COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s something mother’s have been doing since the beginning of time yet it still causes controversy when done in public.
This week, American Airlines had to issue an apology to a breastfeeding mother who was asked to cover her baby by the airline stewardess. Forty-five states specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.
“I feel like the reason that we had to come up with laws for breastfeeding in public through our different states was because women felt like women were asked to leave in certain places. I think they wanted to be protected and let them know breastfeeding wasn’t something that needed to be done just at home,” says Paula Hamilton of the OCH Regional Med Center.
Medical research has shown that breastfeeding is most healthy for babies. Paula Hamilton, is a Perinatal Educator and says moms benefit from breastfeeding too.
“For mom, she is able to lose weight. It also decreases their chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer later in life,” says Hamilton.
Still, when women chose to breastfeed in public, some find it offensive. Mary Broussard is a restaurant owner in Columbus and she’s also a mother who chose to breastfeed her children, even while she worked.
“I breastfed both of my children. My sisters and babysitters brought my kids to the restaurant on my breaks for me to feed them. Of course, we did it in a private spot but I was an employee. I have no objection at all to customers feeding their children. Most ladies are very discrete about it,” says Broussard.
Mississippi state law specifies that a woman breastfeeding may not be considered an act of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, or disturbance of the public space.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 75 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth.