Breastfeeding in Public

Published: 2021-09-11 10:25:08
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Category: Childhood, Breastfeeding, Motherhood

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Breastfeeding in Public: A Woman’s Right or Crime Women were born blessed with the ability to offer the most natural and beautiful act a mother can do for her child. Breastfeeding is a treasurable bond shared between mother and child. Controversy arises when nursing mothers choose to perform feedings in public areas. Select groups of people view breastfeeding in public places as indecent and offensive. It is to be determined if it is a women’s right to breastfeed her child anywhere she deems suitable. According to the medical dictionary, breastfeeding is defined as feeding a child human breast milk ("eMedicineHealth. om"). A lactating mother produces this milk. Lactation is the process of producing milk. Human milk is secreted by the mammary glands, which are located within the fatty tissue of the breast ("eMedicineHealth. com"). Mothers unable to produce adequate amounts of breast milk are in the minority. Most women begin to lactate before the birth process takes place. After a baby is born the mother is able to immediately begin nursing. The number of women that choose to breastfeed their children has begun to dwindle significantly over the decades. Is this because society as a whole has become lazy?
Is it because breastfeeding does not have enough proven benefits over formula? Or is it because society does not approve of women breastfeeding in public, making it increasingly more difficult for nursing women to continue their lives after giving birth? It would be impossible for every individual in America to agree on any one subject. The topic of breastfeeding is not excluded. Advocates turn a cheek at the sight of a bare breast or smile in the beauty of the natural gift. Anti-breastfeeding individuals frown upon the sight due to morals, beliefs, and preference.
The issue comes down to whether breastfeeding should or should not be allowed in public. Those who whole-heartedly believe in breast milks benefits support mothers being allowed to breastfeed in public places and those that disagree view breastfeeding as non-necessary, unimportant, and disturbing. Both of these groups not only include the average citizen on the street, but also the business owners of America. Breastfeeding mothers may have a need to feed their child in a park, airplane, retail store, grocery store, restaurant, and even one’s office.



How do we deem areas as appropriate or inappropriate when babies rely on the breast of their mother for their nourishment? Should mothers be restrained to their holms until the breastfeeding has ceased? There must be solutions to these questions. The facts and myths of breastfeeding need to be clear and known by the citizens of America. Mothers around the world make the decision everyday to breastfeed or bottle-feed their newborn babies. The factors that help them in the decision making process are not always well-defined.
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Women must know the reality of the beauty and harshness of breastfeeding. The ease of being able to carry on with their daily lives is a chief factor. Therefore breastfeeding in public must be contemplated. The practice of breastfeeding originated when the first woman gave birth to a baby. In earlier times, breastfeeding was the only source of food and nourishment for babies. What was a common practice has changed dramatically over the generations. In history breastfeeding was as necessary as going to the restroom. Human breast milk was the only food accessible for babies.
It was, and still is in many poverty-based communities, crucial to breastfeed young children. According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, before the 20th century breastfeeding was the most common form of nutrition used for infants (Wikipedia). Lactating women are not only crucial to their own children, but to offspring of others as well. These women are referred to as wet nurses. A wet nurse is a woman who breast-feeds and cares for another's child ("Wet Nurse"). It used to be fact that if a mother died then the child was left to die due to starvation.
This is unless another lactating woman is able to assume the duties. Wet nurses are commissioned when a mother is unable or chooses not to nurse the child herself. In the case that other lactating women were not available, the motherless baby would perish. When necessary, a baby’s milk was substituted with the milk of an animal such as a goat or cow. In the 1800’s doctors, scientist, and other researchers began investigating what ingredients were indispensible in food mixes for babies to grow. In 1867, the first commercially available baby food was created by Justus von Liebig "breastfeeding-mom. com"). Following this development, various other kinds of baby formulas were made. Numerous women around the world began using these formulas in place of breastfeeding. Manufacturers promoted the use of baby formulas as a modern way to feed babies. By 1950, more than half of the babies in the USA were fed some form of baby formula ("breastfeeding-mom. com"). Trends began to change back in the 1970’s. Women felt the need to go back to the fundamentals of feeding their babies as done in history.
Public pressure has urged health departments to recognize the significance of breastfeeding and encourage mothers to do so. There are now laws in place to protect the rights of a breastfeeding mother when feeding her child in public. A baby's need to eat cannot be determined by a set schedule. There are laws that make public breastfeeding legal and prohibit companies from banning it in the workplace. A United States House of Representatives appropriations bill with a breastfeeding amendment was signed into law on September 29, 1999 ("History and Culture of Breastfeeding").
It specified that no government funds may be expended to enforce any bar on women breastfeeding their children in Federal buildings or property. A majority of states have enacted state statutes specifically permitting the exposure of the female breast by women breastfeeding infants, or exempting such women from prosecution under applicable statutes, such as those regarding indecent exposure ("History and Culture of Breastfeeding"). Breastfeeding babies in public is legal in all 50 states. The controversy on breastfeeding in public has no true beginning.
It would be impossible to determine who first opposed the act and when they did so. Though breastfeeding was essential in early history, there was bound to have been individuals who did not enjoy seeing the exposed breast of a nursing mother. As our society has evolved the issue has grown to be a larger dispute. Americans have begun to put expectations and standards on what is deemed apt to be viewed in public. Free speech is a right and morals are a personal preference. History proves that what was common and natural has ecome less and less so in the birth of new generations. Breastfeeding played a big part in historical times by nourishing the men and women who grew to be the founding fathers and mothers of America. Todays leaders could have been breastfed or bottle-fed. Did Obama’s mother feed him human breast milk or formula? Does it really matter? The answer is no. The nourishment we are given as children determines our future health, but has no standing otherwise. Yet, it is our mothers’ choices on how we receive our nourishment.
I am left to wonder if breastfeeding will diminish entirely in the future for the simple fact that the opinions of our fellow peers are beginning to determine much more than they should. Breastfeeding in public was accepted in history, but now it is frowned upon as much as divorce and tattoos. Our society may never return to making its own decisions and not having to worry about the feelings of those around us? It might be a blessing that there are many options available other than breastfeeding because options allow ease and freedom.
With all the diseases and cancers striking women these days, options allow them to do everything from artificial insemination to adoption. The availability of options has the capability to cause unwanted stress. If breastfeeding in public grows to be a larger issue, what once was a natural given ability and blessing might become a mute subject. Therefor it must be determined if it is a woman’s right to breastfeed her child wherever vital or if it is a crime to breastfeed in public areas. In the beginning it was the only option. Today it is one of many. Actions will decide what it will be tomorrow.
Breastfeeding has many benefits. In addition to being packed full of nutrients and vitamins, breast milk can help prevent and/or lower the risk of many illnesses for both mother and baby. Along with the protection against a long list of illnesses, breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies, becoming obese, lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and much more. It often reduces a mothers stress levels, chances of developing postpartum depression, and risks of acquiring some types of cancer. Breast milk is specifically customized and tailored to every baby.
Your body responds to pathogens (virus and bacteria) that are in your body and makes secretory IgA that's specific to those pathogens, creating protection for your baby based on whatever you're exposed to ("babycenter. com"). Studies have been done that present findings showing that breastfeed boosts a child’s intelligence. In a study of more than 17,000 infants followed from birth to 6 1/2 years, researchers concluded from IQ scores and other intelligence tests that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding significantly improves cognitive development ("babycenter. com").
Most importantly breastfeeding creates a special bond between a mother and a child. Dan Hurley, medical journalist, argues that breast fed babies are at a much lower risk for developing type one diabetes. The author asserts that cows milk is the culprit due to it cultivating an attack on the immune systems that results in diabetes in the future. Hurley promotes his thesis by giving the results of both his own studies on rats and those of other experts. He claims that babies who are breast fed for at least 6 months before being introduced to cows milk have enough time to build up a strong enough immune system.
Hurley directly connects diabetes to cows milk in order to promote breastfeeding infants and a decrease in the statistics on diabetes in the future. Like everything in life, where they are positives, there are bound to be negatives that come along with them. Breastfeeding brings on copious amounts of pain in a woman’s breast. The entire breast becomes sore, hard, and warm. Creams must be applied often to prevent cracking and bleeding. The secretion of milk is uncontrollable and often a nuisance. The amount of leaking is different with every woman, yet never the less undesirable.
Special pads must be worn at all times to prevent the obvious show of a woman’s leaking breast in public. When or if a mother returns to work or is away from her child for a length of time, she must use a breast pump to prepare milk for these absences. This requires her to pump on the baby’s normal feeding schedule. Breastfeeding also prevents a mother from drinking alcohol, smoking, and even taking certain medications. Some are completely against breastfeeding. Zoe Williams, British columnist and journalist, concludes that the benefits of breastfeeding are questionable and unproven.
She faults the zealot advocates that see breastfeeding as the only option. Williams fosters her thesis be referencing many authorities on the lack of proven benefits of nursing. Her research is aimed towards the women considering other options besides breastfeeding. Williams stresses that there are an copious amounts of parents who love their children unconditionally without breastfeeding in order to challenge the orthodoxy of the breast being the best. Naomi Wolf, feminist author, implies that due to feminism placing women in the workforce there is no time for mothers to take breastfeeding as a serious option.
The author blames the grueling work schedules of modern times to be the cause of the reduction in nursing mothers. Wolf supports her thesis by citing case studies, using examples, and telling of her own personal experience. She suggests that stay-at-home mothers are more inclined to breastfeed their children. Wolf relates nursing to be a drug of choice in order to convince readers that most mothers choose to breastfeed for the natural high and not for the benefits. Mothers who choose to breastfeed feel the positive effects out weigh the negative aspects of breastfeeding.
So if they are strong enough to endure the pain and irritations that breastfeeding brings them, they certainly take their job as a mother as a high priority. These women should be praised and not frowned upon. They made the ultimate decision to nourish their children with the milk the naturally produce; which does not make them the out casts of our society. These women have lives just as the rest of us do. If they choose to put their life on hold to nurse their children, it should be a reminder as to how important life is.
This is the main reason breastfeeding should be condoned in public and not shunned. Life is a beautiful thing and the women who give birth to life and choose to continue their lives with having a child that is dependent on them in such a major way are a strong and powerful part of our society. We are accepting of the victoria secret models on TV who are half naked. Why are we not acceptable of the average mother who exposes her naked breast to feed her own child? I propose we help promote breastfeeding in public.
If the stamp of approval is given to the models in lingerie that appear in TV commercials, magazines, and ads on billboards, we must give nursing mothers the same. Our children have the opportunity to see much more vulgar images at home and in public. Therefore why are the women with the important job of nurturing their offspring with their own natural ability being asked to leave public places if they attempt to breastfeed? In many eyes, including mine, it is hypocritical and a crying shame. These strong women deserve respect for what they are doing.
The looks of disgust by the lack of understanding from those uninformed cannot cause such a amazing gift to be any more of a hard task than it already is. America is not accurately informed or equipped with the information and utilities for nursing mothers. My proposal is that business’ open to the public and those with employees of the female gender designate private areas for breastfeeding or provide disposable drapes for the mothers not already equipped with such. The intent is that mothers not feel like the elephant in the room while nursing their children.
This proposal would allow business’ to either utilize pre-existing space that is not being used or create a comfortable area for mother and baby to sit and feed that is out of the public eye. Many business’ already have this plan in effect, therefore the second part of my proposal is that stations be placed in parks, malls, places of business, and etc. that contain disposable drapes that mothers may place over themselves while their bare breast is exposed. In the case of business’ designating areas for nursing to take place, the cost could be minimal by using existing rooms.
These rooms could be an extra janitor closet or office that is enhanced with a chair or sofa, small table, diaper changing station, and possibly a sink. Another area might be a section of a bathroom. With an adequate chair, most bathrooms would be sufficient for breastfeeding. The other part of my proposal involving the drapery stations might be easier on mothers, yet more costly. I believe our government could afford to place these stations in public areas around our cities. The drapes being disposable would allow them to be made out of cheap material.
Many public parks already have stations such as these for our pets. Restaurants could supply the drapes just as they do plastic bibs for children. In conclusion, I strongly believe breastfeeding is not vital, yet it is a great source of nutrition for babies. After giving birth to my daughter in December of 2011 I made the decision to breastfeed her. Though it was not always fun, I enjoyed having someone so dependent upon me. A week after she was born I had to return to school to take my first college finals. Somehow I made it through it, but it wasn’t long before the spring semester was going to be in session.
I was going to have to return to work to support us, stay in school to better our future, and manage to be the best parent possible. The day before my first spring class I made the decision that it would be near impossible to pump enough milk in the 15 minutes between classes while walking from building to building. I knew that the looks I would receive from students if I exposed myself on a bench outside Patterson Hall would be not be ones of approval. Let alone I am quite certain that the University of Memphis would promote me doing so.
I considered informing my teachers that I would not be on time to class each day and explain why, but opted out. After researching this paper, I feel remorseful that I did not continue to breastfeed. She is a winter baby and is in and out of the hospital with RSV quite often. I have to ask myself if her receiving my breast milk instead of formula could have prevented this. Though I will never have the answer I vow that I will breastfeed my next child despite any circumstances. My hope is that by then there will be more adequate resources for me to do so.
Odds are I will be out of school by the time this occurs, but many moms will not be. The University most likely does not wish to promote girls having children at early ages, yet it is being an epidemic. My last proposal is that women on campus that wish to breastfeed be provided with support by the faculty and staff. This would entail a special spot on campus in such a place like the University Center be designated for nursing mothers and more leniency on tardiness to class. A doctor note should be provided and kept on file. Breastfeeding in public should not be the issue that it is.
Maybe formula is just as sufficient, but facts have shown that breast milk is an outstanding resource for babies to be provided. If a mother is capable and willing, it is not the right of anyone else to discriminate. Breastfeeding is not a crime. It is the right given to every woman and a blessing to babies across the world. Works Cited "Breastfeeding Glossary of Terms. " eMedicineHealth. com. WebMD, n. d. Web. 22 November 2012. "brestfeeding-mom. com. " brestfeeding-mom. com. (2012): n. page. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. . "Definition of Breastfeeding . " eMedicineHealth. com. WebMD, 27 2011.
Web. 22 November 2012. . "History and Culture of Breastfeeding. " Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. . "How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. " babycenter. com. BabyCenter, L. L. C. , n. d. Web. 1 December 2012. . Hurley, Dan. Diabetes Rising. New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2010. 109-126. Print. "Wet Nurse. " Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. . Wikipedia contributors. "Breastfeeding. " Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. . Williams, Zoe. "The Guardian. " Guardian. (2012): n. page. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. . Wolf, Naomi. Misconceptions. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday, 2001. 266-297. Print.

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