Saturday, May 21, 2011

Before you whip that tit out, I'm going to need to see...

...a birth certificate.

On Monday night, a town outside of Atlanta outlawed breastfeeding a child over the age of 2 in public.  It is now considered to be an act of indecent exposure.  If the baby is younger than 2 you are fine, but over 2: the breast you are "exposing" is now deemed "lewd".

Your own personal feelings about nursing in public and extended breastfeeding aside, should the government be able to make it illegal? Do we really need a group of men deciding where and how we should be able to feed our children?

But it's no big deal because...
  • If the kid is old enough to ask for it and lift up your shirt, it's time to stop!
  • A 2 year old can get everything they need from solid food
  • Breastfeeding at 2 is sexual abuse
  • Why can't they just do it in private?
  • Moms should just pump and use sippy cups
  • At 2, breastfeeding is more for the Mom than the baby
Do you agree with any of the above?

Some babies can talk at 9 months.  At not even 5 months, Carina can almost pull aside my shirt.  Should I wean her now, even though her doctor recommends breastfeeding for at least a year?  The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to 2 years of age and beyond because babies get more than just nutrients from breast milk.  Research has shown that breastfeeding past infancy results in children who are sick less often, have fewer allergies, and a reduced risk of asthma.  And those are just the health benefits.

The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that "It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years." (2008)  We are one of the few countries in the world who are in such a rush to take our breast milk away from our children and give them the milk of another animal instead.  Believe it or not, the average age of weaning worldwide is 4 years! (Baldwin 2001)

As for sexual abuse, to even believe that breastfeeding could be sexual abuse one would have to view breasts as primarily sexual objects.  Breasts were made for feeding babies.  They were not made to be the motorboated sexual playthings of men.  In my opinion, to treat them as if that is their primary purpose is male chauvinism at worst, just plain sad at best.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (2005)

I try to nurse in private whenever possible.  However, there are some times when it is just not possible.  On the plane on the way home from Carina's baptism, for example.  During take off and landing you can't get out of your seat.  And, the little miss spit up all over my nursing cover.  There isn't always going to be a private place for you to nurse your baby.  And should your baby have to be relegated to the bathroom in order to eat?  I have a feeling that if someone told you that you had to eat your meal in a place where people take a dump you would be none too pleased.

Pumping often takes a great deal of time and can be very uncomfortable for some women.  And to tell women that this is what they should do is operating under the assumption that it is even possible for all women.  Some women are not physically able to express milk at all.  While pumping and using cups might work just fine for some Moms, it isn't going to work for all and cannot become policy. 

I've been lucky and haven't had many issues with breastfeeding thus far.  I've only had one clogged duct, which while very painful, was not that bad relatively speaking.  Some women experience multiple bouts of mastitis and cracked and bleeding nipples.  We have to deal with breast engorgement, milk leaking through our clothes, and being physically tied to baby or a pump.  I highly doubt there are women out there that extend this pleasure filled ride for their own selfish reasons.

Lastly, how is this law even enforceable?  Will Mothers be forced to carry around their child's birth certificate?  I can just envision a cop approaching a Mother, "Ma'am, I'm going to need to see a birth certificate before you whip that tit out."  Is this really worth legislative time and effort, as well as taxpayer money?

I'm sorry this became so long.  I guess I didn't even realize how passionate I am about this until I wrote this post.  What are your thoughts?  It doesn't matter to me if you are uncomfortable with nursing in public or extended breastfeeding.  The issue here is: should the government be able to make it illegal?
 
 
Photobucket

Sources:
http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/policy/policies/b/breastfeedingpositionpaper.html
http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496
Elizabeth N. (2001). "Extended Breastfeeding and the Law". Breastfeeding Abstracts 20 (3): 19–20.

28 words of geekdom:

Nikki Kirby (blindvictory) said...

I personally think that's ridiculous. How on earth can they honestly try to justify making it illegal for a woman to feed her child in public? There are much bigger issues that the government needs to be concerned with. Breastfeeding should be a non-issue.

Kristin said...

Nope. I am never a fan of the government regulating things like that. America is a land of freedom and choice. Lawmakers do not have the right to tell us how to feed ourselves or our children. Furthermore, I'd LOVE to know how the police feel about this. Is a male officer really going to want to walk up to a woman while she's breastfeeding and ask her to stop and for proof that her baby is under 2? Lawsuit waiting to happen.

pinkflipflops said...

That is just ridiculous.

Sarah :) said...

No, it shouldn't be made illegal. That's outrageous. I will admit, though, to having uttered the words, "Once they're old enough to ask for it..." I may need to re-think that statement.

::embarassed::

Mama on a Green Mission said...

Following you from Super Stalker Sunday! Thanks so much for linking up! Have a great weekend!

April @ Mama on a Green Mission
http://greenmissionmama.blogspot.com

Eliza said...

:::bangs head against the keyboard::: Lawmakers can't be this ridiculous?! But hey, I'm just one of those "crazy" ladies that sees no problem with nursing in public or extended breastfeeding so what do I know... ;D

Seriously though, I am passionate about this too and agree with all you said.

Monika said...

OMG don't even get me started on how insane this is.

Just browsing some of the blog hop blogs and I wanted to say hi! I will follow you as well. We also have a Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/aiasdotca that you should check out! We always like and follow back, just leave us a note <3

Monika @ Aias Dot Ca
Blog: http://www.aias.ca
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aiasdotca
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/aiasdotca

LINDY LEGENDS AND OTHER SUCH NONSENSE said...

New stalker from Super Stalker Sunday! :P Would love it if you'd swing by my blog when you get a chance! :)

Kortney said...

Wow! I can not believe that passed! I think that's just crazy!

Thanks so much for joining the Super Stalker Sunday Hop!! I hope you enjoy stalking around and don't forget to come link back up with us again next weekend!

Kortney
www.kortneyskrazylife.com

Marni's Organized Mess said...

Great thoughts and topics for discussion. I love that you did references too. Great job, Mama G!

Thanks for linking up on the Super STALKER Sunday!

I hope you won't be a stranger and come back next week, or even just mid week and say hello! : ) I post lots of other great things like recipes, tackles, GIVEAWAY'S and rambles (oh my!).

Marie Noelle said...

Hi! I stopped by from Super Stalker Sundays!

I now follow you on Twitter, GFC and feedburner!

Anya said...

Wow, this is CrAzy. I am shocked that a law like this is in America. I know there are silly laws, like in my hometown it is still illegal to walk while eating ice cream! However, I have never seen a cop enforce that law. If I lived there I think I would do it on purpose just to start a debate!
I am looking forward to reading more in the future since we share a lot in common. My blog is about green living with tips for mommas. I am a new GFC follower from your Sundae Hop.
See you again soon!
Anya
http://anyasgreenbaby.blogspot.com/

Mrs.Slick said...

That's completely ridiculous. While I don't want to see ANYONE's breasts, 99.9% of women keep it decent while breastfeeding in public and are still mostly covered. You can see more at the beach than when a woman is bf'ing. So, so, so ridiculous.

Shana said...

Wow is about all I can say! Hi! Just stopping by. Following you from the Super Stalker Sunday Blog Hop. Would love it if you would visit and 'like' my page: www.facebook.com/flightlessgoose or follow my blog: blog.writerslairbooks.com.

XLMIC said...

Skipping by from the Sundae Blog Hop...

and it is interesting to me... this push for government-intervention regarding breastfeeding. My guess is that many of these people are the same ones who want government out of other things that truly NEED to be regulated.

But that is my opinion and I am soooooo busted... extended breastfeeder... in public. Cart me away and lock me up. I have 4 kids and have nursed all beyond 2 years. Most of the nursing of toddlers occurred in private because that was when they wanted it. The record for me is 4 years and one week.

Lindsey said...

How on earth can they say to what age you can breast feed your child? I mean that is beyond ridiculous.

I do think 2 is a bit old, since they should be eating solid food by then. And people should really go in private to breast feed because I know other people don't want to see it. But to make it a law, that is ridiculous!

Surprisingly Sweet

Sweet Jo said...

I <3 you. But you already knew that. I'll be standing right beside you at every rally possible if this kind of thing ever goes national. It pisses me off. I never thought I'd be as passionate about breastfeeding as I am. I never thought I'd even consider breastfeeding past 1 year, but now I can't imagine stopping. I regret my past judgment of extended breastfeeders, as I now believe I will be joining their ranks.

Kristin said...

For those of you who say that 2 is a bit old to be nursing because the child should be on solid food by then, the child is eating solids in conjunction with nursing. I have never heard of an exclusively breastfed two year old.

LukesLiebe said...

Amen!

I think it's ridiculous that the government would pass a LAW inthe name of preventing "sexual abuse"?? Really? Or that breastfeeding over 2 years of age is lewd behavior? Um...pretty sure I see more "lewd behavior" from random women wearing low cut tops or dresses...this law is ridiculous and I would fight it. I agree that breasts are not on our bodies to be sexual playthings but to feed our babies. I love this blog post and I love the fact that you put references in it. I'm behind you all the way!

Jamie said...

Umm this actually makes me pretty angry. I am currently BFing and loving it. Although I haven't decided if I'm going to do it past a year, I am OFFENDED that the government is going to tell me I CAN'T. You're totally right in saying that a bunch of men should not be legislating how we feed our children.

Do some people really say that BFing past a year is sexual abuse?!?!?!!?

UG! The government needs to back off! *seriously*

Mama G said...

Thanks for sharing your opinions, ladies! I'm glad that you think this isn't the government's business, either.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little embarrassed too. I have to say I've uttered (at least in some form) most of those statements in the past. (except the sexual abuse one... that seems even more ignorant than I could possibly be on this).

However, having exclusively nursed my son for the past 6 months, I can see that it probably won't be long before he can lift up my shirt to nurse. And I certainly don't intend to stop before he's a year old.

I agree with everyone else on here. This is not the government's domain here. Breastfeeding toddlers isn't hurting anyone at all. It's completely the opposite!

Jess said...

This is crazy. The government just wants to do everything and anything possible to keep us sick as a whole. The money is in big pharm and genetically engineered foods so for them to outlaw something as natural and healthy as breastfeeding does not surprise me one bit. I suppose I am surprised at the fact that it passed though. Did no one know about it being voted on? I can't imagine that many momma's not raising their voices.
My stance has definitely changed since having babies. I do remember seeing one momma that breastfed her sone at two and I was shocked. Goes to show you there needs to be so much more teaching on the subject. Found you through Hybrid Rasta Mama and the World Breastfeeding Week blog hop.
Really great post.

Momma Jorje said...

Why in the hell...?! We have a hard enough time not being harassed in public by people that don't even know the law - trying to tell Moms that they "can't do that here." And yeah, a lot of women *can't* pump. This is absolutely ridiculous and yes, it is very sad to think how much money was spent to get to this decision!

The Slacker Mom said...

Amen! Frustration outweighs about every other feeling I have about breastfeeding, but we've made it a year. A YEAR! Supply issues, thrush, slow weigh gain, supplementing with a dropper...all things that get me hot, apparently. I think it's telling that when a woman and child are most vulnerable, they are subjected to power trips like this. What recourse does one even have in a situation like that? Public humiliation by an authority figure? Yea Georgia!

SoooBig.WordPress.com said...

That is insane! My little girl has been popping off the boob and saying "all done" for a month. She once motorboated my in the checkout line at Gymboree. That DOES NOT mean she's ready to wean! We'll start sippy cups at day care when she's one, but I plan on nursing in the evening and morning as long as we both want to.

I am so tired of boobs being sex objects. This is the reason people are uncomfortable with breastfeeding, and the reason why women are expected to hide in a bathroom to feed their babies. Sad!!

Crystal

signingcharity said...

Utterly ridiculous. I nursed my middle one 28 months. A family member sent me a blistering e-mail telling me I should tell my daughter no and just give her a sippy. She had a sippy and she had mama. Guess what she wanted? Guess what she got? And you better believe my 2 year old was eating food! She was a slow weight gainer and truly our doctor wanted me to nurse as long as possible because breastmilk gives such good calories, the most bang for their buck when they are eating.

I could totally freak out about this law...ahhhh, deep breaths!!!

My youngest turns one Sunday and you better believe we are not weaning, my goal is to go longer than I did with the last one!

Anonymous said...

America has the most stupid laws guess what there will be more

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