I note that you have signed Early Day Motion 1886 about
Breastfeeding in Public.
While I applaud your support for mothers feeding their infants, I feel
very strongly that this proposed law does not go far enough.
As I am sure you know, the WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively
until 6 months, and then mixed breastfeeding and solid foods until at
least two years old. What precisely is proposed in this Early Day
Motion for babies and small children over the 6 month limit?
Putting the age limit on tends to lend validity to the prurience with
which women's breasts being used for their naturally intended purpose
is viewed in this country. Women whose breastfeeding children are over
six months, or appear to be, will be at increased risk of being
challenged, bullied, and asked to leave public places, since the law,
if it passes, will clearly state that breastfeeding in public is only
alright up to this magic limit.
Before you contribute to the house of commons debate on this matter, I
would urge you to get in touch with breastfeeding women in your
constituency - La Leche League or NCT coffee mornings are the most
obvious place - and consult breastfeeding women about this. I believe
you will find that they would prefer no law to a law with an age limit,
and that they would prefer a law with no age limit to no law at all
[Parliament could always just lift the Scottish wording...]. Further,
just because weaning begins at 6 months doesn't mean that babies show
very much interest in solid food for a long time after that;
exclusively breastfed babies will often have absolutely NOTHING to do
with a bottle either of expressed breast milk or of formula; and few
mothers find it preferable to deny a screaming baby or child breastmilk
just because they are not safely behind closed doors.
As it stands, this early day motion really isn't going to do any
favours to the people for whose benefit it seems to have been drafted.
Inspired by this petition http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/breastfedright/