SETX moms promote public breastfeeding

A group of Southeast Texas moms has created a coalition to offer information and support that they hope will help normalize breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding in public is legal in all 50 states and according to experts, more mothers are choosing to breast feed today than they were 30 or 40 years ago.

Nursing mom April Howlett said breastfeeding her children was the best decision she has ever made, but her decision to nurse her 10 month old son in public has caused some debate.

"I'm not going to starve him I'm going to feed him the way he's going to eat," Howlett said. "It's crazy how people come up to you and say don't do that."

Howlett said in one instance she was asked to stop feeding because there were 'boys going through puberty' around.

"My thought to that is why wouldn't you want your child to see what it's supposed to be for?" Howlett said. "That's what breasts are for."

The subject has also received national attention. Some businesses have come under fire for asking women to cover up and breastfeeding photos have gone viral on social media.

The Beaumont Breastfeeding Coalition was created by nursing moms to offer support and advice for other nursing moms.

One member, Blake Fernandez, said she breastfed her first child until age three and she's currently nursing her 2 year old while a third baby is on the way. She said she hopes that by spreading the word, she can help normalize breastfeeding in public.

"They're too uncomfortable because it's not around enough," Fernandez said.

Lactation Consultant Stacie Jones said she supports the effort. Jones said babies breastfed for the first six months are protected from a long list of diseases, among other benefits.

"I think exposure is new in our area that's why it's a hot topic," Jones said.

Jones said it is recommended moms breastfeed for the first year or as long as both mom and baby are comfortable.


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