On Monday evening, in a misguided effort to prevent public nudity, a new public indecency ordinance was passed in Forest Park, Georgia, a small city about 9 miles south of Atlanta. According to the new law, women cannot publicly breastfeed a child older than 2 years of age. City manager John Parker said of the law, “It sets up a process whereby we can try to control nudity throughout the entire city,” and called it a proactive step.
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Call me crazy, but I have a hard time equating breastfeeding in public with nudity or indecency. Regardless of whether or not a mom covers up while nursing in public (and let’s be real, here: that is nigh-impossible when breastfeeding an active toddler), I just don’t see how it’s possible to make the leap to nudity. I mean, I don’t know any moms who strip down naked to breastfeed, regardless of the venue, do you?
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And then there’s the matter of what medical organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) have to say about extended breastfeeding. For example, the WHO recommends breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond, and the AAP recommends that, “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first yearof life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by motherand child… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeedingandno evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeedinginto the third year of life or longer.” I think I’d rather take any medical advice regarding my kids and how I feed them from the WHO or the AAP, not the Forest Park City Council.
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And finally, I wonder just how Forest Park plans to enforce this new law. Must breastfeeding mothers carry a copy of their child’s birth certificate with them to prove that they are under the age of 2?
What do you think of this law banning public breastfeeding for kids over 2?