The decision to breastfeed in public is often fraught with anxiety and ambivalence. And, considering how awful some breastfeeding mothers are treated, this is not a total surprise. Many women are shamed and asked to "cover up." They're asked to go home or do it or somewhere "more private." It's widely known that cultural taboos, stigmatization, and sexualization of breasts have made it difficult for breastfeeding mothers. Thankfully, in the last decade important legislative strides have been made. As a result, there are breastfeeding rights you should know if someone tries to stop you from breastfeeding in public.
Breastfeeding is certainly not the only way to feed a baby (as there are many valid, healthy ways to feed a baby based on what is best for mother and baby), but most medical professionals agree that breast milk provides the best nourishment. According to the latest 2016 Centers For Disease Control and Prevention breastfeeding report card, breastfeeding numbers are on the rise nationwide. Although this is good news it's hard not to notice what happens six months after the baby is born. The data shows that 81 percent of all mothers in 2013 started off breastfeeding their babies, however at 6 months, a little over half of these mothers were still breastfeeding.
It's certainly an improvement from previous years, but it also shows how much work there still needs to be done to support breastfeeding mothers. Demanding more rights for breastfeeding mothers (and demanding they be enforced) is part of the puzzle, but knowing what these rights are and standing up for them is important too. Breastfeeding rights and ordinances can be pretty vague and confusing. Additionally, rights are not consistent state to state, which only adds to the lack of clarity. In an effort to simplify breastfeeding rights in public, here are seven rights mothers should know about in case someone tries to stop them in public.