Breastfeeding Mothers Arrested For Public Indecency

by Medindia Content Team on  May 28, 2006 at 11:23 AM Women Health News   - G J E 4
Breastfeeding Mothers Arrested For Public Indecency
In many states of u.s., mothers who breastfed their babies in public are put under jail for public indecency. As no act was made to prove that breastfeeding was an adverse thing, clinicians proved it is safe for both mother and child.

The U.S. Healthy People 2010 target is to increase the proportion of mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies for at least six months to 50%; the World Health Organization recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. However, these goals may be difficult to meet since some mothers in the U.S. face challenges to breastfeeding. Many women view their return to work as a cause for ending their breastfeeding regime early. Even women who use a breast pump require 30 minutes of privacy each workday to expel breast milk. In the May issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, a commentary by Dr. Tonse Raju from the National Institutes of Health reflects on the continued barriers for breastfeeding mothers.

Most industrialized nations guarantee maternity leave for up to 16 weeks at 75-100% of pay. Norway exceeds that by providing up to 42 weeks of maternity leave with full pay or 52 weeks with 80% pay. The U.S., however, allows a woman 12 weeks of unpaid leave, without the risk of losing her job, during any 12-month period. Allowing new mothers more time off work may encourage the continuation of breastfeeding, potentially minimizing societal limitations. Although it might be difficult to enact a policy similar to that of Norway, the U.S. should consider what is needed to support women who choose to breastfeed.

Barriers to breastfeeding in the workplace include a perception of a disruption in job performance, lack of privacy for the mother, problems with insurance regulations, difficulty finding a daycare facility close to the mother's workplace, and the devaluation of the cumulative benefits from high rates of breastfeeding exceeding the potential inconvenience of accommodating breastfeeding in the workplace. It should be noted, however, that there are also potential benefits to employers, such as an increase in employee retention and a reduction in health insurance costs and absenteeism; this can contribute to a boost in both morale and productivity of all employees.

Dr. Raju reminds us that 'Much can be achieved by educating employers and the public about the health and economic benefits from high rates of breastfeeding.' Employers and mothers should discuss options that maintain an effective workplace environment while focusing on common sense, respect, flexibility, and accommodation for mothers' feeding choices. Dr. Raju believes that 'our society ought to support breastfeeding as a natural, inherently humane, biological act, as basic and essential as breathing.'

Source: Eurekalert

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While it's actually not illegal to breastfeed in public in the U.S., many people will stare unapprovingly, or will approach with a negative comment. Our public indecency laws state that it's unlawful for the aureola of the breast to show, except in the case of breastfeeding. I worked for the government as a teacher and we are allowed only 6 wks of unpaid maternity leave. Most teachers try to plan their pregnancies so they end during a school holiday. I decided to quit working than to try to figure out how to breastfeed and still work. Many women I know either quit their jobs, or bottle feed.
guest Wednesday, July 26, 2006

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