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UAE Law to Make Breastfeeding Mandatory Until Age Two

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Mothers in Abu Dhabi will be required to breastfeed their children until the age of two, in terms of a new law currently under discussion in the legislative body of the United Arab Emirates.


FNC members argued that breastfeeding was a “duty” and every infant should be entitled to be nursed as it was beneficial for health and built a strong bond between mother and child.


Women's groups were not convinced, however. Marie-Claire Bakker, a member of the international breastfeeding support group, La Leche League, said breastfeeding was a deeply personal experience and “this relationship and bond cannot be legislated.”


Read more at Haartz and The National


What do you think? 



post #2 of 36
My thought is what about those who can't? Happened with my first & it was devastating. It would have been much worse if I would have had to prove something in order to not be in violation of a law. I agree BF is important, but legislation is not the answer.
post #3 of 36

It's a nice thought, but I very much agree with "this relationship and bond cannot be legislated."  For those who can't, for a myriad of reasons, the list of exceptions would be exhaustive.  Instead of trying to force the breastfeeding from a legislative angle, perhaps consider making formula available only through a doctor's prescription, ensuring that someone with some medical experience (not a politician) communicates with the mother about the benefits and risks, and manages those mothers who want to abandon breastfeeding for non-medical reasons.

post #4 of 36

While I wholeheartedly agree that breastfeeding is the best choice it's a deeply personal thing for women and not always easy (not to mention none of some "well intentioned" politician's business). I breastfeed my son but need to supplement while at work as I cannot pump enough for all his feedings and the inability to produce enough milk caused a great deal of anxiety, guilt and shame initially. I cannot imagine what the additional pressure of legislation would do to a mother already upset about her struggles to feed her baby. Also, while breastfeeding IS best it's also a choice and women may have a number of reasons why it's not their preference and it's not the government's place to force a woman to breastfeed. I think they would be better served by focusing on educating everyone on the benefits and removing barriers to breastfeeding (like creating a culture welcoming to mothers nursing in public and providing breastpumps etc.).

Edited by Amandag985 - 1/28/14 at 11:51am
post #5 of 36

I breastfed my youngest who is also my 2nd born child for 2 years, 2 months and a few days on before weaning him.  Legislation shouldn't be required to tell a mother to breastfeed her children for the first 2 years of it's life no matter where in the world they hail from.

post #6 of 36

^ "It's a nice thought."  Really?! Forcing mothers use their bodies as the government dictates is a nice thought? 


(I am saying this as a woman who avidly believes in BFing and BFed my own two children well past the age of 1 ...  so I am in full support of breastfeeding and consider it the best for mother and child.) BUT ...


The fact that there are many reasons why women can't BF is SOO not the point. This discussion should not be about listing the reasons why it would be hard for mothers to follow this law. The point is that women's bodies are not the possession of the government. Period. No such law should exist, regardless of whether or not people could abide by it.


In a perfect world every woman would want to breastfeed and could do so with complete ease and comfort. But in a MORE perfect world, women should have reign over their own bodies and should be able to make their own safe and healthy choices (of which there are plenty non-breastmilk options) for their babies and raise them as they see fit. Not as the government demands. Ridiculous.

post #7 of 36
How the heck are they going to regulate this? Make women breastfeed at their child's doctor's check-ups or something, just to prove they are still breastfeeding? Or take milk samples? I can see so many ways women can get around this anyway.

We would have violated this law. I weaned my firstborn around 15-16 months or so because i was pregnant and my milk dried up, and breastfeeding became extremely painful. She did start again after the birth though, so technically she was nursing at age 2. Does the law account for situations like this? My son self-weaned at 18 months old, to no apparant reason. I don't understand pressuring a toddler into nursing just to fulfill a legal obligation.
post #8 of 36
Absurd. A continuation of the holding down of women. Yes a baby should be nursed for two years. Whrn you regulate womans bodie's by law your sending a clear message of oppression. Legislation should be on Formula companies. On their advertising and made available by dr.s prescription only.
post #9 of 36

What do you expect from a country which treats women like a piece of meat? Women have no rights, can't drive and put to jail if they report rape.


Breastfeeding is personal decisions and no government should dictate what a woman should do.

post #10 of 36

Breastfeeding is between a mom and her child. It is an intimate bond. The decision to breastfeed needs to be left up to the mom. There are many reasons/issues that come up making breastfeeding impossible/not-work-able.  This is a bad idea. 

post #11 of 36
OMG, that made me want to start a revolution....! Breastfeeding? Excelent. A law that wants to control women's bodies? Hell no! Is it just me who thinks this law must have been created mostly by men? I believe there aren't many women working in the legislative body of the United Arab Emirates.... Talk about opression...!
post #12 of 36
Originally Posted by mom2SnS View Post

^ "It's a nice thought."  Really?! Forcing mothers use their bodies as the government dictates is a nice thought?

I am pretty sure she didn't intend for it to seem that the law under review was a nice thought. I am pretty sure she meant that children being nursed til 2 was a nice thought.
post #13 of 36
Ridiculous. That's all I can say.
post #14 of 36
This is awful for one reason only: law should never dictate what a woman does with her body. It's none of their biz. And I was a breast feeder.
post #15 of 36
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

What do you expect from a country which treats women like a piece of meat? Women have no rights, can't drive and put to jail if they report rape.


Breastfeeding is personal decisions and no government should dictate what a woman should do.

I am from Texas originally and have lived in AbuDhabi for four years now. You need to get your facts straight. Women have the same rights as men. Women most certainly can and do drive. They are not put in jail for reporting rape.

post #16 of 36
post #17 of 36

I live in AbuDhabi. The way legislation here works is very different from the U.S. There is no law in place yet to make breastfeeding mandatory until age two, and because of the obvious impediments already pointed out here, it is not likely to be enacted. There is, however, already  a law in place stating that breastfeeding women have the right to either leave work early to go breastfeed their babies, or take extra breaks during the day to pump. That is better than what is available in the U.S. for sure. 


There are other more pressing needs to protect the health and safety of children in the U.A.E. than enforcing breastfeeding. Making car seats mandatory to stop people driving around at 70+ miles per hour with their children not even wearing seat belts, sometimes sitting in the front seat, sometimes with their heads out the sunroof or windows is far more important than breastfeeding.


Making window latches in high rise apartment buildings so children don't fall out the window and die is more pressing than legislating breastfeeding.


Yes, supporting women who are able to and choose to breastfeed is important and there is a lot of room for improvement in the U.A.E. and around the world frankly for that. Just to add a little something more and open people's eyes a little about how oppressive you think Islam is toward women, which it is not, but that is a whole other topic, it is every child's right in Islam to be breastfed for two years. The father of the child is responsible for caring for the mother during this time and he is to compensate the mother for her efforts in breastfeeding by giving gifts.


Don't be so quick to judge what you don't even know about.

post #18 of 36

 I will never be a fan of a government that puts rape victims in jail.


Supporting women is one things, forcing them is another.

Edited by Alenushka - 1/28/14 at 11:13pm
post #19 of 36

People are so crazy with replies. They are obviously have no idea what's UAE is!!!  I lived there for 12 years, now I'm 8 years in USA, and I'm telling you, in many ways UAE is more open than USA!  They think that poor women are covered and have no rights, etc. Absolutely not!  You are mistaken for Afghanistan or maybe Iran. Read about, take a look at photos. I was living there freely, never close my apartment doors, never closed my car, walking with short sleeves and shorts. I was confident that nothing will happened to me. I felt thousand times more secure there than here in NY! If I could I would go back there in a heart beat!


About 2 year "rules", these been there for years. About 15 years ago my friend had a baby in Dubai and she been suggested to breastfeed for 2 years. That's not new. Here AAP suggesting 6 month and best up to 1 year, but in many places (here and in Europe) you can read that breastfeeding up to 2 years is the best (no, you are not "piece of meat " as somebody refers here - your milk is good for baby! Breast milk has 100 times more minerals & vitamins than formula, plus antibodies which formula don't have!). Your baby willl be healthier and stronger, is that's something wrong?

I wish that USA will have some regulations for making women breastfeed here. And I'm not talking about women who can't breastfeed, I'm talking that some women decide to give formula right away, even not trying to breastfeed. (Too lazy? Not enough education?). Breastfeeding is hard! But is the best for your baby. Why people are angry here? You don't want to  give something good for your baby?  Your baby doesn't care about cute pink clothes and fancy toys - they want to be healthy!!! Breast milk is THE BEST gift you can give to your baby!  US is full of sick kids (asthma, diabetes, ...), don't you want your kid be healthier?  So, goverment in UAE wants their babies to be healthy! And it does not means that you will go to jail for it, it means that in doctor's office they will advice you to breastfeed baby till 2 years. Advice, people, advice!! Nobody going to force you or beat you or put you to jail, you absolutely don't know Emirates and how people live there, so don't be so judgmental and fast to reply before making your research. Or better, read about breast milk. I know a lot of mothers here breastfeeding till 3 years old, and they are happy and kids are happy, there is only positive comes out from it.

I wish all these negative replies and anger would go to Formula producing companies. They are making billions dollars on that artificial milk (if I can call this). Powdered cows milk+ metals+ dry vitamins - is that the way to feed the baby?  Read about formula, read about milk what you are drinking here. Mother nature (or God if you believe so) create boobs not to attract men and put victoria's secret bra, boobs are there for a reason, so use it!

Sorry for my mistake, I'm German my self (an no, no arabs in my blood, I just loved that place that's why I want to defend them).


(breastfeeding supporter, mom, open-minded, educated)

post #20 of 36

I am 100% against mandating ANYTHING! I think all women should CHOOSE to breastfeed. I wonder why all women DON'T choose to breastfeed? It is the simplest form of connecting with your child. The second most thoughtless and important act you can show them. I feel a lot women were not breastfeed and/or not shown how to breastfeed and so they don't. Without trying to offend anybody, I have a hard time buying the phrase " I don't produce enough milk". I have heard it several times within my friend groups and I always wonder about the background of the women telling me that. I know lots of women who never had mothers that nursed them. I know that a lot of those same people never read about the benefits of nursing and what herbs to take if they aren't producing enough milk. I guess without getting to deep into this argument, I hope that more women seek resources to educate themselves on nursing and have more guidance from mothers and professionals about the importance on  nursing their babies.

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