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Support for Scottish Pro Breastfeeding Legislation

(38 Posts)
Janeway Sun 25-Aug-02 21:40:49

Any mumsnetters (either scottish based, or regular/potential visitors)who wish write to support this proposed legislation should send their thoughts to the MSP supporting the bill -

Elaine.Smith.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

We can even hope that the Westminster parliament catches on too

Tissy Mon 26-Aug-02 08:14:09

Sounds a good thing, do you have more info on what they are proposing?

Janeway Mon 26-Aug-02 18:47:04

Look here for a newspaper article on the subject. Basically managers of public facilities (cafes etc) could be fined for refusing to let a woman b/f on their premises. It also covers feeding in parks and on public transport (beware Ryanair flights into Scotland?)

Eulalia Mon 26-Aug-02 20:56:43

What do you think of this article ...

Times Online

August 22, 2002

Rights for women and babies
An MSP wants to fine bars and cafes in Scotland that ban breastfeeding mothers

A LAW making breastfeeding a right in restaurants, bars and cafés is long overdue (report, August 20). I have breastfed three children for seven months each and understand how difficult it is to feed a baby in public places.
Restaurants and shops will usually direct you to the toilet to feed a baby, where you are forced to sit in a grubby cubicle usually with another toddler in a pushchair by the washbasins.
I believe it has a lot to do with the British attitude to breasts and breastfeeding — i.e. that breasts are solely sexual organs. When feeding my children in Ireland I have always been left to get on with it. Children are an accepted and welcomed part of society there and a feeding mother is regarded part of the natural order of things.
As a breastfeeding mother, I always wore loose fitting clothes and only the most determined voyeur would have been able to detect a feeding child under a billowing blouse. Hats off to Marks & Spencer, however: by them I have always been shown the utmost courtesy and offered a large changing-room in which to feed my baby. This, however, is a rare occurence. Generally, one is treated as if one is some sort of exhibitionist.
We are told to breastfeed our babies to ensure the best start in life, but it seems that only applies if you never leave the house. A breastfed baby feeds on demand and therefore it is not always possible to feed a child when it is convenient. A hungry baby screaming at the top of its lungs is far more of an irritation to other diners and shoppers than one that is happily feeding under its mother’s shirt.
Denise Hartley, Billericay, Essex

I’m not a show-off
AS a radio presenter on Radio 2, I frequently make known my views on breastfeeding. I find it sad that we should need a “law” but perhaps if it highlights the importance of breastfeeding then it will be doing some good. I breastfed both my boys until they were two years old — tandem feeding sometimes. I have breastfed anywhere and everywhere, including during a trip on the Millennium Wheel! I have never encountered disapproval and never been asked to leave any cafe, restaurant or public place not for any kind of “show”. I, like most women, breastfeed purely to provide nourishment or comfort to the baby. It’s totally discreet, I don’t think there’s been even a flash of boob!
Janey Lee Grace, Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Freedom of choice
IF people want to look at Page Three of The Sun in private, that is of course their business. If people want to breastfeed their babies in private — or in a space specifically allocated to that purpose — that is of course no problem either.
But I find breastfeeding in public offensive. Managers of pubs and other businesses have got a perfect right to ban breastfeeding on their premises. Elaine Smith is wrong to want to fine them for doing so.
Anthony Woodrow,
anthonyw@waitrose.com

Bad for babies
ELAINE SMITH, the MSP for Coatbridge, seems to be promoting women’s rights at the expense of their infants. She has failed to think of the consequences of her proposals.
Rather than a legal right for mothers to feed their babies in public, I would suggest a law forbidding the carrying of infants into any premises where smoking is permitted. The very idea of hazarding the health of a baby to the atmosphere of the average Scottish pub cries out for Babies’ Rights legislation.
David Mowat, Liverpool

America’s incredulity
NEVER let it be said that the UK (and Scotland in particular) is not as silly as America when it comes to indulging in political correctness.
Breastfeeding in public? That’s an actual issue for debate?
C. Howard, Los Angeles

Scotland’s shame
WELL DONE, Michael Gove (Comment, August 20). You have articulated my unexpressed disappointment in the people of Scotland. As an American of Scotch-Irish decent, I have lived in Great Britain for 12 years and observed with increasing shame the mindset of my Scottish forebears.
Jim Russell, Horsham, West Sussex

Rights for men
MEN should have a similar right to urinate on the urge into a bucket in a restaurant, against a designated open wall, tree or lamp-post.
In a closed place, the smell of fresh human milk is no less strong or unpleasant than the smell of fresh human urine. If women’s breasts are not to be regarded as simply sexual, then neither should men’s penises. Both should be exposable in public.
Henry Williams, London W2

Clarinet60 Mon 26-Aug-02 21:14:56

My opinion of the last comment is unprintable. See also Breastfeeding in public thread. Much of it is heartening, Eulalia, but some of those comments! Breastfeeding offensive! Urine! Ahhhh!!!!!!!! I guess we should focus on the positive, but when the negative is so downright explosive ....... It's so extreme that it may even be a wind-up. Good that the debate is broadening though.

aloha Mon 26-Aug-02 21:36:00

He's obviously a very sad man who has probably never had sex. We should offer him our pity.

Clarinet60 Mon 26-Aug-02 22:58:13

I didn't know other people could smell breast milk. Arghhhh!!! Now I'm going to be even more paranoid! (Only joking .... )

mears Tue 27-Aug-02 09:18:55

That man's comment about breast milk and urine demonstrates a point that many people think of breastmilk as a waste product of the breasts.

A few years ago I had a standup fight in a chemists with the assistant because the breastpads were beside the tampax instead of beside the baby items. I check every time I am in ( sad person) and they are now with the baby things. Have a look next time you are in a shop to see where they are stocked.

Bozza Tue 27-Aug-02 09:28:23

What twisted logic. Surely people don't really hold such opinions? That last comment has really wound me up. I can see myself becoming far more militant a breast feeder next time round!!

Tissy Tue 27-Aug-02 09:48:24

I was recently approached by a middle-aged "gentleman" whilst quietly feeding dd in an empty corner of a motorway service station restaurant. The gist of his point was that bf was disgusting. When I pointed out that feeding is what breasts are for (and IMO the only thing they are for!)he said "thats what bottles are for!". I then managed to stun him and myself by regurgitating almost a whole chapter of the Stanway's book along the lines of " cow's milk is produced by Mummy cows for baby cows, not for baby humans, and formula is doctored cows milk." When I'd finished my rant he went away and didn't cause any more trouble. I hope I've made him reconsider his attitude, but I doubt it somehow. I imagine some people wouldn't be half as keen to drink milk or eat dairy products if they had to think about exactly where it comes from!!

Demented Tue 27-Aug-02 13:39:13

How that man (if we dare link him with the human species) can compare breastmilk, the best and most ideal food for our babies to urine is beyond me. At the moment we live in a town centre flat and I would much rather mothers chose to express milk in our doorway (although goodness knows why they would want to) than pee in it as some seem to have the custom!

Bozza Tue 27-Aug-02 14:06:58

We don't change the baby's nappy at the restaurant table which is more like the equivalent.

aloha Tue 27-Aug-02 16:07:45

I honestly think that this man has quite a serious psychological hangup about women. I doubt that his life is much fun.

ks Tue 27-Aug-02 16:33:27

Message withdrawn

Eulalia Tue 27-Aug-02 18:36:14

This is my response to that article which I have submitted to the Times. I hope it is printed ...

The whole debate of breastfeeding needs a paradigm shift. One should not talk of men looking at Page 3 girls in the same breath as women breastfeeding (Anthony Woodrow). Yes the two activities contain the same thing: breasts, but that is as far as the similarities go. Why are we even bothering to discuss the hoary subject of the sexuality of breasts? Instead we should be asking why men such as Mr Woodrow find the act of breastfeeding “offensive”. At what point do the breasts change from objects of lust to be admired by men to offensive objects? Is it something to do with the baby? Are babies offensive? None of this makes sense. Art throughout the ages has depicted many breastfeeding mothers. It is only recently that people have become disturbed by this natural act. A breastfeeding baby is only eating and doing so in the way he is biologically adapted to. I find the way many human adults eat extremely offensive at times. Not to mention the burping, farting, picking of teeth, spitting, and picking of noses which all adults engage in – all offensive but acceptable in public. And can someone tell me why breastfeeding areas are always designated ‘feeding AND changing’ rooms? One is expected to feed a baby next to a smelly nappy disposal unit. This is offensive and surely unhygienic. No-one would expect adults to eat their dinners in the toilets.

Or perhaps Henry Williams of London W2 would. Mr Williams somewhat bizarrely thinks that the excretion of waste products is similar to breastfeeding. He says, “The smell of fresh human milk is no less strong or unpleasant than the smell of fresh human urine”. I have to ask how on earth he has managed to smell human milk. Does he stuff his nose down the cleavage of breastfeeding mothers? Breastfeeding transfers milk straight from the mother to the baby. The milk is not exposed to the atmosphere. Even if it were, research has shown that expressed human milk can be kept safety at room temperature for up to ten hours because of its remarkable ability to retard the growth of bacteria*. Human milk is hygienic and practically odourless. Mr Williams feels that if women can breastfeed in public men should have similar rights to urinate in public. To compare the act of breastfeeding with urination is absolutely absurd. Urinating is the removal of waste products from the body. Breastfeeding is about providing food for a baby. Waste products have to be disposed of because they are a potential public health hazard. Breastfeeding is safe, clean, discreet and most importantly (formula milk apart, which many don’t think as being a viable option) necessary for the survival of the human race.

Mr Williams clearly needs a biology lesson. He also thinks that the male penis should also be de-sexualised along the same lines as breasts. He is missing the point. Breasts have had the sexual attribute conferred upon them which has distracted many from the purpose for which they were designed – feeding a baby. The male penis is a genital – it is a sexual organ by definition. The sexual organs aren’t exposed, because, decency apart they are covered to protect them and prevent infection. Breast milk is not the same as urine any more than saliva is the same as urine which is why it should be acceptable to feed a baby alongside adults who are eating.

I wonder what our ancestors would think of us today in our sanitised, clinical world who take umbrage at the perfectly natural act of feeding a baby, but are happy to see a child drinking the milk of another species through a piece of silicone. Ironically in days gone by we kept ourselves covered up as we had an extremely modest dress code with arms, legs and heads covered. There were no mini skirts, crop tops, pierced belly buttons, topless women on beaches ... all perfectly acceptable today ... but in those days no-one would think twice about seeing a woman feed her baby in public. Of course they wouldn’t because there is nothing wrong with it. The sooner we are allowed to get on with it in peace the better for everyone, particularly the babies concerned.

*Barger, J. and Bull, P. A comparison of the bacterial composition of breast milk stored at room temperature and stored in the refrigerator. IJCE 1987; 2:29-30.

ks Tue 27-Aug-02 18:40:12

Message withdrawn

ScummyMummy Tue 27-Aug-02 18:45:42

I think that's an excellent response, Eulalia! I hope they print it too. Is it on a talkboard or something? I was puzzled by all the different contributions?

Zoe Tue 27-Aug-02 19:04:09

Eualia

I salute you madam

*applause*

WideWebWitch Tue 27-Aug-02 19:24:49

Eulalia, fantastic letter.

bossykate Tue 27-Aug-02 19:31:30

well said, eulalia, really hope they print it.

Janeway Tue 27-Aug-02 20:33:35

Eulalia - fancy cc-ing your letter to Elaine Smith MSP ? - I can't think of a more eloquent way of stating the case for this legislation.

Bozza Tue 27-Aug-02 22:04:16

Well done Eulalia for taking the time and effort to compose such an all-encompassing yet succinct reply. Hope they print.

Demented Tue 27-Aug-02 22:17:00

Great letter Eulalia, they have to print it! Let us know, if it is in the Times I for one won't see it, I'm more of a Daily Record reader !

mears Wed 28-Aug-02 11:11:02

Fabulous Eulalia

Eulalia Fri 30-Aug-02 21:07:58

My letter was printed today, highly edited but I think they got the gist of it. Fame at last! However everyone will now know who I am ... up to a point. I didn't think of that.

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