published Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Bill would allow women to breastfeed in public

Bill would allow women to breastfeed in public

NASHVILLE — Under a bill moving in the Senate, mothers who publicly breastfeed their babies would no longer risk being charged with indecent exposure in Tennessee if the child is more than 12 months old.

The Senate General Welfare Committee today approved the measure, which eliminates the age restriction, on a 7-1 vote with one lawmaker abstaining. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Kingsport, said the current restriction makes no sense.

“In the first place, why in the world should a mother be charged with indecent exposure for breastfeeding a child and why would that be the concern of the state?” Faulk asked. “And third ... who is going to ID the child?”

Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, raised concerns about the bill, asking whether a 35-year-old could be considered a child.

“I know that sounds crazy, but I’m thinking about how an attorney would use this in a situation in a bar where maybe things got a little crazy or whatever,” Watson said.

He added later that “I know I’m way out on the fringe thinking like a 14-year-old, but weird things happen in our society.”

Watson voted for the legislation. It has no cost and presumable is eligible to go to the full Senate for a vote. It has yet to start moving in the House.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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rebecca_n said...

I am happy to see people are trying to get rid of that ridiculous age limit. From the World Health Organization -> "Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond." I would be glad to see more 3 and even 5 year olds nursing in public, though most child will naturally wean themselves before age 5. I would never call someone a freak for feeding their child, and fully support this bill.

March 17, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
FoxyKate said...

Libertarians4Freedom - first of all, where is the freedom for the nursing mother and her baby in your comment? Why do you want the state to regulate how long a woman can feed her child with the way that nature intends?

It's too bad that the title of this article says, "allow" instead of "won't persecute."

The AAP recommendations for breastfeeding are as follows: "Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child."

The WHO recommends "exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond."

March 17, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.

Libertarians4Freedom, your comment made me laugh out loud. Do you even know what a libertarian IS?

March 17, 2011 at 4:31 p.m.
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