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Breastfeeding in Public: Menace to Society?

The area of law surrounding breastfeeding is an interesting one.  A few weeks ago while at a Brad Paisley Concert in California, a breastfeeding mother was asked to relocate by security at the concert.  The reasons cited were that the music was too loud and would hurt the child’s eardrums and the child was in danger of being trampled. The mother countered that she was being singled out due to her breastfeeding her child in public.
The law in Florida is quite clear, Florida Statute 383.015(1) states that:

A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.
However, there is no enforcement mechanism for breastfeeding mothers who are singled out to bring civil charges against their persecutors. There is also no guidance in Florida for employers and restaurants as to whether they can have special seating or areas so mother can breastfeed their children in comfort and privacy if they so choose.  

Florida voters need to bring these issues to the attention of their elected representatives so they may introduce an appropriate bill to amend this statute and provide guidance to employers and restaurants.  Perhaps lawmakers can look to California’s Civil Code Section 1030-1033 which requires employers to provide mothers with break times so they may breastfeed so long as it does not seriously disrupt business operations and employ reasonable efforts to provide mothers with a location so they may express milk in private.

Much work needs to be done to not only amend the law but also to improve the population’s awareness of the necessity and benefits breastfeeding provides to children.  So the next time you see a mother breastfeeding her child; do not ogle or ridicule her, but instead think about how you feel when you are starving and desperately need to eat something but for whatever reason cannot… now imagine you are just an infant…
For more information, please contact David Vega, Esq. at 305-461-4880.
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