Breastfeeding in public: it’s your right

Posted By Miositis Melucci, CEO, Me Beau Bébé
April 2, 2014

This is sponsored content.

It happens with distressing regularity: a breastfeeding mom is kicked out of someplace simply because she’s breastfeeding. In February, it was a courtroom in Alabama, where Jeanna Harris was kicked out of the courtroom for breastfeeding her 3-month-old child.

“[A court official] asked me to leave on my own or he would escort me out,” Harris told local WKRG-TV. “It was embarrassing.”

It was also illegal.

Many new moms worry enough about breastfeeding in public—they worry about it being embarrassing or exposing themselves—so it’s too bad that women also have to worry about being publicly humiliated by misguided law enforcement officials or other authorities.

The fact is that babies need to eat when they get hungry, and the law recognizes this. In all, 45 states have laws on the books (including Alabama) specifically allowing breastfeeding in public. Another 28 states went further and wrote laws exempting breastfeeding moms from public indecency laws, which were once used to punish breastfeeding mothers. If you want a complete state-by-state directory of state laws, check out the wonderful resource at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The freedom to breastfeed in public also extends to most workplaces. Under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), employers who have 50 or more workers are now required by law to provide break time for pumping moms with babies younger than 12 months, with no restrictions on the number or length of these breaks. Additionally, employers have to provide a private place—and (this is the best part!) bathrooms are not considered a suitable space.

Some mothers feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public by wearing a nursing cover. This can be a nice way for a mom to feel she can feed her baby without needing to leave where she is or go to a secluded place. Some babies even feed better because the cover can help block out distractions!

It’s too bad that women are still punished for breastfeeding in public, but it’s great to see the law and culture moving toward greater acceptance of breastfeeding moms. After all, the benefits of breastfeeding are well known, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, wherever it’s possible.

 

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About Miositis Melucci, CEO, Me Beau Bébé

Miositis Melucci was born in the Dominican Republic before emigrating to the United States at the age of 16. Me Beau Bébé was created by a group of women searching for a better nursing cover. All Me Beau Bébé products are designed and manufactured in the United States.

Comments

  1. I breastfed my son for 14.5 months, and I was never fully comfortable doing it in public, but I did become more comfortable with it after a weekend trip to New Orleans. Once you’ve breastfed in the middle of the French Quarter, everywhere else seems like a breeze! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Literally- everywhere seems like a “breeze” given New Orleans weather. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I was at the mall today with my 3 yr old and we walked by Victoria’s Secret. Right there in front of me was more breast (and bottom….) then any I’ve ever shown when nursing in public. The irony of what causes a stir always is interesting, isn’t it? It’s sad to hear women are still being treated this way for nourishing their babies, especially when most catalogues are more revealing…

    Reply
  3. With my first daughter I wasn’t as comfortable breastfeeding as I was with my second so I never did it in public. If I was going to be out for a while I pumped and brought a bottle. With my second I became a lot more comfortable and breastfed in public using a cover up. I always tried to go to a quite place if I could so that my daughter wouldn’t get distracted by noise and to make sure other people didn’t feel awkward about it. I have to say that I have seen mom’s breastfeeding without a cover up and I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable and it becomes especially uncomfortable for my husband. I don’t say anything and it is certainly their right to do so but when I see boobs out in the open I try to look the other way.

    Reply

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