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City of Toronto Stands Up For Breastfeeding Women

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Apparently the United States isn't the only place where women run into problems nursing in public. The Toronto Star reports that some northers in the Canadian city of Toronto have experienced some problems breastfeeding in public. As such, the Toronto Public Health commission is urging the city's health department to create a new policy that more clearly defines the rights of a woman to nurse her child in a public location.

The issue of women breastfeeding in public has at times stirred controversy, with occasional instances of mothers breastfeeding in restaurants, movie theatres or parks being asked to stop.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission says nursing mothers have legal rights.

Its policy states, in part, "You have the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from nursing your child simply because you are in a public area.

"They should not ask you to `cover up,' disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more `discreet.'"

To note, the Star is also asking for input from the public on the issue of nursing in public. If you'd like to share your two cents, you can use their online form to share your comments.

Here's what I sent...

It never ceases to amaze me that some people have a problem with children eating in a public place.

I think it's very easy for some people to claim that a mother "shouldn't" do this or that. (A mother "shouldn't" breastfeed in public, a mother "shouldn't" breastfeed without covering up, and so on.)

If they'd take the time to stop looking at it from that perspective and to start realize that what they are ACTUALLY saying is that a child doesn't have the right to eat in public or the right to eat without a blanket over their heads, they might realize how silly they sound.

This isn't a mother's rights issue, it's a child's rights issue.

In other words, it's not about my right to breastfeed, it's about my child's right to eat.

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  1. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:52 PM |  

    right on, i never thought about it that way and i'm now breastfeeding my second child.

  2. Blogger erin | 9:56 AM |  

    This is a copy of what I just sent to the star :)
    "As the daughter of a woman who chose to breastfeed all four of her daughters I have always been aware of how intolerant our society is towards nursing moms. The fact is that the way adults view a woman's breast (in a sexual context) infringes upon the right of a child to nurse whenever needed (as nature intended). That, to me, is appalling.
    If breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, don't do it and shut up about it. Put a blanket over your own head. We don't ask cows or dogs or horses to cover up THEIR udders--why should we deny human babies the rights that any animal baby is granted without question? "

  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 12:39 PM |  

    On Saturday September 29th, 2007 between 10am and 2 pm, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine ( the site of the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute), will be holding a Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge. We would like as many breastfeeding mothers and children to attend this event to highlight the importance of breastfeeding for a healthier Canada and the need for support in the community.We are planning to hold a Charity Sale at the same time and will have displays, refreshments and supportive services. Dr. Jack Newman will be speaking during the event.
    We are asking all those involved in supporting breastfeeding to contact as many mothers as possible to attend.
    If you should need any further information, please contact me at jeankouba@cogeco.ca
    Thankyou in advance for your support.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous | 11:59 AM |  

    What about a middle school teacher who:

    1. Brings out a breast in front of 13 yr. old boys during a required after-school detention to breastfeed without a blanket while she's supervising the detention?

    2. Brings out the uncovered breast at the end of a staff meeting in front of 40+ teachers in the library?

    3. Does it again at a professional workshop luncheon in a restaurant seated at a table with male and female colleagues, upsetting other patrons, etc., especially when the baby "wouldn't take" so she had to play with the nipple on the baby's face?

    4. Does it every day in the teacher's staff room so that other teachers who don't feel like gazing at her completely exposed breast are forced to eat elsewhere? The staff room is supposed to be haven for *all* staff, not a room designated to tend to *any* personal family needs.

    5. Has baby on one side, and toddler on the other side helping himself with fishing Mommy's breast out of her bra? At the school workplace?

    In the case above, (a) the teacher has frequently been unavailable to tend to her assigned work duties due to the breastfeeding, and (b) has repeatedly engaged in behavior in exposing body parts that would have students suspended from school. What are we saying? If our 8th girls who have gotten pregnant want to expose their breasts, they can, but they have to wait until they get pregnant before showing off? Until then, they have to follow the dress code?

  5. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:56 AM |  

    I couldn't care less about the fact that she's breastfeeding in front of people, kids, teens, males, females, whatever.

    It's a breast, it's for feeding a baby. It's really not that big of a deal.

    My issue would be why she has her baby in detention, in the teacher's lounge and at functions where she's supposed to be working. I would be upset if she had a baby she was bottlefeeding in those situations. They just aren't appropriate times and places to care for a child.

    The fact that she's breastfeeding has nothing to do with it, IMO.

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