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"Mother's Milk" at the WYO Legislature

February 5, 2007

A baby's gotta eat. The Wyoming legislature takes up a bill today that would guarantee Wyoming babies' right to their mother's milk wherever baby and mom happen to be.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says breastfeeding is best for babies, but it could get a Wyoming mother arrested under the state's current indecent exposure law. House Bill 105 would exempt breastfeeding from that law, as well as provide criminal penalties for interfering with breastfeeding. Amy Parker-Williams is the mother of three who was asked to leave a recreation center for breastfeeding her baby.

"The more people know about breastfeeding, and the more common it is, the more it will be considered absolutely healthy and normal, to see it."

Parker-Williams calls herself a staunch supporter of a woman's right to breastfeed, yet when she was repeatedly asked to leave public places for doing so, it intimidated and discouraged her.

"What if it's someone who's just getting started, who's still a little awkward, a younger mom with her first baby? How is she going to feel? She's going to feel like she doesn't want to do it."

The proposal also would allow breastfeeding mothers a legal reason to be excused from jury duty, and encourage more friendly workplaces for mothers. Opponents of the bill are those who feel the law is unnecessary, or who are uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in public.

Deborah Smith/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - WY