Monday, September 5, 2011

Breastfeeding in Public

Breastfeeding in public
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia*
A breastfeeding infant
Breastfeeding in public deals with the social attitudes to nursing mothers breastfeeding their babies in a public or semi-public place and to laws which either deprive them of the right or which recognize their choice to do so.
Some people are uncomfortable with seeing a mother breastfeed her baby,[1] and some societies consider breastfeeding in a public place to be indecent.
Some nursing mothers may feel reluctant to breastfeed in public,[2][3] either because of their upbringing or because of their own attitudes to exposing their breast in public to breastfeed, or because of anticipated reactions of others. Many countries have laws which make breastfeeding in a public place legal and disallow businesses from prohibiting it in the workplace.

Attitudes by region
In CanadaSection 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives equal rights and freedoms to men and women. The Canadian Charter does not explicitly mention breastfeeding. However, a 1989 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Brooks v. Safeway Canada held that as pregnancy was a condition unique to women, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is a form of sex discrimination. Some commentators note, however, that the case was concerned with maternity pay and not with the right to breastfeed in public.
In June 2009, 27-year-old Tanya Constable was approached by a Walmart employee in the baby section of the Langford, British Columbia retail store and told, "You can't be here," suggesting that she move to the washroom instead. According to Constable, when she asked to speak to the manager, "The manager said that if someone complains, the store's policy is to ask them to move." Constable then decided to leave the store rather than breastfeed her 11-month-old daughter in the washroom. Walmart Canada later apologized for asking the mother to move and said that,"Customers can breastfeed in whatever manner they see fit anywhere in the store."[4]
In Shanghai, breastfeeding in public is considered embarrassing. There have been calls for the establishment of baby care facilities in public places.[5][6]
While public breastfeeding has been widely accepted especially since the Movement of 1968 when Nurse-Inns (GermanStill-Inns) in public places, university lectures or even Bundestag sessions were a common sight, there is no legislature that specifically addresses breastfeeding in public.[7]
Paragraph 2 Article 6 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany provides that "the care and upbringing of children as the natural right of parents" while paragraph 4 "entitles every mother to the protection and care of the community".[8]
In recent decades acceptance for public breastfeeding appears to have decreased and according to surveys an increasing number of mothers try to avoid breastfeeding in public whenever possible. In a recent Bundestag session a member of the SPD party had to leave the floor after members of the Christian Democratic Union (Germany) complained that they felt disturbed by the breastfeeding mother.[9]
[edit]Saudi Arabia
Women in Saudi Arabia openly breastfeed their infants even though they may be fully veiled.[10][11]
The Public Breastfeeding Act since November 2010 safeguards the right to breastfeed in public, and to forbid, eject, or interfere breastfeeding in public is to be fined 6000 to 30000 new Taiwan dollars.[12]
[edit]United Kingdom
Breastfeeding in public (restaurants, cafes, libraries etc.) is protected under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 under the provision of goods, facilities and services section. If the child is under 6 months old, the mother has additional protection under a 2008 amendment to the act which protects maternity rights.
A UK Department of Health survey found that 84% (about 5 out of 6 people) find breastfeeding in public acceptable if done discreetly, however 67% (2 out of 3) of mothers are worried about general opinion being against public breastfeeding.[13] To combat these fears in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation safeguarding the freedom of women to breastfeed in public in 2005.[14] The legislation allows for fines of up to £2500 for preventing breastfeeding in public places.[15]
The Equality Act 2010 also prohibits discrimination against women who are breastfeeding.[16]
[edit]United States
Most US jurisdictions permit breastfeeding in public.[17][18] In the United States, for instance, a federal law enacted in 1999[19] specifically provides that "a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location."
However, these laws generally do not apply to rules imposed by private organisations or on private property, such as restaurants, airlines, shopping malls etc.
[edit]Recent controversies
In November 2006, Emily Gillette, a 27-year-old from Santa Fe, New Mexico was refused service in Burlington, Vermont after being asked to leave a Freedom Airlines flight by a flight attendant after she refused to breastfeed her baby under a blanket.[20]
During June 2007, Brooke Ryan was dining in a booth at the rear of an Applebee's restaurant when she decided to breastfeed her 7-month-old son. While she said she attempted to be discreet, another patron complained that her partially revealed breast was "indecent exposure." Both a waitress and the manager asked her to cover up. She handed him a copy of the Kentucky law[21] that permitted public breastfeeding, but he would not relent. She ended up feeding her son in her car and later organized several "nurse-in" protests in front of the restaurant and other public places.[22]
In Parenting magazine there was a debate on whether moms have the right to breastfeed anywhere they would like. The results were 85% said yes and 15% said no.[dubious – discuss]
[edit]Barbara Walters
In 2005, Barbara Walters remarked on her talk show The View that she felt uncomfortable sitting next to a breastfeeding mother during a flight. Her comments upset some viewers who began organizing protests over the internet. A group of about 200 mothers staged a public "nurse in" where they breastfed their babies outside ABC's headquarters in New York.[23]
[edit]Facebook controversy
Facebook has come under fire for removing photos of mothers breastfeeding their children, citing offensive content in violation of the Facebook Terms of Service.[24] Facebook claimed that these photos violated their decency code by showing an exposed breast, even when the baby covered the nipple. This action was described as hypocritical, since Facebook took several days to respond to calls to deactivate a paid advertisement for a dating service that used a photo of a topless model.[25]
The breastfeeding controversy continued following public protests and the growth in the online membership in the Facebook group titled "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook)."[26]

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Breastfeeding in Public

What are these people afraid of????

Survey finds moms still face stigma and difficulties breastfeeding
Experts agree that breastfeeding is one of the best things that a mother can do for her child, but it's not always as easy as it would seem. Many new moms face difficulties breastfeeding, and a new survey by the websites and show misinformation and ignorant attitudes still exist.
Polling more than 1,600 women on, and, the survey found that 44 percent of women feel uncomfortable seeing a mom breastfeed in public. In fact, 10 percent of women said "Eww, in private please!" about public breastfeeding. And 47 percent of pregnant women admitted that seeing women breastfeed in public makes them uncomfortable. Elena Mauer, site editor for said perhaps that's why 56 percent of pregnant woman say they plan on only breastfeeding in private.
"I think part of it is, we know it's the best thing, but because a lot of people aren't forward about it, it is still stigmatized. We are trying to encourage moms to feel comfortable to do it anywhere. There's nothing to be embarrassed about because it's completely legal and they are feeding their baby the best way possible," Mauer said.
Mauer said she if mothers were more outspoken about the benefits of breastfeeding, it might change attitudes.
"I think it's really the moms themselves that need to not be shy. We can't preach enough about all the good things that breastfeeding does for your baby."
She said although research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has shown that breastfed children have a lower risk of developing cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and breastfeeding moms have a lower risk of developing breast cancer and type 2 diabetes, 10 percent of women surveyed still feel it doesn't make a big difference for mom or baby. Mauer said some studies even show that fewer breastfeeding moms experience less anxiety. Not to mention that it helps burn 500 calories a day.
Expectant moms might expect that it is simple and not expect to have issues getting a baby to latch on, or to experience pain. In the survey, 25 percent of women said they tried but simply weren't able to breastfeed. And Mauer said that a new report from the CDC proves less than 4 percent of hospitals provide the support needed for women to succeed at breastfeeding.
Mauer has one child and said that while there weren't any physical difficulties for her, she did at times feel like it was too much to be the sole source of food and have to breastfeed her newborn every two hours, 24 hours a day.
"It is so overwhelming after the baby is born, and you are expected to do this thing you've never done before. It can be very difficult. You might assume you'll be able to do it, but really, you probably will need help," Mauer said. "Most moms haven't seen a baby latch on, so they won't know the proper positioning, and if they don't talk to a lactation consultant, they might not have anyone else to talk to. Many people won't talk to friends, because it's a little embarrassing."
Those women seeking information or support should go to and, or contact the Le Leche League at
Posted on Mon, Aug. 29, 2011 05:08 AM

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Baby's First Hour Project

Just a note to say hello, and that I'm working on a project about babies and their first hour of life.. Would love to hear any stories you'd like to share!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding 101: how to get breastfeeding off to a good start

  • August 8th, 2009 9:32 am PT
If you are pregnant, chances are you have given some thought to breastfeeding.  You may have heard many different stories about breastfeeding and understandably, you may be feeling a little uncertain if you will be successful.  Following are some tips to help get breastfeeding off to a good start!
1) Know that just about every woman can successfully breastfeed.  This means you!  Statistics range from 1-5% of women who can't breastfeed.  This is an incredibly small number of women and more likely than not, you do not fit into this category.  Go into breastfeeding knowing that you can do it!  Your body and your baby were born to do it.
2) Do your homework.  Read books, read articles online, talk to other breastfeeding mothers, take a class.  Ask questions!  Knowledge is important, but chances are you will forget something after you give birth to your baby, which leads to the very important next point:
3) Build your network of support.  Attend a La Leche League (LLL) meeting before your baby is born.  There, you will meet other breastfeeding mothers who will encourage and support you.  You will meet your local LLL Leaders whom you can call upon if you have questions or concerns.  Make sure to bring your Leader's phone number to the hospital so you can call her if needed!  Do not count upon the staff at the hospital to give you the help you may need.  Often, mothers request help and do not get it because the staff is too busy, or mothers get confilicting advice from the different nurses on duty.
4) Plan for a natural, vaginal birth.  Write a birth plan and make sure that you will be able to hold your baby right away.  Try to breastfeed within the first hour.  With a natural birth, you and your baby will be more awake and alert which will help you to breastfeed right away.  If you do have interventions during birth, make sure that your partner/ support person knows your wishes and will enforce them with the hospital staff.  Even with medications or a cesearan section, you can be successfull breastfeeding.  Consider hiring a doula to advocate for you during birth.
5) Breastfeed early and often.  Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth (within an hour if you can) and continue to breastfeed as often as your baby indicates a need.  This could be as much as every hour, but make sure you are breastfeeding a minimum of 8-12 times per 24 hours.  You can't breastfeed too much, but you can breastfeed too little.
6) Know who to call for help.  This is so important because when you are home with your new baby, the last thing you need to be doing is scouring the internet looking for breastfeeding help.  Your hospital may have a number to call to speak to a lactation educator.  Check with them before you have your baby.  Your local LLL Leader is a great starting point when you have a concern.  Often she can help you right over the phone and the best part is, it's free!  Knowing where to get help can save you many tears and frustrations.  Don't be afraid to ask simple questions!  Sometimes a little bit of reassurance makes all the difference.  You can also find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to help you.
from the

BreastFeeding Laws Nationwide

Breastfeeding Laws

Updated March 2010
Health professionals and public health officials promote breastfeeding to improve infant health. Both mothers and children benefit from breast milk.  Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from bacteria and viruses.  Breastfed children have fewer ear infections, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and have diarrhea less often.  Infants who are exclusively breastfed tend to need fewer health care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations resulting in a lower total medical care cost compared to never-breastfed infants.  Breastfeeding also provides long-term preventative effects for the mother, including an earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight and a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 70 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but less than 20 percent of those moms are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. It is a national goal to increase the proportion of mothers who breastfeed their babies in the early postpartum period to 75 percent by the year 2010. 

Federal Health Reform and Nursing Mothers

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, on March 23rd and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, H.R. 4872, on March 30, 2010. (See the combined full text of Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152 here.)  Among many provisions, Section 4207 of the law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 (29 U.S.Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk.  The employer is not required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time for any work time spent for such purpose.  The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.  If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs less than 50 employees is not subject to these requirements.  Furthermore, these requirements shall not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to employees. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Labor's Fact Sheet on Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA.

State Breastfeeding Laws

  • Forty-four states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws with language specifically allowing 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, 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,
  • The state of 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 twenty-five 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.

    reprinted from