To the editor:
Imagine you are about to mix your child's formula into their bottle when you are approached by store personnel and told to feed your baby in the public restroom.
This scenario would never happen to a mother prepping to formula feed her child, so why does it happen to a breastfeeding mother?
There are countless stories in the media where this scenario has happened whether it is in a restaurant, department store, school, or office building and we need to put a stop to it!
House Bill 4733 would make it illegal for a public establishment to make a woman unwelcome, unacceptable or undesirable because she is breastfeeding a child. It would also make it illegal for signs, advertisements, notices or other published statements refusing or denying a woman from a place because she is breastfeeding a child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has continually endorsed breastfeeding as the best form of nutrition for infants.
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Both mother and infant benefit from breastfeeding, showing improvement in infant and maternal health.
Too often breastfeeding is seen as a lifestyle choice rather than an important part of a women's reproductive right.
Michigan is one of 28 states that currently have a law to protect a mother from being charged with indecent exposure if breastfeeding in public. This does not however protect them from discrimination as covered in the Civil Rights Act.
It is not illegal to breastfeed in public but if someone wants to ask the mother to leave, she has no legal protection.
House Bill 4733 is currently in Committee on Judiciary awaiting a vote to be placed on the House of Representatives agenda for the Fall of 2013. During World Breastfeeding Awareness Week from August 1-7, 2013 and Michigan's month-long Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August please take a stand for Michigan's mothers and children and contact your legislator or Judiciary chairperson Representative Tom Cotter at house.mi.gov/home.asp.
Jayne A.K. Fredrick