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Should Women be Able to Breastfeed in Public?

Doylestown is considering a breastfeeding ordinance to protect the rights of women to breastfeed in public.

In Pennsylvania, women have the legal right to breastfeed in public. But just because it is a state law doesn't mean that all businesses are aware of the law or uphold it.

To ensure businesses don't infringe on a woman's right to breastfeed, many places—including Doylestown—are drafting ordinances to protect this right.

At a meeting on Monday, July 16, Doylestown Borough Council president Det Ansinn asked his colleagues to look into drafting an ordinance that would make it illegal for Doylestown businesses to infringe on a woman's right to breastfeed.

"We want to protect women who breastfeed their children in town," Ansinn said. "It’s a public health issue. [Breastfeeding] is permitted by law, and we want to make sure that our businesses and public places are following the law."

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 45 states have laws specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are among them.

In April, one northwestern city took those protections a step farther. The city of  Seattle passed an ordinance making it illegal for a business to ask a mother to leave or to cover herself or the baby while feeding.

And the new federal healthcare legislation enacted protections for employees who need to pump breast milk for their babies. The new law requires that businesses and institutions provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."

Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll and commenting below.

Kathleen July 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Public breastfeeding may be legal; it doesn't make it acceptable to those of us who are offended by women baring their breasts in public. On Det Ansinn, I totally, 100% agree. Surely we can do better selecting those who are paid by our tax dollars.
Pete Krenshaw July 19, 2012 at 02:59 PM
It does surprise me that some women are not as modest as others as far as "covering up" when breastfeeding.
Pamela July 19, 2012 at 03:17 PM
As you see from the comments this is not an issue that ,just because it is law, everyone accepts it. There are many owners that will ask a woman to "cover up" or leave if the other customers are uncomfortable, regardless of law. It is a matter of making the customer happy. Personally, I breastfed my children. It was better for them and cheaper. HOWEVER I have a big problem with women who can not be polite and considerate of others by throwing something over their shoulder to "cover up" while in public. Yes, it is natural , however I don't need my teenage boy seeing your boobs. I also don't want to see a child who is old enough to drink out of a cup walking up to you and asking for drink, while you whip one out from under your shirt. This is not Europe, this is America and there are certain culture differences that one has to respect.
Kathleen July 19, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Pamela, you said it best. I wouldn't argue with one point you made.
Λάρισα July 19, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Yes, covering up while breastfeeding is ideal. As a breastfeeding mother, I myself covered up in public so no one would see my breasts. There are theme parks, such as Knoebel's, that have provided specified stations for breastfeeding mothers.. Kudos to them! However, a woman should not be asked to leave or approached if she is modestly breastfeeding her child. I agree with many who posted.. If you see an issue with the act, turn your head.
Lavender Green July 19, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Although breast feeding a baby is a very natural thing I do believe some provisions should be made out in public, like go to the restroom and do it, yes there are a lot of restaurants that do not have chairs or anything to sit on, that actually is the problem, a public place should make it easier for a mother to nurse in the privacy of the ladies room so not to upset other guests. But there are some who are going to protest this and say, but its natural, yes so is going to the bathroom and that too is something that should not be done in public
CyD252 July 20, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I support breastfeeding in public, because a baby being breastfed in public is a baby that's not crying in public. And I'm good with that.
Lavender Green July 20, 2012 at 01:37 PM
There is a time and place for everything and yes i agree a baby not crying is a wonderful thing however some people (and it actually does not bother me) have issues with this and for sanitary reasons and just sheer respect of ones self one should in a public place, unless there is no other way, go into the restroom. Or better yet why dont the mother ask people if its going to be an issue. We dont live in the stone age and most places will work with you
CyD252 July 20, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Lavender - Are you really suggesting that one should feed a baby in a public restroom ... "for sanitary reasons?"
Lavender Green July 20, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I am saying that more places with public restrooms should make provisions for mothers to feed their children, to make it safe and comfortable for them, its not only nursing its also for those who would say have to have insulin, I think that mothers should want the privacy not want to just sit in public and do it, its common courtesy, but honestly people need to do what they need to do, just my opinion
Pamela July 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Everyone agree that breastfeeding is natural and a right. However the problem is that those who are most vocal, are the ones that refuse to cover up and be modest about it in public. It is what my mother called "a lack of consideration and manners". It may be a right to breastfeed, however it is also a right to not have to see it in public. Most people don't have a problem with the breastfeeding, it is the inconsiderate manner in which they opening display their body parts for everyone to see. Not everyone is comfortable with seeing a woman's naked boob while eating their dinner or walking with their children. Your rights should not walk over someone else's right. We should not have to turn our heads while eating. You should cover up in public and be considerate of others.
CyD252 July 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM
There are many things which I'd rather not see in public. Especially when it comes to people of a certain physique wearing specific styles of summer-wear or beach-wear. Should these people also be legally required to "cover-up?" Or should I be expected to "turn my head?"
Pamela July 23, 2012 at 02:08 PM
actually I much prefer to stare and comment. "Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should" or "Just because it's in your size, doesn't mean you should wear it" and I do believe summer wear and beach wear is still covering your private parts, and if it isn't there are ordinances already written on what is acceptable....
CyD252 July 23, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Fair enough... It sounds like you're willing to cut questionably-attired plus-size people some slack. But you're not willing to extend similar tolerance to a far-less-common situation that actually serves a productive purpose? Yes - if a restaurant or a store offers facilities specifically for breastfeeding mothers (facilities that don't double as a place where people crap) - that's great. But such facilities are very rare.
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Jakki Price March 15, 2014 at 04:50 PM
Breast feeding in public ? When my boys were babie's I didnt know you couldn't breast feed in public.......LOL The're babys for god's sake.. thye need to eat....
Kevin March 16, 2014 at 09:01 AM
Then do it in a private place!I am sick of all you holier than thou breast feeders who seem to think its a "I am woman,hear me roar"deal. Have some modesty,for heavens sake.You don't have the right to be parading your titties out in public.
CyD252 March 16, 2014 at 09:35 AM
Kevin - Do *you* have the right to walk around shirtless in public? To (as you so succinctly put it) "parade your titties out in public?"
Kevin March 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM
No I don't have the right,Plato,and if a woman does it she will be arrested for public indecency.You all think you are so hip,and above common sense.Have some respect for the rest of us who don't appreciate you making a show of yourself with all the earth mother b.s. Grandstanding,self absorbed.
CyD252 March 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Actually, Kevin - you do have that right. If you wish to display your pectorals (or moobs, depending on your physique), in public, you have that legal right. In this state, women do not. Elsewhere, such as New York City, both women and men are free to walk around topless if they choose. By contrast, the partial exposure of a woman's breasts in the context of breastfeeding is tame. And as a bonus, you don't have to listen to the sound of a crying baby, which I consider far more obtrusive than the sight of a breastfeeding woman.
Kevin March 16, 2014 at 01:42 PM
Not true Socrates.There are many,many places that I cannot walk into shirtless.Deli's,supermarkets,banks;you name it,but a woman should just be allowed to whip out a boob,uncovered and suckle a baby?As far as I'm concerned that's sexual harrassment.Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.Do it behind closed doors.Go pull the earth mother bit elsewhere.Where has all the modesty gone in this country?
Λάρισα March 16, 2014 at 01:51 PM
Lol. Kevin, you're a jackwad.
Kevin March 16, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Keep your saggy tits in your shirt,lady.And what the hell kind of name is that?Go back to whatever country you came from.
Kevin March 16, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Judging from your picture,I'll bet its been awhile since someones had a lip lock on those jugs.
Λάρισα March 16, 2014 at 02:55 PM
Hahahaha. It's Greek. And I see you like my Halloween makeup. It's a day of the dead skull. Aww, so ignorant, Kevin. :)
CyD252 March 16, 2014 at 03:37 PM
Let me make sure I understand... A woman, breastfeeding her child, constitutes sexual harassment against you? You must be terribly repressed.
Kevin March 16, 2014 at 04:52 PM
Im asking you cyd252.Arent you p.c. types the ones who come up with all the harassment rules? By your logic any man could expose his penis and urinate in public.Its a natural thing to do,no?
Λάρισα March 16, 2014 at 05:15 PM
There's a huge difference between eating in public and urinating/defecating in public. Kevin, if you don't want to see a baby eat in public, please do not eat anywhere outside of the confines of your home. Plain and simple. =) I covered my child when I breastfed because I didn't want skeevy perverts like yourself checking out my breasts, but my baby still ate wherever and whenever he felt like it. And any child I have from here on out will do the same. Oh and, there's not a thing you can do to change that. Ho-hum!
CyD252 March 16, 2014 at 08:18 PM
Kevin - In the examples you provide, you are either engaging in an action that is completely self-serving (sexual exposure), or you are engaging in an action that leaves behind noxious, malodorous waste (public urination). As such, neither of these are acceptable. If I do not wish to see a nearby woman breastfeeding, I am free to look away. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law agrees.
Lavender Green March 17, 2014 at 09:33 AM
While I am completely for people having rights and believe me I think everyone should be treated fairly, I just wonder why anyone would actually want to sit in a public place and nurse their child! Not that it is not natural because it is, but so are other things that are not legal to do in public. I say if your going to pass laws such as this why not pass laws for equality in and to all, don't discriminate. Of course then there is the fact that a woman can show her breasts to feed her child and it be ok but a woman who is a dancer in a bar showing her other assets is looked down upon, ever think she is doing this to feed her kids? I say except all or keep your boobs in your blouse!

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