Image by sierraromeo [sarah-ji] via FlickrThe city of Forest Park has passed a city wide public indecency ordinance that bans breastfeeding on children over 2 years of age.
This ordinance angers me in so many ways. First to put breastfeeding in the same category of public indecent is a huge set back for Breastfeeding and is just wrong. A mother nursing her child is not indecent, it is the most natural way to feed a child.
I have blogged often about the benefits of extended breastfeeding, all of which are not even understood or discovered yet. This could prevent children from those benefits. It can scare mothers to hide in their homes and shame extended breastfeeders.
It could also cause problems for moms with children under 2. People constantly think Liv over 2 by her looks and behavior, but she is now only 21 months. If I decided to breastfeed her in public who is to say that I will not be harassed and questioned about feeding my child. What are woman supposed to carry around their child's birth certificate to prove they are not violate this new ordinance.
It also just sets back the whole breastfeeding movement. There has always been this mixed message with breastfeeding. That breastfeeding is best, but don't do it in public. This can cause many issues with nursing and can lead to early weaning. Are you supposed to carry around pumped milk, a cooler, a bottle warmer and then what to do with the milk you have in your breasts? It should be pumped out so your supply will not go down. Breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. It nursing sessions are missed often the milk can dry up. I know several people who had this happen to them. They would not nurse in public, mostly because of the public stigma attached to it.
Laws like this will keep woman inside and make them again embarrassed to nurse their children in public. Keeping the breastfeeding stigmas going instead of normalizing it.
It also violates state laws which in Georgia has no age limits on breastfeeding.
I am hoping that because of that fact the ordinance will be repealed.
There is a nurse in on May 23 at 10am to 12pm at Forest Park's City Hall. I encourage anyone who can to attend and help normalize breastfeeding.