Over the centuries breastfeeding your baby in public has become increasingly attacked, with individuals publicly shaming mothers trying to provide for their children.
In recent years, mothers have been fighting back, showing society that they are focused on the wrong kind of indecencies.
All the effort has paid off, and 2018 marks a victorious year in which babies can be breastfed in public in every state in the nation.
Utah and Idaho are the last two states in the country to write legislation protecting mothers from receiving an indecency charge and fines when they expose themselves to breastfeed.
The United States has surprisingly been behind the curve in implementing such protections, with Australia and the United Kingdom already providing protections to mothers.
Sadly, it was a close call in Utah, with a 6 to 5 vote in favor of allowing mothers to feed their young in public places.
Representative Curt Webb told a radio station, according to the Independent, that he thought lifting charges for public breastfeeding “seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all”, and he is just “not comfortable with that at all”.
Webb is 69 years old, and comes from an era where mothers were not welcome to breastfeed in front of anyone, and that time period surely has influenced his feelings on the subject.
Being uncomfortable with a mother feeding her baby comes from a stigma, and nothing more, because these same people would probably not be uncomfortable walking through a mall with ads of half-dressed women in them.
This affront to the legislation protecting public breastfeeding in Utah existed even in the face of language that requires a mother cover her breast while doing so.
Thankfully, Idaho had much less difficulty getting their bill passed. This was largely in part to it being introduced by Republican State Representative Paul Amador, who happens to be a new father.
Prior to voting, Amador quoted to the Idaho Statesman newspaper:
“Unfortunately, Idaho is the one state that currently has no protections for breastfeeding mothers. Personally, I find it disappointing that we’re in 2018 and we still haven’t passed this law.”
In a surprising outcome, the bill passed 66-0, making Idaho a member of the states looking out for the best interest of its mothers.
Some states, although allowing a mother to breastfeed in public, require them to still cover up their breasts.
This is not an outrageous request, and most mothers choose to do so anyhow. Putting a cover on also provides your baby with some protection against all the stimulation around them in a public place, often helping them to feed more efficiently.
However, many babies simply won’t nurse with their head covered. And chances are, the mother is feeling self-conscious about it.
Mothers are not looking to expose themselves when they take their breast out to feed a baby, but are just focused on meeting their baby’s needs.
Working mothers may have some difficulty pumping while at work depending on what state you live in.
Currently, 28 states offer workplace protections for pumping while on the clock, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
New Jersey is one of the last states to give nursing mothers workplace protections, and it is suspected that there will be many more to follow in the near future.
Many groundbreaking advancements for working mothers have been moving forward around the world, such as the Australian Senator who breastfeeds her daughter in the chambers, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.
New York has gone one step further than other states in the nation by requiring breastfeeding rooms for the public in all state buildings.
Progress for breastfeeding protections may be likely due to the majority of legislators being men, as the Independent suggests.
The first sitting Senator to give birth, Tammy Duckworth, has been making ripples on the chamber floor by promoting legislation that increases the fluidity of women’s work and motherly duties.
You can now nurse in the chambers while voting. Duckworth says to the Chicago Tribune, “My daughter’s got to eat, and I’ve got to vote.”
There have been amazing strides in the community of breastfeeding, and now with the presence of social media mothers are uniting like never before.
The United States legislation on breastfeeding, and accomplishments in 2018 are something for the books.
Feeding our babies when they need to eat should not have to be a political issue, but just a fact of life.
It is nice to know, however, that the next time I am at the park with the kids and my baby is crying, that I won’t get written a ticket for providing lunch to my children.
(h/t Mommy Underground)