • Maryland exempts the sale of tangible personal property that is manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding from the sales and use tax.
    • California, New York and Texas have laws related to the procurement, processing, distribution or use of human milk.
    • New York created a Breastfeeding Mothers Bill of Rights, which is required to be posted in maternal health care facilities. New York also created a law that allows a child under one year of age to accompany the mother to a correctional facility if the mother is breastfeeding at the time she is committed.

    So if you are a breast feeding mom do not stay home! Go out, have fun and nurse in public. The more exposure ( no pun intended ) breastfeeding in public gets the more accepted it will become.

Filed Under: Mommy Talk

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