Breastfeeding Laws: Breastfeeding Mom Arrested?

This morning while I was enjoying my cup of coffee I was shocked by a post that appeared in my Facebook feed.  This post claimed that a mom was sentenced to prison after multiple citations for breastfeeding in public.  Quickly, I clicked over and read the article.  I read about a  woman that had been sentenced to 7 years for breastfeeding her child in public.  Sentenced to prison for meeting her child’s needs while watching her other three children play at the park.  Aren’t there breastfeeding laws preventing this from happening?

In an instant I shared the post on my personal Facebook page and added my feelings about the situation.

She could serve more time for feeding her baby than a man who raped an unconscious woman. This is SO wrong.

During my second cup of coffee my shock turned to outrage.  A friend from my past commented on my post with one word….good.  Good?!?  What the hell?  How can anyone think that sending a mom to prison for breastfeeding her child in public is good?  Does she think I deserve to spend time in jail?

Breastfeeding Laws

Her comment got to me, I allowed it to really upset me.  When I asked for clarification on her comment,  making sure that she thought it was good that this mom was sent to prison for feeding  her child in public, she confirmed.

Sorry Angela, but I don’t like to see women doing this in public. It makes me a little sick to my stomach & uncomfortable. I’m not a Mother & don’t have a strong maternal feelings & not saying the way I feel is right, but that is the way I feel & I say good as she was warned & just thumbed her nose at the citations &/or law against doing this in public. She looks like a total trash bag. Sorry to see she even has a baby.

It was so hard for me to understand how something so natural can make a person sick to their stomach.  I appreciate that she does say that her feelings may not be right, if she is aware of that maybe she should explore WHY she feels this way.  It is very hard for me to understand how someone can be so judgemental?  How awful to say that a mother should not have a baby based on her appearance?  It was all just wrong to me.

There was no debate between her and I because I chose not to engage.  I know her well enough to know that I would never change her mind and it wasn’t’ worth my time or energy to attempt to.  She would have enjoyed the debate I feel and I would have been left frustrated.

After a bit of research I quickly discovered that the story I shared was untrue.  I was relieved that the story was false and exhaled a deep breath knowing that a mom wasn’t being sent to prison for 7 years for breastfeeding in public.  Yes, I was relieved but still very bothered at the thought that someone could think that this would be okay.  I was deeply saddened that a person stated that seeing a mom breastfeeding her child made them sick to their stomach.

So I came here, to my safe place, to vent my frustrations, share my experience, and point out the breastfeeding laws in the states.

My Breastfeeding Experience

You may not know me so I should probably share my breastfeeding experience.  I have three children and breastfed consistently for 10 years.  I breastfed in public frequently without a cover.  I am a busy homeschooling mom who is on the go.  When my child needed to nurse, for whatever reason, I meet their need.

Breastfeeding is natural and it is difficult for me to understand why people cause a stink over seeing a bit of boob when there are boobs all around us!  Why is it gross or obscene when the boob is actually being used for what it is intended for?

Breastfeeding in Public

Nourishing a child is not gross, obscene, or lewd.  If it bothers you that is YOUR problem and you need to dig deep and possibly seek assistance to understand WHY it bothers you.

Breastfeeding Laws in the States

Breastfeeding Laws

Laws in the US protect women in almost all 50 states.  47 states have laws that specifically allow mothers to breastfeed in public or private locations. D.C. and the Virgin Islands allow it as well.  South Dakota and Virginia from nudity or public indecency laws.  The only law that Idaho has regarding breastfeeding is jury duty exemption.  Idaho, you need to work on that.

I encourage moms to breastfeed while out and about in attempts to normalize breastfeeding.   I understand and respect women who are more comfortable covering up or breastfeeding at home, I support all mamas!  It just makes me sad to know that women feel shamed or embarrassed and choose not to breastfeed while out and about.  Breastfeeding in public should be an option that comes without shame or judgement.

Breastfeeding in Public Laws by State
photo credit: Huffington Post

 

I am so grateful to be surrounded by like-minded people.  I have more people around me that think breastfeeding is awesome than the critic I encountered today.

Breastfeeding mamas you have rights, know them.  Mamas..breastfeeding, supplementing, formula feeding..I support you all.

To see more of my natural parenting posts please click here.

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4 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Laws: Breastfeeding Mom Arrested?

  1. Theresa says:

    I am a mother of 7 and I breast fed all but one of my children. I loved breastfeeding for many reasons, but that being said, I do not think it appropriate to breast feed in public when not covered. By covered I mean, your clothing covering what your baby doesn’t cover. I believe in modesty. And although breastfeeding is natural, so is having sex and using the restroom, yet we don’t do these publicly. I have been with my husband in public and come upon a woman nursing her baby with her full, round breast fully exposed and it made both of us uncomfortable, just as it would had she been wearing revealing clothing. Like it or not, breasts are not only for feeding our young. They are a part of producing them as well. I believe in the right to nurse in public as long as you are sensitive to others and practice modesty. I also believe that public places should offer a safe and comfortable place to nurse when possible.

    • Angela says:

      Hi Theresa, it is so awesome that you breastfed six of your seven children…wow! I can respect your decision to cover up while breastfeeding in public and wish that you would respect women’s choice to not fully cover. It isn’t hard to simply look the other way if it makes you feel uncomfortable in my opinion
      Comparing breastfeeding in public to having sex or defecating in public is ridiculous.
      There is a great chart that you may want to check out over at the leaky boob that compares several situations that you mentioned: http://theleakyboob.com/2012/01/exploring-the-body-fluids-debate-about-breastfeeding-in-public/
      Public places do provide a comfortable place to nurse, anywhere in it. I have comfortably nursed in a restaurant at the table and at the zoo on a bench. The most uncomfortable place I ever nursed at was a broom closet.

  2. Christina M Keshishian says:

    It’s so funny the hang ups that people have about nursing a human mammal from a human breast. Many claim it’s due to the sexual nature of the breast in general, but it has more to do with the fact that breast exposure is not normalized in our society. For example, mouths like breasts, have a foremost role in survival and are used for nourishment. I find it hard to believe that I am the only person who uses my mouth for sexual purposes, yet nobody has an issue looking at anybody’s mouth. I mean, think about what mouths do in private and then tell me a breastfeeding baby offends you. lol! Our mouths are exposed all day long, we eat with our mouths just like mothers feed with their breasts. Unlike sex, eating is not a discreet activity. There is no comparison between sex and breastfeeding, just as there is no comparison between watching someone chow down a hamburger and sex. They are two very different activities that use the same body parts. I think these folks who are made so uncomfortable by a mother nursing her child need to take a good hard look at why they think the way they do, because it is not natural. This shame they carry is a learned behavior, and I hope they have the emotional intelligence to rise above it for the greater good.

  3. I’m not a mother but would absolutely defend someone’s right to breastfeed in public. It’s no different than handing your child a banana or feeding them with a spoon. The kid needs to eat. Please, by whatever means works best for you, feed the child!

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