Seattle considers new public breastfeeding legislation

POSTED: Friday, April 6, 2012 - 12:45pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 6, 2012 - 12:49pm

The city of Seattle is debating new legislation to protect nursing mothers from being asked to leave public establishments when breastfeeding. A new law would make it an act of discrimination to ask a mom to move or leave a location if they're breastfeeding.

Seattle City Council Member Bruce Harrell said the law could eliminate any stigma and encourage minority moms who statistically breastfeed less.

"If we change the cultural norms to where we realize it's so important in Seattle to have a healthy Seattle, then people will breastfeed in public areas. Then it begins the conversation as to why," stated Harrell.

As Harrell points out the health benefits for baby and mom are irrefutable.

And many moms can attest to the difficulties in doing what's best for their babies in a world that's not always so accepting.

"Who wants to feed their child in a bathroom stall? Would you bring your lunch to a bathroom stall," asked Leticia Brooks, a nursing mother.

"When you see a breastfeeding mom , you can thank her for breastfeeding her child," exclaimed Michele Sarju, Open Arms Prenatal Services.

John Schmidt a restaurant owner said sometimes women breastfeed in his restaurant and he's find with it.

But what if it bothers other patrons? Would he want a city law to protect them?

"I support the right of a mom to breastfeed her child. I have a problem with the city legislating how I run my business. And we want the ability to make the right decision for my entire client base. Not just one category," said Schmidt.

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