July 15, 1997 in Nation/World

California Protects Public Breast-Feeding

Compiled From Wire Services

Legislation protecting a woman’s right to breast-feed her baby in public was signed Monday by Gov. Pete Wilson, who said nursing promotes maternal and infant bonding while reducing health care costs for children.

“By signing this bill, I am removing the barriers of embarrassment, harassment and charges of indecent exposure when a mother breast-feeds her child in public,” Wilson said.

Surveys show that 74 percent of women breast-feed their newborns, but only 17 percent continue after nine weeks. The rate drops to just 5 percent for 1-year-olds.

Nursing advocates say a fear of public disapproval contributes to the low rate of breast-feeding.

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