Extended Breastfeeding Ban Makes Me Even More Uncomfortable Than Extended Breastfeeding

Julie Ryan Evans
24

breastfeedingAdmittedly, extended breastfeeding makes me a bit uncomfortable. I know it shouldn't, but it does, and I could NEVER imagine nursing my daughter who's 2. I have friends who breastfeed toddlers more than half my size (I'm not all that tall, but still), and I support and admire them for their dedication and commitment. Still, I can't say it's not a bit unsettling to me to think of doing so myself.

But those are MY issues to deal with, and those women who choose extended breastfeeding, well, those are THEIR children for whom they’re responsible for nourishing. NO ONE should be able to tell them they can't feed their babies whenever and wherever they want. Yet in Georgia, they are.

In Forest Park, a recently passed bill to prevent public nudity includes a ban on breastfeeding children over the age of 2 in public. That’s right, a woman nourishing her baby could be put in the same criminal camp as perverted flashers and such. No matter how you feel about extended breastfeeding, this is one of the most archaic, insulting laws to hit the books in awhile.

Most women I know who do practice extended breastfeeding never intended to. They started out thinking if they could just make it to 6 months, they’d be happy. Then their baby turned 1, and it was still working for them; somewhere along the way, they stopped worrying about the age of their child and just continued because it instinctively felt right. For lawmakers to try and take that right away makes me furious. And who decided on 2 as the magical age?

Also, really, how are they going to enforce it? It’s not like toddlers carry around driver’s licenses with their birth dates on them. Will big 1-year-olds get busted too?

The whole thing sends such an awful message to all the women out there who sit on the fence about breastfeeding for any length of time, and it highlights just how ridiculous some of society’s views toward this beautiful, natural process are -- perhaps some of my own included. But most of all it infringes on a mother’s right to choose what she believes is right for her child, and every woman should be outraged by that.

What do you think of this ban on extended breastfeeding in public?


Image via Tim & Selena Middleton/Flickr

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