Kelly Rulison Staff Writer
At the state level, laws have been put into effect to help new mothers handle breastfeeding while also preventing the public from feeling offended by the act itself as well as the exposure of the mother.
Different states have varying laws about breastfeeding in public. Including Illinois, 46 states have laws on breastfeeding that say women are allowed to breastfeed in any public or private location. Breastfeeding is exempt from public indecency laws in 29 states.
Workplace laws related to breastfeeding have come to pass in 25 states. Laws in 16 states allow breastfeeding mothers to be exempt from jury duty or allow jury service to be postponed. Five states have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign. These laws have helped to give mothers guidelines on what they can and cannot do in public.
On July 13 of this year, a mother was asked to leave a New York store because she was breastfeeding in public. The next day, she came back with 15 nursing mothers. This was done to show the public that mothers have their rights to breastfeed.
Some people aren’t sure what to feel about a woman breastfeeding in public, others know exactly how they feel about it.
“In my whole eight months, and no sign of stopping, no one has said anything to me when I nurse in public. It kind of amazes me because I don’t use a cover to nurse,” Chelsea Coad, a full-time mother said. “I always wear an undershirt and a shirt over it to cover my skin. But for the most part, people see me, I smile at them, and they go about their merry way.”
Some mothers would prefer to avoid any public disturbances by having a place to go to when they need to breastfeed in public.
“I don’t like people watching me so I never breastfeed in public, besides in my car,” Photography major, Bethany Reynolds said.
Newborn infants need to be fed every 2 or 3 hours, making a mother who is trying to keep up with responsibilities like a job, classes, etc, difficult to breastfeed at home only.
The Family Health Clinic in Fobes Hall offers a place mothers with infants can go to breastfeed in privacy.
To contact the Family Health Clinic about breastfeeding options on campus dial (618) 468-6800.
For more information about the laws of breastfeeding in different states visit http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx.
Contact Kelly Rulison at firstname.lastname@example.org