Society is trying to remove the negative stigma and normalize public breastfeeding, once an avoidable topic of discussion. Some states give mothers the right to breastfeed in stores, day care centers, doctors' offices, and restaurants. But that's not enough. Luckily, there are several global leaders who advocate for public breastfeeding in an effort to make this the norm. Some of these leaders are even moms who fearlessly fulfill their job duties and breastfeed at the same time. Global leaders' support and initiatives for public nursing allow moms and babies to reap in the benefits of breastfeeding.
In an interview with Fit Pregnancy, infant-nutrition expert Dr. Ruth A. Lawrence explained some of the benefits of breastfeeding. "The incidences of pneumonia, colds, and viruses are reduced among breastfed babies," Lawrence said. Additionally, Lawrence said moms may feel empowered when breastfeeding due to seeing their baby surviving off of their breast milk.
Always remember, it's your right to publicly breastfeed your child in most states. Currently, 49 states allow women to breastfeed in public or private places.
Here are some global leaders, including Pope Francis and Barack Obama, who support you in your mission to publicly breastfeed your little one whether you're at your job or out to eat.
NPR reported that Pope Francis supported public breastfeeding at a January 2017 ceremony commemorating the baptism of Jesus. There, Pope Francis told the mothers present that if their children are crying out of hunger to feed them, "just as Mary breastfed Jesus."
2Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir
Icelandic lawmaker Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir was a supermom when she breastfed her baby while doing her job. According to The Washington Post, Konráðsdóttir was unexpectedly called to respond to a bill and walked to the lectern while breastfeeding her 6-week-old daughter.
The Washington Post reported on President Barack Obama advocating for public breastfeeding back in 2010. Obama asked federal personnel officials to draft "appropriate workplace accommodations" for federal employees who were also nursing mothers.
Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, supported the report to allow women to breastfeed in the chamber of the House of Commons. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Bercow said allowing this would be "symbolic" and would portray the Commons as a "role-model parent friendly institution."
Italian Member of European Parliament (MEP) Licia Ronzulli brought her daughter to work when she was breastfeeding, according to BBC. Ronzulli first brought 6-week-old Vittoria to vote in the European Parliament in 2010. In the interview with BBC, Ronzulli said her decision to bring Vittoria was not a "political gesture but a maternal one."
Australian House of Representatives Leader Christopher Pyne spoke positively on changes to accommodate parents in the House of Representatives, according to BBC. The House now allows lawmakers to breastfeed and bottle-feed in the chamber. In an interview with BBC, Pyne said "No member male or female will ever be prevented from participating fully in the operation of the parliament by reason of having the care of a baby."
Health Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, Michelle O'Neill, promised legislation to protect mothers who breastfeed in public. In an interview with BBC, the Department of Health said these laws would try to increase "awareness and acceptability" of breastfeeding. According to BBC, breastfeeding rates are the lowest in the UK.