Hello all! Today we have a guest post from Rachel outlining some of the important reasons that we need laws to protect breastfeeding mamas and babies in all states. I hope you all enjoy!
With breastfeeding on the upswing in recent years, there are more and more women who are breastfeeding in public out of pure necessity. Everyone else, including bottle fed babies, are allowed to eat in public, so it’s no big deal for breastfed babies, right? One would think this is the logical answers, but it’s not always the case. There has been a surprising outcry of people stating breastfeeding in public is indecent and moms have been dealing with it ever since. Now lawmakers have decided to get involved. But do we really need laws to allow breastfeeding? There are some things to consider.
1. Safety – This all began because some people decided to become vigilantes and take matters into their own hands. Moms have not just been spoken to, but actually yelled at in public places while they’re breastfeeding their babies. Women have even been asked to leave the establishment they’re in, even when they’re paying customers. It’s nearly impossible to educate everyone enough to understand that breastfeeding is a completely natural thing, so laws are put in place to ensure women don’t have to endure public humiliation.
2. Workplace Protection – While most working mothers aren’t able to actually breastfeed their babies throughout their work day, there are laws that allow breastfeeding moms enough time to express their milk. The need to pump doesn’t always work around a job’s break schedule, so this allows mothers any extra time they need to pump without fearing losing their jobs because of it.
3. Protection of Rights – This coincides with point number one. A breastfeeding mother may be asked to leave a business by the owner or, in rare circumstances, escorted from the premise by the police; without enforceable laws in place protecting the mother’s right to breastfeed wherever she is, her rights would essentially be taken away from her. She could actually be arrested and charged if they see fit.
4. Health and Nutrition – Without laws to protect a mother’s right to breastfeed her baby regardless of where she is, she may have to supplement with formula. Now, this doesn’t say that supplementing breast milk with formula is a negative thing, but a woman shouldn’t be forced into the decision just because she has to leave the house. All doctors agree that breast milk is the healthiest choice for babies and a baby shouldn’t be denied the right to eat the healthiest food available just because there are people around who don’t understand. Breastfeeding is also healthy for the mother: not having the ability to feed when necessary is uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of serious health problems. No woman should be denied her rights to these benefits, regardless of where she is.
Basically, breastfeeding laws have become a necessary part of life to ensure babies are getting the nutrition they need, when they need it. Breastfeeding mothers have the right to leave the house and have social lives and shouldn’t have to feel shamed or shunned when their babies are hungry. Unfortunately, there are people out there who don’t understand that mothers are people, too; people with real feelings and real rights. These laws need to be put in place and enforced in order to protect these rights.
Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author @ gmail.com.