A story in the local daily paper this morning dealt with breast-feeding in public, and West Virginia's proposed Child's Right to Nurse Act, the recent breast-feeding bill introduced in the state Legislature after a woman who was nursing her child at the Charleston Civic Center was asked to move to the bathroom because passers-by were offended.
Several points need to be made on this issue:
First, it's a well-known fact that breast milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants. We should not discourage mothers from giving their babies the most nutritional form of baby food.
Second, breast-feeding is a natural process, and is not indecent, and people should not be offended by the sight of a mother breast-feeding her baby.
Third, children do not have a “right to nurse,” and they don’t need one.
Fourth, we do not need a law to make it legal to breast-feed infants in public. In West Virginia, the Legislature has a host of truly serious problems to address, and breast-feeding isn’t one of them.
Fifth, breast-feeding is a personal matter, and should not be flaunted. Breast-feeding mothers should not be forced into restrooms or other such places, but they should exercise modesty and judgment when breast-feeding. They need to be careful, thoughtful and considerate about where, when and how they feed their baby.
Sixth, breast pumps allow mother’s milk to be collected and saved for later. Why not use one and avoid having to breast-feed the baby in public, at least sometimes?
The coordinator of the West Virginia WIC program made a pretty good point when she said, "Personally, I don't see what the problem is. People walk around every day wearing vulgarity on their clothing and watch it on television, then we take a beautiful thing like nursing and act like it's obscene. The majority of mothers who do it, do it discretely, so there shouldn't be an issue."
And, if mothers do indeed “do it discretely” people ought to shut up and leave them alone.