The Right To Breastfeed In Public
Legal and social attitudes towards breastfeeding in public differ greatly in different cultures around the globe. In many parts of the Global South, breastfeeding babies out in the open are very rare and not considered an issue. In some parts of Africa for example, breastfeeding your baby in public can be embarrassing and you may be looked down upon. There are many cultures where breastfeeding in public is seen as extremely desirable. However, in many areas of the West, breastfeeding your baby in public can be very controversial.
The important thing is not to be embarrassed about it, and to respect your partner’s choice. It is perfectly acceptable to breastfeed in public, and many nursing mothers find that they get so much satisfaction from doing so that they don’t mind feeding their babies in public. The key to successful breastfeeding is to remember that this will take time, energy and commitment. It is important to have a positive attitude and belief in yourself as well as your baby, so that you can focus solely on the both of you.
If you have moved to a new state, or if your breastfeeding situation has changed since your last move, then you should be aware of your legal and social rights. First and foremost, you should know that in most states (and other countries), public breastfeeding is against the law. This means that you would be penalized if you are caught in the act, such as being breastfeeding while standing in line at the store. If you were breastfeeding in public, you could get in trouble with your child’s nurse or the store’s clerk. Even the police can arrest you for breastfeeding in public. While in some states, these laws are not entirely enforced, be aware of your rights!
In certain states, you may even be required to register and wear a breastfeeding wrist band. You may even find that you have to pay for this type of bracelet. In some places, breastfeeding in public may even be a misdemeanor. If you have a criminal record, you may even be asked to remove the breastfeeding bracelet before breastfeeding your baby in public. Again, be aware of your rights!
Unfortunately, public breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as walking up and down the aisles of a store. You may have to take a different route to ensure privacy, or you may have to go around a patron or customer. There are even some places that don’t allow nursing rooms, so you may have to bring your baby with you. However, many public places are accommodating and allow you to breastfeed in their establishments.
In a private residence or in a person’s home, it is often more discreet to breastfeed your baby in private. Yet, you still have all of the same legal rights to breastfeeding in public as you do in private. You can protest loudly and permanently. You can call the police. You have the right to ask the police to escort you out of the establishment if they don’t allow breastfeeding in public.
For these reasons, many new mothers choose to use a breastfeeding cover or carrier. A nursing cover allows you to keep your breasts completely covered while breastfeeding in public. It’s very discreet, comfortable, and easy to carry. Some nursing covers even have built-in cup holders to ensure that your nursing accessories are easily accessible.
One important consideration is whether you are protected under the public breastfeeding law. Although breastfeeding in public is allowed in most states, you do need to know what the laws are where you live. Speak to a lawyer who specializes in breastfeeding. He or she will be able to tell you whether you have a case or not. If you do have a case, he or she will be able to schedule a hearing at no cost to you. You can also work with the police and local councilors to make sure that your rights are protected.