Update: Georgia nursing ban for older infants

on Jun 07, 2011 in News from Around the World

Way to go Forrest Park!  Age limit lifted on public breastfeeding.

About three hundred woman and children staged a "Nurse In" on  May 23 at the Forest Park City Hall. Here, Grace Campbell, 2, sits with a sign saying  "We Eat At Mom's."

Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com About three hundred woman and children staged a “Nurse In” on May 23 at the Forest Park City Hall. Here, Grace Campbell, 2, sits with a sign saying “We Eat At Mom’s.”

The city council voted Monday night to amend the public indecency ordinance that banned public breast-feeding of children over the age of 2, Channel 2 Action News reports. The new ordinance drops the age limit, allowing mothers to nurse their children for as long as they wish.

City leaders told Channel 2 that the ordinance was changed as a result of the public’s reaction.

More than 300 breast-feeding women and their supporters participated in a “nurse-in” May 23 in front of the Forest Park City Hall to protest the new law.

Protest organizers, some calling themselves “lactivists,” said the law interfered with letting the child determine when he or she will stop nursing.

City attorney Robert Mack Jr. previously said the ordinance was aimed at public nudity and not breast-feeding.

Updated June 9

Source www.ajc.com

 http://athens.patch.com/articles/will-breastfeeding-become-a-crime

One local Athens mom, Natasha Cummings, made the trip to Forest Park . The issue is near and dear to her heart because she still nurses her almost three-year-old son Emmet. She is not alone in her goal to continue nursing her son. The The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

Cummings is well aware of the social stigmas that can come with extended nursing. She feels strongly that as a parent, she has every right to  do so, and she does not appreciate City Council members challenging that right. 

“The assumption they were making is that nursing up to two is okay, but beyond that is odd, weird, creepy…” Cummings said. “Mothers who nurse their children beyond what is the social norm don’t want to make people uncomfortable. They just want to rear their children as they see fit.”

The original ordinance was passed to deal with strip clubs, and the nudity exemption was for breastfeeding mothers. The city created a breastfeeding exemption for mothers with children up to age two.  

Extended nursing is a controversial topic that could be made more acceptable with the right kind of consideration. Events like the nurse-in that took place last week could be a step in the right direction. Cummings says,  “I think first it takes real mothers nursing real children in public, without incident.” Hopefully, the bare-breasted moms that took on city hall will inspire change. A meeting to address the issue is scheduled for June 6, 2011.

If not, many breastfeeding ladies are prepared to take legal action. Cummings said several mothers contacted attorneys, who told Forest Park officials they will sue if the law isn’t changed.  The same group of moms will be attending the City Council meeting on June 6. 

Are you a breastfeeding mom who feel impassioned about this issue? Would you ever attend a nurse-in? Are you non-nursing citizen who feels uncomfortable with public nursing for toddlers over the age of 2? Please share your experiences and opinions in the comments.

The City Council members of Forest Park, Georgia, angered nursing moms when they passed an ordinance banning public breast feeding for children over the age of two. Over 200 irate moms armed with hungry toddlers, snacks, sippy cups, strollers, blankets, and exposed breasts, when nursing, camped out in front of City Hall to protest.

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