I posted the other day on my Twitter and Facebook a question … "should I assimilate to American breastfeeding standards and order a "nursing cover" or two for this baby? I nursed Xander in Europe." I got some pretty interesting and even surprising answers back from my friends, family and followers!
I decided to look up the laws for breastfeeding in my home state of Virginia.
According to the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures); Virginia exempts breastfeeding from public indecency law, have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace and also exempts breastfeeding mothers from jury duty. Also, the state of Virginia allows women to breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state.
Here are some of the “legalese” versions:
Va. Code § 2.2-1147.1 (2002) guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on any property owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breastfeeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (HB 1264)
Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-341.1 (2005) provides that a mother who is breastfeeding a child may be exempted from jury duty upon her request. The mother need not be "necessarily and personally responsible for a child or children 16 years of age or younger requiring continuous care during normal court hours." (2005 Chap. 195, HB 2708)
Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-387 (1994) exempts mothers engaged in breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws.
Va. House Joint Resolution 145 (2002) encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and appropriate space for employees to breastfeed or express milk.
But – none of the rules state that I have to have a nursing “cover-up” – so I wonder if that’s actually written into law. I know as far as “now” goes – it’s been ranging over 100 degrees here, so you would believe that if I were nursing a baby now there would be no “cover-up” since it’s hot as hell out there. But – this baby is due to make her appearance in November thus negating any “it’s freaking hot out” excuse.
Some of the responses to my original question included:
“Nah, a big crochet blanket works nicely”
“YES! Nursing is a beautiful gift one can give their child. Looking at ones boobs while doing it, not necessary”
“I never used one”
“I never used one except for when the in-laws visit”
“I used just a lightweight blanket”
“Lurkers can see more at the beach than they can from a nursing mom.”
I wont go into the possible breathing issues because that’s a debate in and of itself (like blankets restrict breathing, etc). I didn’t do the research so I’m not going into that here. I know that personally, when I was nursing Xander I couldn’t KEEP a blanket over his head because he would simply pull it off. I nursed everywhere in Spain and even in Germany and France (even on the flights around Europe and to and from the US) and had no issues. None. I even nursed while in Applebee’s here in the states with no cover up and no one said anything to me.
I’m not sure why I even asked people’s opinions on the matter since I’m just going to do what seems right for me anyway I guess – which most likely will be to use a light blanket to “latch on” and just remove it after that. Babies have the right to eat when they are hungry and people just need to get over the fact that boobs were created by God to feed offspring. They aren’t just “playthings” during sex.
I get more offended seeing girls with their boobs hanging out looking like whores than I ever have seeing a mother nurse her baby.
To quote both my friend and a Facebook group – “If you have a problem with it – put a blanket over YOUR head!”