Monday, July 12, 2010

Tennessee State Breastfeeding Law Directly Refutes WHO and AAP

Please join me in writing to the TN state reps regarding a breastfeeding law that is outrageous! Feel free to personalize my letter below to your own situation.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I am writing to contact all of you today about the breastfeeding law in Tennessee.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006) permits a mother to breastfeed an infant 12 months or younger in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding. Specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901. (HB 3582)
Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-305 (1999) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (SB 1856)
I applaud your efforts to protect the rights of mothers to feed their children as God and nature intended. I am currently breastfeeding my 32 month old son. I am very disappointed to see that the law that has been passed in our state discriminates against the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in a location where she otherwise has a place to be because that child has passed his first birthday. The exact portion of the law that I am referring to states:

"A mother has a right to breastfeed her child who is twelve (12) months of age or younger in any location, public or private, where themother and child are otherwise authorized to be present."

I feel that this age limitation is arbitrary and contradictory to the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, theAmerican Academy of Family Physicians and the World Health Organization.

"Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth. Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. Gradual introduction of iron-enriched solid foods in the second half of the first year should complement the breast milk diet. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired."

"The AAFP recommends that all babies, with rare exceptions, be breastfed and/or receive expressed human milk exclusively for about the first six months of life. Breastfeeding should continue with the addition of complementary foods throughout the second half of the first year. Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired."
American Academy of Family Physicians Policy Statement

"As a global goal for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition, all women should be enabled to practice exclusive breastfeeding and all infants should be fed exclusively on breastmilk from birth to four to six months of age. Thereafter, children should continue to be breastfed, while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods, for up to two years of age or beyond. This child-feeding ideal is to be achieved by creating an appropriate environment of awareness and support so that women can breastfeed in this manner."
World Health Organization, The WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

I cannot find enough words to voice my displeasure at the direct refusal made by the state of Tennessee to protect the rights of a breastfeeding mother simply because her baby has passed her first birthday. The notion that babies should not be breastfed past one year is one that has been pushed by formula companies because most formula fed babies are switched to cow's milk at one year of age.
Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, is a strong advocate for breastfeeding. With her "Let's Move!" campaign, she hopes to eliminate obesity within a generation by promoting breastfeeding and healthy food choices to children. While obesity is a raging problem in Tennessee, ranking second in obesity rates of the United States, shouldn't we condone, not admonish, mothers who are feeding their children breastmilk which combats childhood obesity?
I am making a plea to all of you to correct this law to protect the rights of all breastfeeding mothers, regardless of the age of her baby. I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter. With an abundance of research in favor of breastfeeding beyond the 12 month mark, please revisit this law to aid in encouragement for mother's to continue nourishing her child without the discouragement from a law such as this, which is in direct opposition from national and world organization as listed above. Just because a baby passes the 12 month mark does not mean that he will not require to nurse any less than a child younger than him.

Thank you for your time and effort into this matter.


1 comment:

Monica said...

I am a breast feeding mother to a 20 month old. Thank you for this, and I have emailed all of our representatives.