Law Could Make Breastfeeding for 2 Years Mandatory for All Moms

breastfeedingRemember when Gisele Bundchen declared that there ought to be a law forcing all moms to breastfeed? Well, in one country that might actually happen. Lawmakers could pass a bill that would require new mothers to breastfeed their babies for two years, the amount of time recommended by the World Health Organization.

The mandatory breastfeeding law is part of a new, comprehensive Child's Rights Law being debated in the United Arab Emirates. Lawmakers say it's a mother's duty to breastfeed -- and it's the baby's right. They're pointing out the same health and developmental benefits American breastfeeding advocates do. But isn't making breastfeeding a law going too far?

In case you were wondering about women who can't breastfeed, they thought of that. Those women would be provided with a wet nurse. I don't know how they would decide if you've given it enough of a try, though. That could get interesting. And if you choose not to breastfeed? Your husband could sue you. Yeech!

Even members of La Leche League think the law is too much. Member Claire Bakker says breastfeeding is a personal experience: "This relationship and bond cannot be legislated." Quite right.

Okay. So. I will give the lawmakers this -- I agree with their priorities, at least. I think we share some values here, the importance of parent-baby bonding and nutrition. But taking away women's choice in the matter? That's way too intrusive. And it doesn't seem very modern, either.

How are they going to deal with breastfeeding in public? I mean, good luck imposing this breastfeeding law if you're not going to also support that. What, are women supposed to just stay home for the entire two years? LONGER if they have more than one child, as they probably would? That ain't gonna work. I wonder if they've thought that one through. The United Arab Emirates isn't Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, but women are generally expected to cover up quite a bit there. 

I feel like I say this all the time, but if we really want to encourage breastfeeding, we have to think about support. Not coercion, not punishments, not criticism. What are the barriers to women breastfeeding? Let's tear them down and make sure every woman who wants to breastfeeding can. That's where it should start.

What do you think of making breastfeeding a law?


Image via Caitlin Regan/Flickr



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nonmember avatar Eh

I don't think this is the right answer. There's plenty of reasons for a mother to choose formula that really don't concern anyone except mom, her dr and the babies dr. I do think formula should be by prescription only- simply to see that moms have a better chance at education and support. It would also open doors for more insurance coverage of formula. Doctors could easily give a 6 month or 1yr prescription if they decide on formula, seems pretty simple in my mind.

April... AprilJune

This is so wrong. I personally think breastfeeding is the best choice, but it is a CHOICE. And just because it's the best one for me, doesn't mean it works for everyone. This law takes away the choice, and that is a giant step backward for women and moms everywhere.

Also- how are they going to "provide" a wet nurse. Is the government going to pay for that? How are they going to make sure these wet nurses don't have communcable diseases? Some diseases don't show up in blood work for months after infetion (HIV, for example).

This just seems like an impossible many problems in the way it treats women and famiies, and logistically.

Robin Connor

I hope there's some wiggle room for those who can't freaking produce any or enough. I didnt lactate for two weeks after my son was born and even then I wasnt producing enough.

Laura Walteros

This is ridiculous. Breastfeeding should be a choice. If they start regulating that, what's next? Regulating candy for kids? providing strict diets for all ages? An approved list of ingredients? All mothers are different. Whether or not they have enough milk to feed their children, or even whether they are willing to breastfeed their children is none of the government's business.

pregn... pregnantmama105

my dd burning more then she takes in from me. even adding a supplement. so im just suppose to let another woman nurse my child. or get sue. fuck that is not right. and is gong too far. what if the child doesn't want to nurse to a yr. the mother should be punished for not forcing her child to nurse to two?

Katelyn Danielle Vaughn

this is bs sorry but every mom should have the choice of what to do with there own kids and own boobs now your going to have moms stressing about it not knowing if they produce enough milk or any at all or if its any count so maybe you should make a law about something more needing then getting up in (US MOMS business) WE WENT THROUGH THE NINE MONTHS PREGNANT THE LABOR CONTRACTIONS AND ALL THE STUFF THAT COMES WITH BEING PREGNANT SO WE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE HOW AND WHAT WE FEED OUR CHILD AS LONG AS WERE NOT ABUSING THEM SO BUT OUT

the4m... the4mutts

Simple answer. No explanation needed. No.

Rhodin Rhodin

The government in question is the UAE.  It's an oil-rich, middle eastern nation.  They have the money to provide the wet nurses AND give them checkups beforehand

nonmember avatar mandi

I totally agree with increased support and taking away barriers to BF. A law requiring it is rediculous!

nonmember avatar Stephanie

Breastfeeding shouldn't be a law because it's common effing sense. Formula should only be available by prescription in cases where it's absolutely necessary. I breastfed my first daughter until 2.5 and my second is still, at 1.5. 2ish is a good age to be mandatory, but sometimes babies will want to wean earlier and there's nothing you can do about it. Instead of making breastfeeding a law, why not just make the formula a prescription and require all women to watch a short video about breastfeeding before they deliver, say, at the docs office or wherever they are seeking care. We can do more. People who use formula without even trying to breastfeed disgust me. People who say they "can't even though they tried" are just not educated about it enough.

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