City bans public Breastfeeding for children over 2

[deleted account] ( 69 moms have responded )

http://www.care2.com/causes/womens-right...

Soooo a city in Georgia has decided to ban public breastfeeding in children over 2. We just went one step forward to remove the age in Tennessee's laws and now here's a huge step back. Who cares how old the child is? To me this is the same as banning other parenting choices like using bottles, formula or pacifiers. How are they going to enforce this, ask the kid for I.D.? Thoughts on this?

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Nicole - posted on 05/18/2011

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I sent this email to the city council and to the Governor of Georgia:



Subject: This will be forwarded to the Governor...

To: ward2forwilliams@att.net, maudiemccord@bellsouth.net, fpkcitycouncilward5@yahoo.com

Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 3:49 PM



Dear Forest Park Mayoral Council,



I (as well as many others across the US) have become aware that there has been a ban placed on public breastfeeding in your city if the breastfeeding children are 2 years and older. Maybe your city is not aware that this violates Georgia's own breastfeeding legislation which allows babies and children the right to breastfeed in any location that mother and children are otherwise allowed to be with no age limitations. [See here: Ga. Code § 31-1-9 (1999) states that the breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be. (1999 SB 29, Act 304; 2002 SB 221) ]



I feel that Governor Deal must be made aware that one of Georgia's cities is implementing a ban on something that is supported by state law. Unless you, as city council members are going to ban all women with children under two years of age from being in public, according to Georgia Law, the city has no right to implement this type of ban.



This goes further than just violating protection under Georgia Law, it also risks baby/children and maternal health. Georgia already has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in all of the United States and limiting breastfeeding, at any age, makes it appear that breastfeeding is not supported by the local government. (See the CDC's Breastfeeding Report Card for Georgia here: http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/re...) That means that the great state of Georgia can not risk losing breastfeeding rates due to lack of local and state support. A study (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/breastfeedi...) released last year showed that the US could save over $13 billion per year if more women were breastfeeding for longer and many children could be saved. Therefore, even the local government would benefit from increased breastfeeding rates.



Not only does it interfere with State Legislation and harm the economy to set limits on breastfeeding, but it is ridiculous to assume that breastfeeding has anything to do with indecency or public nudity as City Manager, John Parker, claimed (http://www.wsbtv.com/news/27920007/detai...). Most women accomplish breastfeeding without her nipple or much of her breast exposed. But again, back to State Law, there is no specification that a woman must be discreet to accomplish breastfeeding. What is also more ignorant about Mr. Parker's statements is his claim that this new ban is to control nudity in your fine city. With Georgia's breastfeeding rates so low, I don't see how the city's huge nudity problem can be coming from the small percentage of breastfeeding women you have residing within your city limits. Not to mention, that to claim that breastfeeding only becomes an issue of nudity once the breastfed child reaches the magical number of two years is questionable. What is so special about a child aged 23 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days and not a child that is 24 months when it comes to breastfeeding and public indecency?



Also, you know, as well as I, that if this is implemented, it will set a precedent. If we can ban public breastfeeding at 2 years old, why not 1 year, or even 6 months? Or 6 weeks? Right? Then, your city's baby and maternal health will be even more at risk! This new ban is not in the interest of your city, if you ask me, and especially not in the interest of women and children. Therefore, I would anticipate a lawsuit on the basis of violation of state statute and violation of gender rights since this would only apply to women (and their babies).



On 6 June 2011, when your city meets again to discuss this further, I would hope that you would make the correct decision for the breastfeeding pairs who live within your city limits and those who would like to add to your local economy by visiting.



I will now forward this on to Governor Deal in hopes that if this is not handled within city councils, it will be within the state level.

Merry - posted on 06/18/2011

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Tracey, when a baby starts solids they are not supposed to replace any breastfeeds, the breastmilk is supposed to be the main source of nutrition until at least one year. Solids before w year are just for Ora rise and fun and experience, not for nutrition.
And weaning before two years is risking the child's health as they need the immunities in the milk to be their healthiest. So the medical recommendation is no less then two years of breastfeeding.
It is comforting, but it also has irreplaceable nutritions and immune boosting ingredients that can't be found anywhere else.

Merry - posted on 07/01/2011

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You can't fully support breastfeeding if you have conditions in which you don't support it.
That's partially supporting breastfeeding.
Fully supporting breastfeeding means supporting women whose 5 year old is still breastfeeding.
There's a million and one reasons why nursing toddlers can't just get milk in a cup that mom pumps. Until you've been there with your toddler you will not understand.

But making a statement like that is quite close minded

Nicole - posted on 06/19/2011

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I think you are all looking at this in the wrong way. A woman breastfeeding her child is NOT a sexual act and it is NOT indecent. To most, breasts are for sex and, therefore, a sexual body part. They are not seen as what they actually are: feeding vessels that transfer milk to a child. Any other use that is gotten from the breast should take a back seat. Not the other way around. If someone is sexually attracted to feet, we wouldn't expect that person to stop using them to walk around since they use them in their sexual relations.



I think expecting a child of __________ age to NEVER ask for anything that they feel is comforting or needed is being a little inflexible and insensitive. Again, that is just my opinion, but if my 1 year old, 6 year old, 8 year old, 10 year old (or any age) asked for a hug, I would never tell them that now is not the right time. Or if he asked for some food because he was genuinely hungry, I would get him some food shortly thereafter. I'm not saying that I don't set boundaries. I do it all the time. EVEN when it comes to breastfeeding my toddler, but I am not inflexible to those boundaries. As a mother, I use my best judgement as to what's best for my child. NOT another parent, NOT another woman, and DEFINITELY NOT the damn government!



I will not EVER "draw a line" for when breastfeeding should end for another woman. That's none of my business and I do my best to stay out of things that aren't my business. I think making ALL women stop breastfeeding or breastfeeding in public at a certain age because of the fear that someone will be breastfeeding a 10 year old in public is ridiculous. This is quite rare (even in countries where child-led weaning is the norm). I have been working in the field of lactation and lactation support for almost 7 years and most children wean on their own far before this age. AND most only nurse a few times a day after a certain age. Not to mention, that most mothers still breastfeeding toddlers or preschoolers are very good mothers and make sure that their children are quite capable with cups, feeding utensils and other foods.



The argument that a woman should pump for her older baby/child is obviously coming from those who haven't had much experience with pumping or long-term breastfeeding. First, I have counseled many mothers struggling to respond to a pump with an abundant milk supply just to provide for their babies while they are working, so the theory that pumping for a toddler is easy or even possible is flawed because many women notice a significant decrease in milk supply when their child is eating other foods. Second, pumps are never as sufficient at draining the breast as a baby. This would make pumping difficult and not worth the effort just to avoid a public breastfeeding session.



Plus, the bigger picture: Breastfeeding is more than just food! Just ask the ABM (Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine), WHO (World Health Organization), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) or any other medical organization that has done the research surrounding breastfeeding, breast milk and it's benefits.



Sorry if I sound testy, but since I am only 4 months shy of breastfeeding a 2 year old (since he doesn't appear to be weaning soon), the thought of the government (or anyone else!) telling my child that they know what's best for him better than he or I, downright pisses me off. Plus, I may be hormonal... ;o)

Merry - posted on 06/18/2011

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Pumps-man made
Breasts- god/nature made
I believe there's no reason why I should have to use a pump if I don't want to. Besides to give your child the best immune support they have to actually nurse from your body as the saliva gets into the skin on your breasts and your body will create specific antibodies to any germs your child brought onto your breast.
And finally, moms rarely get pleasure from breastfeeding years and years. We do it for our kids, not for our selves, it would be easier to not have to breastfeed your toddler, not he other way around. Trust me, theres no way to force a kid to nurse, if a kid is breastfeeding it's because he or she wants to.

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Mary Renee - posted on 08/28/2011

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Oh my gosh, this debate has gotten ridiculous! I think most of the time in a debate about breastfeeding no one is talking about women with AIDS nursing, and the comment that two-year-olds don't need a nipple in their mouth just shows that society has gotten into that person's brain and made them believe that something completely natural is something to be ashamed of! What is that quote by Thoureau? "Society as a whole is in a conspiracy against every one of it's members."

Why can't a toddler breastfeed? They breastfeed in every other country. It's insane to me how so many people just automatically assume that two-year-old's shouldn't and don't breastfeed. My daughter is one and a half and we're not stopping anytime soon. Today she got pepper in her eye AND was teething and I was SO grateful that I was still breastfeeding so I could offer her some comfort.

Lilliana - posted on 08/27/2011

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This is ridiculous! I will breast feed all of my children until they self wean, and I will do it when and where my children need it.
My oldest son is 3 and I openly nurse him.

[deleted account]

In my opinion government should not legislate breastfeeding of any kind. I breastfed my oldest son who is 6 till he was 4 years old he weaned himself. Now I am currently breastfeeding my 3 year old son and my 9 month old son and in public too, I am not going to deny my sons of nutrition.

[deleted account]

My point is that I wasn't talking to you, and you were taking my post totally out of context and putting words in my mouth. Unintentionally, but still, a "oh sorry, it was a misunderstanding" would have been cool. You were in a side conversation with Laura and I was in a side conversation with Clarissa...on two totally different topics.

Julie - posted on 08/01/2011

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My point was (if you read all of my posts) is that no one "fully" supports breastfeeding no matter what in ALL circumstances and to say they do is not being honest with themselves. We all have our limits as to what is acceptable and what is not and it's important to realise our limits when sharing in a debate.

[deleted account]

Julie, I wasn't even talking to you. I was talking to Clarissa. And she was talking about nursing a two year old in general. YOU'RE the only one talking about breastfeeding a child when you have a disease or you are on drugs.

[deleted account]

Julie, what you are talking about has absolutely nothing to do w/ public breastfeeding. THAT is what this law is about.

Julie - posted on 08/01/2011

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Sara you'd be ok with mothers with serious fatal diseases that can be passed through breastmilk breastfeeding or those taking illicit drugs that can destroy babies' minds and bodies that can be passed through breastmilk being allowed to breastfeed?

Wow, I'm just stunned. Giving a kid a severe, fatal disease, or messing up their minds bodies with illicit drugs should definitely be prohibited - it's no different to injecting infected blood or illicit drugs into them. I cannot understand why anyone would be against laws to prohibit that.

You wouldn't stand by and do nothing if you saw a parent physically harming a child in any other way, why would anyone be against protecting babies from illicit drugs and serious fatal diseases?

Your comment just boggles my mind.

Clarissa - posted on 07/30/2011

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OOOhhhh ok then. WellI dont support that but whatever flats your boat I guess :p

Julie - posted on 07/30/2011

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I doubt anyone "fully" supports breastfeeding - would you be ok with a mum with aids breastfeeding? or a drug addict breastfeeding? We all have our limits, no one ever "fully" supports things. It is important when going into any debate to acknowledge everyone has limits, even if those limits are at nearly opposite ends of the scale to another person. Part of honest debate is being honest with ourselves - that we ourselves do place limits on things even if those limits are less restricting than other people's limits.

Merry - posted on 07/30/2011

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The statistic I heard is the average weaning age world wide is 4 years.
So mos kids in the world are still breastfeeding at 2. My son included :)

Bevely - posted on 07/01/2011

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I think the whole delivery system is the issue here. Kids who are old enough to walk and talk do not need a bottle or a nipple in their mouths. If you refuse to wean your child off breastmilk by that age, then pump and give it to them in a cup. Don't get me wrong, I fully support your right to choose bottle or breast, I breastfed both of my kids while they were infants. I was breastfed as a baby as well, I'm just thankful I don't remember it.

[deleted account]

"I meant when a man is one being breastfed. Because I do know of cases of boys over 5 who were still being breastfed and to me, that is something that if you want to do, should be done at home."



Ah, I see. However, I don't consider a 5 year old a man or even a 10 year old. I do know of a mom who's nursing her 5 year old (she's also nursing her 2 year old). I met her through LLL. And guess what, she's a normal human being. She has talked about how this was definitely not something she planned to do, it just happened. She doesn't nurse her oldest in public because the oldest doesn't nurse very often. I very much feel the same about not planning to nurse a toddler. I thought you *had* to wean at 1. When we got close to that age weaning just didn't feel right to me. I did my research and found out that the great benefits continue so we kept going. Now I'm 36 weeks pregnant and nursing my 2 year old. I haven't decided what my personal comfort level is for weaning (if my daughter doesn't self-wean and I become ready to wean her). No matter what that age is for me, I'm well aware that that age is different for every nursing pair.

Julie - posted on 06/19/2011

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Brisbane Queensland Australia. Breastfeeding is quite accepted... unfortunately so is wearing your pants half way down your bottom.

Julie - posted on 06/19/2011

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Never been to any town or city that had a problem with interracial couples. I have however seen a few kids older than 5 being breastfed in public. Also saw the worst plumber's crack ever tonight in a restaurant. If I hadn't been a hurry to be leaving, I'd have gone and definitely told the guy to pull his pants up. I can live with all the other supposedly offensive things, but can't stand plumbers cracks EW

[deleted account]

I can't say for sure what age I'd be comfortable nursing my son til since he's being force weaned in July (going w/ his dad for a month). I can't imagine nursing him past 4, but who knows? He turned 3 at the end of March. We've only breastfed in public a handful of times since he turned 2, but not because of any laws. I seriously doubt there are enough nursing toddlers/older kids that making this a LAW would be neccessary (even if there were actually a good reason for it... which there isn't). In my entire life I can honestly say I've only ever seen TWO kids nursing past 2 (other than my son). One was 2 and one was 4. Yeah, I thought it was weird and inappropriate at the time, but that was back when I was against breastfeeding a toddler.... 6 years ago. Haven't seen a single breastfed toddler (again, other than my son) since.....

Merry - posted on 06/19/2011

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Julie, I highly doubt any 5 year old would be breastfed in public, but I don't think it should be illegal. There's plenty of legal actions that disturb the general public, but we get over it. (gay kissing, teen dressed like sluts, interracial couples, Plummer butts :)

Julie - posted on 06/19/2011

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I meant when a man is one being breastfed. Because I do know of cases of boys over 5 who were still being breastfed and to me, that is something that if you want to do, should be done at home. By age 5, a child shouldn't be able to demand anything whenever and wherever they like. By age 5, my daughter had learnt that there were set times for meals and snacks and that she couldn't eat whatever whenever. I think once you get to age 5+ kids need to learn self control.

And while I wasn't talking about men being the ones breastfeeding children, there are actually some cases where it has been possible. My have 99% of the right equipment and there have been known cases where men have breastfed babies with only little or no medical help.

It is impossible for men to give birth, but not impossible to breastfeed under certain specific conditions.

I can't see it becoming a popular thing though. Few men want to have their breasts grow out like women's.

Merry - posted on 06/19/2011

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I'd discuss it with my child and depending on their reasons for continuing to ask I'd decide what's best for the specific situation. But I couldn't say as I'd have to know why my child was still wanting to nurse.

Tracey - posted on 06/18/2011

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I think she meant a man being the one feeding FROM a mothers breast. Just as a question to those who have older babies who have weaned themselves, what age were they when this happened? Also if your child were say 6 or 7 years old for example, would you personally consider weaning your child or let them continue to breastfeed even if this meant feeding into the pre-teens, which happens in some rare cases that I have researched since reading this post.

[deleted account]

You don't have any say in how long someone else chooses to breastfeed and neither does the governement. It is 100% up to mom and baby. If you wanted to wean and someone told you you were absolutely not allowed to that would be insane, right? Because only *you* know what is best for your child and your family. Breastfeeding is never unacceptable. Child-led weaning isn't done much in the U.S. and some other developed countries which is why it's seen as strange or different, but that doesn't make it wrong. Men can't lactate so I'm not sure where that argument is getting you. If men could breastfeed then mom could get a break every now and then ;).

Merry - posted on 06/18/2011

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Yes mom and child would draw the line somewhere.
I doubt there has ever been a case of a boy breastfeeding into adulthood. First off the child would likely wean well before the teen years, and if not I'm certain the mom would cut them off at some point before adulthood.
It's not the governments business.

Julie - posted on 06/18/2011

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define hurting.... if you saw a grown man breastfeeding in public, I'm sure most people would find it disturbing to the point of considering it pornagraphic. you have to draw a line somewhere

Merry - posted on 06/18/2011

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Whenever mom and child decide.
Plain and simple.
It's not the governments place to regulate how and when we care for our children if we aren't hurting them.
And there's been no evidence of harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or beyond.

Julie - posted on 06/18/2011

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so when does breastfeeding become unacceptable? when a child is 5? when a child is 10? why can't an adult breastfeed off a woman in public?

You have to draw a line somewhere. And I know of several kids breastfed past 5, and even one past 10... and sorry but that is just disturbing.

You have to draw a line somewhere, if not 2 years old, where do people suggest?

[deleted account]

So what about moms who don't respond to pumps and get get any milk out that way?



Also, this law was taken out as the city council realized that breastfeeding should not be part of an indecent exposure law.

Michelle - posted on 06/18/2011

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If the child is constantly breast feeding at home, then pumping for a public outing is not going to do that much damage to your child. I breastfed my son until he was drinking out of cups. Then I stopped. So I know the benefits of breastfeeding. But I also don't think that pumping once in a while is going to do any damage to your child. And while I respect your opinion about moms doing it for their child, not for themselves, I disagree to a point. If a child only knows breastfeeding, they are more likely to continue this as they don't know any other way to get refreshment.

Michelle - posted on 06/18/2011

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I am in agreement with this law. I am not saying stop breastfeeding altogether. I personally don't think children should be breastfed at this age, but that's just my opinion. Most children are drinking from cups before the age of 2. I think if you choose to breasfeed after the age of 2 that is your right. There are such things as breast pumps. I think if you are going out, moms could pump, and take it with them, that way when they are out in public, they are still getting the breast milk, just out of a cup or bottle. I remember when my son was 4 in JK, a mother breast fed her son in the school yard before JK started for the morning. I apologize to those of you that do this, but I just don't agree with that. At this point, I think it's more a pleasure to mom than it is benefit to child. And how many kids are in the school yard watching this. It is embarassing to the child, and children of the school. That child will eventually start getting teased by other children. I think pumping breast milk before you go out in public, is a simple solution, and one that benefits EVERYONE

Tracey - posted on 06/18/2011

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I was a breastfeeding mum for a very short time with my daughter as she has an intollerace to the cows milk comming through my breast milk, and had to stop after 2 1/2 months. I wasn't very secure with myself feeding in public and would always find a place to go. I guess for others who have never even breastfed this insecurity could be part of their reason for these "laws". Personally if I were still breastfeeding I probably wouldn't feed past 6-8 months. What are the benefits of breastfeeding a child after they have started on solid food? Is it just a comfort thing kind of like some children have dummies? Education would probably be helpful to people rather than just saying deal with it I'm feeding my child regardless. I do have to agree with Victoria, when people whip out their parts it does leave people wondering where to look or not look. As for abuse, I don't think so.....

Victoria - posted on 06/16/2011

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While I'm not one much for breastfeeding past the age of 18 months (my daughter decided that breastfeeding was not her thing just before 14 months), I don't want to deny other women the opportunity to take care of their children.

Personally, I felt better when I was covered up when I breastfed in public. No to mention. people can't really say anything if they can't prove that your breast is out. That's my favorite. No one ever tried to say anything about it.

Personally, I think that we should band together as mommys and not be the kid that poops in the pool. Most people I know try to be inconspicuous, get to a quite place and keep all the mommy parts covered. But the women that just whip out the boob and let it hang there . . . come on. It makes others uncomfortable and unsure how to react.

Shannon - posted on 06/16/2011

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i dont see anything wrong with it the law shouldnt be their but breastfeeding a 2 year old is a little extreme to me

[deleted account]

Unfortunately, Liz, it happens quite a bit. Moms get kicked out of public locations like restaurants, ball parks, etc. all for feeding their babies. And it doesn't seem to matter if they use a cover or not.

[deleted account]

I think I've lived abroad too long -- why are there fines for people who try to "interfere" with breastfeeding?

Seriously? This actually happens? People try to stop breastfeeding?

Mary Renee - posted on 05/20/2011

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I say we stage a feed-in!!!! We all take our toddlers and breastfeed them right on the steps of their government buildings. They can't arrest us all, and if they try, we get the media out there so they can get them arresting (or fining or issuing citations) to a bunch of mothers with babies!!!!!!!

Maybe I've just always wanted to stage a breastfeed-in. Thought it would be cool. I live in Hawaii though so I don't know how I'd get to Georgia, maybe we can do a nationwide synchronized feed-in. I'm serious. Want to?

By the way, today at the beach, I saw not one, not two, but THREE other mothers nursing their babies. One had a cover, the other two did not. I never us a cover when I nurse my daughter at the beach, but I have to say, I feel a little warmness and instant kinship to anyone I see nursing in public : )

Lacye - posted on 05/20/2011

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Sara D: I can see where you are coming from. Me personally, I wouldn't be comfortable with it. I will admit that I am a very insecure in some ways and breastfeeding in public just makes me nervous. If I had breastfed longer than what I did, I was sick and had to stop breastfeeding, I would have been the person running to find somewhere to feed my baby. Would I breastfeed my 2 year old, probably not. I had already had a plan when my daughter was born that I was going to wean off the breast when the teeth started coming in.

[deleted account]

Child abuse?! That's rich.

Is that better or worse than comparing breastfeeding to pooping and sex.... lol

Merry - posted on 05/20/2011

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Crystal, that's very sad you think it's abuse, what could possibly make you think it's abuse? Have you ever breastfed?

Minnie - posted on 05/20/2011

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MA recently instituted a $500 fine for attempting to interfere with a breastfeeding mother :).

[deleted account]

LOL!! As Sara said, the WHO recommends breastfeeding up to 2 years AND beyond as long as mom and baby want. The benefits of breastfeeding continue for as long as baby is nursing (and after they've weaned). Calling it child abuse just shows that you have never met a mom who nurses a toddler. You can't force a kid to nurse so I'm not sure how it's child abuse. I don't hold my 2 year old down and stuff my breast in her mouth. That would probably just end in injury to me lol. To me, that would be like me calling bottle feeding or kids that use paci for a long time child abuse. It's not my business and it's not my kid. Everyone has a reason for why they make the parenting decisions that they do.



And Layce, I see your point, but breastfeeding is more than a "snack." My daughter doesn't ask to nurse very often, but some toddlers do. As others have mentioned, why does age matter? It's so much easier to be discreet with a toddler who knows what they're doing then with an infant that needs help getting latched. Is it nutrionally necessary? In many cases, no, but it's more than just nutrition. It's like denying your child a hug or a kiss because society finds that "wrong." It's a sign of affection and a bond between a mother and child that no one else should give a crap about. I can't understand why people throw such a fit over breastfeeding.

[deleted account]

@ Crystal, child abuse? Really?? Please elaborate. I don't like assuming things, BUT I'm going to assume that you haven't done much reading or research on breastfeeding and don't know that the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends a MINIMUM of two years.

Lacye - posted on 05/20/2011

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I have no problem with breastfeeding in public but I do think there is a certain age where it should not be done anymore. You can breastfeed at home and when you have to go in public, bring some juice in a sippy cup along with a small snack. It's only a little more stuff,

However, I don't think breastfeeding at over 2 is child abuse. That is just insane. And nobody's business but the mother's.

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