Saturday, July 30, 2005

Why Is Nursing In Public Still An Issue?

I found this story out of Colorado, and am at a loss to understand.
LARIMER COUNTY - A day at the beach almost turned into a crime for a Larimer County woman who got a ticket for nursing her baby in public.

"I was completely embarrassed and humiliated," said Dorian Ryan about the summons she received from a park ranger.

It happened at the swim beach at Carter Lake. Ryan says the same park ranger had warned her the week before not to breast feed.

"We were shocked and asked why that is and they said it's to protect us from perverts and peeping toms," says Ryan.

It turns out there was no law violated and the ticket was dismissed. Carter Lake supervisor Dan Rieves says the ticket was a mistake; he called it poor judgment by a new park ranger.

"They do have officer discretion to make some decisions and sometime that decision is made poorly," he said.

Besides voiding the ticket, Rieves says he will send a letter of apology to Ryan.

Ryan says she's speaking out because she wants to spread the word that it is legal to breast feed in any public place in Colorado.

"Personally I'd like to be able to go to the beach and not be hassled - and let my kids have great memories of sand castles and playing in the water - not of a park ranger coming up to mommy again," she says.

The Colorado legislature passed a new law last year affirming the right of mothers to breast feed in public places. The park ranger who issued the citation was reprimanded by supervisors.

So, essentially the woman is out feeding her baby the way she was designed to, and instead of ticketing peeping toms he says are a concern, he tickets her? And we have to write laws allowing mothers to do what they're supposed to do? Should we write laws allowing mothers to change diapers or sing lullabies as well?

As a Catholic, I have to say, I'm sure my ideas about breastfeeding are not unique, but common to people of faith. I believe that God created our bodies to function in certain ways. A woman's body prepares itself to grow a child, provides for that child while in utero, and then produces milk to feed the child after birth. I don't believe it was an accident or a fluke, but a perfect design of the Creator. He didn't design the milk to come out of my fingers, which are germ carriers. He designed the milk to come out of the breast, which is cleaner. He designed the breast to keep itself clean and sanitary by secreting certain natural oils. He designed a new baby's eyes to be able to focus as far away as it's mother's face when at the breast. He designed both mother and child to work together harmoniously.

I can't understand why anyone would take issue with anyone feeding their hungry baby in public. I don't think any other culture has quite the feelings about breastfeeding, or breastfeeding in public as Americans. When are we going to get over it?

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