UAE Law to Make Breastfeeding Mandatory Until Age Two - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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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? 

 

 

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#2 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:09 AM
 
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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.

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#3 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:17 AM
 
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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.

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#4 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:24 AM
 
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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.).

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#5 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:25 AM
 
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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.

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#6 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:31 AM
 
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^ "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.

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#7 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:41 AM
 
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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.
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#8 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:57 AM
 
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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.
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#9 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 12:16 PM
 
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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.

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#10 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 01:25 PM
 
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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. 

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#11 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 01:54 PM
 
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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...!
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#12 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 09:02 PM
 
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^ "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.
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#13 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 09:22 PM
 
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Ridiculous. That's all I can say.

--Breastfeeding----2nd grade Teaching----Cosleeping----Cloth Diapering -- --Bookworm Mom
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#14 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 09:33 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 09:42 PM
 
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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.

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#16 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 09:47 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 09:59 PM
 
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 I will never be a fan of a government that puts rape victims in jail.

 

Supporting women is one things, forcing them is another.

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#19 of 36 Old 01-28-2014, 11:37 PM
 
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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!

Breastfeeding:

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)

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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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#21 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 05:19 AM
 
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I too live in a country people think they know all about when in fact they don't. People think i speak spanish, but i speak portuguese. People think we live in jungles with monkeys, but my city has 3 million inhabitants, and so on.. so i get that many of the critics come from wrong assumptions and that this law project doesn't necessarily reflect how a society or country actually works and i'm sure there are plenty of absurd laws or law projects in any country. I don't know what other people mean or the reasons why they are angry, but I am a feminist and i'm always angry whenever i see people trying to legislate and create laws that control women's bodies. It really pushes all my buttons. Women having the right to breastfeed and to be protected while going through such a especial period in life is great, but being obligated to breastfeed is not. Here in Brazil women are oriented to breastfeed for a long time. Giving this orientation is one of my many functions in the public health clinic where i work. Formula is something people use only when they can't breastfeed and it's usualy hard for brazilian moms to use formula because they can't breastfeed. Some women, though, can breastfeed but decide not to. When that happens there's usually a good reason so we don't judge them or think they are lazy. Being suggested something is completely different from being obligated to do something. I do agree that in many countries breastfeeding need to be encouraged, though.

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#22 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 08:50 AM
 
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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 supporter, mom, open-minded, educated)

People are angry because the government is telling women what to do with their bodies. Advising is one thing, telling someone they have no choice is completely different. It doesn't matter WHY someone chose not to breastfeed, it is THEIR BODY AND THEIR CHOICE. 
Saying that the USA needs to have regulations making women breastfeed is the opposite of open minded. 

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#23 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 09:13 AM
 
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To 

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#24 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 09:37 AM
 
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I clearly am in the minority in seeing the potential benefits to women of some sort of legislation placing a value on mothering.

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#25 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 09:44 AM
 
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 As I understand it, making it law is the first step in a woman's sweat-equity as a mother and a wife being given monetary value in a capitalist society. In order to protect the investment of time a woman gives for her family, it must be legislated. Capitalism is a screwed-up system, but it's what we live under and in order to give true value for women and get some semblance of economic stability NOW...we have to work within the system..

 In a void, this law would oppress women, but if it legislates that a woman is entitled to not just her full salary but a salary that truly reflects the difficulty and commitment of the job, then we are really getting somewhere.

 

The work of a wife and mother that contributes to the family and the welfare of the child, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, childcare, tutoring, housecleaning, cooking, counseling, chauffeuring, laundering, finance management, clothing, etc. etc. etc. is worth ZERO...ZERO in this capitalist society. Women all over the world are financially taken advantage because of our maternal and nesting instincts that we have to varying degrees.

 

Capitalist governments in general and fathers in particular, for the most part, are the beneficiaries of this "free labor" that a mother provides. (Before you all go ballistic on me, I know many examples where the roles are reversed, and it is the father that FORTUNATELY is the sole or primary caregiver.) But for the MOST part, mothers are expected to work for free, and consequently their contribution has no financial value.


This fine and dandy (to a point) where there is a support system within society and law that will care for a mother or have the father reimburse the mother when the marriage ends or the husband dies. (Community property laws) However, in Saudi society when the marriage ends a woman is expected to live in poverty and be content that "Heaven is at her feet." (An Islamic prophetic saying)

 

I DO see that this legislation is a slippery slope, and the last thing I would want is for women in the Gulf to be more oppressed and lose more freedoms than they already have! And perhaps our Gulf societies are not ready to start with legislation couched in such terms, that breastfeeding is mandatory. Better legislation would make it mandatory that breast milk be available to all children until the age of two. And it should be compensated for by the government at the precious value it is worth! The short and long term and individual benefits for breastfed babies are unending, (preaching to the choir, here) including resistance to life threatening disease and infections, reduced incidence of juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancer before the age of 15. There are significant financial benefits to society. Breastfed babies are less likely to need excessive medical attention as they grow. In one study, a group of formula-fed infants had $68,000 in health care costs in a six-month period, while an equal number of nursing babies had only $4,000 of similar expenses.

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#26 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 09:46 AM
 
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I agree...how do you feel about a government that allows a white man who murdered a young black man, to go free with no consequences?

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#27 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 10:18 AM
 
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I know enough about UAE not to like it. Please, do not spin propaganda. How I feed I birth my child. How I feed my child and how I raise my child is my business and not the government's.

There many more reasons than not having milk why women do not breastfeed. This is between woman, her child and her family. Making formula RX or making breastfeeding a law simply stigmatizes women for no good reason. Yet another government trying to tell women, but not men what do to. I nursed my kids for as long as it worked for me and my family. It was not two years . The idea that government would force me to use my breasts the way it sees fit is absolutely disgusting and would force me not to have children. Imagine being forced to nurse?

Forced breastfeeding is on the same level as physical assault.
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#28 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 11:02 AM
 
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I agree...how do you feel about a government that allows a white man who murdered a young black man, to go free with no consequences?

I don't get the connection here? I know the case, but I don't understand what you're trying to say. 

placing a value on mothering means (to me) respecting a woman's choices. Actually, it means respecting both parents choices (if there are two parents). Telling a woman what to do with her body does not place any value on the woman as a person. 

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#29 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 01:11 PM
 
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I think when it comes to health the burden is on the parents, not the state. Every mother should want the best for there babies, but whats beat varies from person to person. I turned my baby around to front facing as soon as the law allowed, some mothers feel babies should be rear facing for as long as they can fit, but again its a health choice. Hospitals and doctors are bound under law to first do no harm, and since breast is best they should already be recommending nursing until two or beyond. No law is needed.
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#30 of 36 Old 01-29-2014, 08:31 PM
 
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I think it's a terrible idea. 


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