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No need to shame women for breastfeeding

IT isdifficult to comprehend that in 2016, we are still debating whether breastfeeding should occur withoutinhibition, or in private.
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Indeed,Australian Federal Law says breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege. Itis a protected attribute.

The federalSex Discrimination Act 1984 says itis illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. The law saysthose who treat a breastfeedingwoman less favourably than they would treat someone who is not breastfeeding, are discriminating against them.

A woman’s breasts are designed to feed an infant child. To argue they are a private part of her body is to deny the fact this is their very purpose. This should not be an argument about decency, or morals. It should not be an argument about sexuality and exposure of body parts otherwise viewed in a sexual way.

Babies who are breastfed are dependent on breast milk. It should be a natural right for women who are able to breastfeed, to do so whenever the need arises.

But there are still many in our community who believe this is not the case, as we have seen this week with a Bendigo mother being asked not to feed her infant in a food court.

While breastfeeding is accepted in many private and public places, and within some companies and levels of government, there is not universal acceptance by individuals.

We cannot single out the Bendigo Marketplace. The centre says the approach to nursing mother Luciwas from an individual and not reflective of its view towardsbreastfeeding mothers.

There should also be noneed to attack shopping centres for the state of their ‘parenting’rooms, because breastfeeding should be allowed anywhere, any time.

What we can say is this is a cultural issue, which needs to be addressed. Why are we so offended by a woman breastfeeding a child? What is it about a woman with a child suckling at her breast some find so offensive?

It is indeed a beautiful part of nature, and what the female body is designed to do. More importantly, it is vital to a child’s survival.To shame a woman for feeding her child because individuals have a view on what she should do with her body is both cruel and unfair.We support a woman’s right to breastfeed a child wherever she may need to, and believe it is indeed a right, not a privilege.

Nicole Ferrie, editor

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