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Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New York State Senator Liz Krueger introduced a "Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights" as Senate Bill S8511 yesterday. The proposed legislation draws upon "baby-friendly" recommendations from the World Health Organization, Best Hospital Practices and the New York State Rules and Regulations. Krueger explained that she wants to make sure even more is being done to not only protect a mother's right to nurse her child, but also "empowers and supports" new mothers as they seek to breastfeed their children.

"New York has been a leader in protecting a woman's right to breastfeed for decades. So, our goal should be to make mothers comfortable—not just protecting the rights of women who choose to breastfeed, but also supporting their decision and making sure they get responsible, medically-factual information," said Krueger.

Included in Krueger's Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights:

Before You Deliver:
* The right to information free from commercial interests, which provides the nutritional, medical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding; An explanation of some of the problems a mother may encounter, and how to avoid or solve them.
In the Maternal Healthcare Facility:
* The mothers' right for her baby to stay with her after delivery to facilitate beginning breastfeeding immediately; to insist the baby not receive bottle feeding; to be informed about and refuse any drugs that may dry up breast milk; 24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at any time.
When You Leave the Maternal Healthcare Facility:
* The right to refuse any gifts or take-home packets, distributed by the maternal healthcare facility, that contain commercial advertising or product samples; access to breastfeeding resources in one's community.

Here's the thing...I'm happy to see politicians making strides to help women breastfeed, but I read that "Bill of Rights" and I think "Wow, do we really have to make this a law?" I mean really...women already have the "right to refuse" any gifts or take home packets. Last time I checked, they didn't follow you to your car and shove it in the door as you left. You didn't have to agree to take it before the Ped would discharge your child. In other words...you can simply walk out the door and leave it sitting on the bed if you want.

Access to breastfeeding resources? Well again...isn't that already a "right" of breastfeeding moms? I mean sure it would be nice if hospitals sent you home with contact info for your local LLL leader and the names and numbers of some IBCLCs...but anyone with Internet access or a local library can find that out for themselves.

Now the first two obviously SHOULD be happening already, but are obviously not. As someone that had their own breastfeeding relationship tanked by hospital staff and forced separation, I really get why it's essential to get all hospitals on board with these two items.

I just find it so obnoxious that we even have to think about saying things like "mom must have 24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at any time." I mean I'm sorry, but I was under the impression that baby "belonged" to mom and dad, not to the hospital. The very idea that they could be DENIED access to their own child...well it's just infuriating.


  1. Anonymous Damien McKenna | 7:18 AM |  

    I think it'd be better for them to ban the active promotion of formula in hospitals, from the posters they have everywhere to the supplies they give you to the stupid branded medical equipment. When DS was born (emergency c-sec) we were sent home with several samples & supplies all paid for by the Enfamil people, which immediately went in the garbage.

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