"The letter below is to Kmart
to praise them for taking action to educate their employees."
Executive Vice President, Store Operations
3100 W. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, Michigan 48084-3163
Dear Mr. Keeble:
Congratulations to Kmart for mandating that its stores follow
regarding breastfeeding in public! Unfortunately, Joylyn
in December is not an uncommon one for many breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is every mother's civil right, and California
law rightfully acknowledges that women not only have the
right to breastfeed in public, but have the right to do so
without being harassed. Unfortunately, there are no penalties
attached to the law, making enforcement difficult. Harassment
of nursing mothers is disturbingly common in public, either
by employees or by other store patrons.
As I am sure you are aware, the American Academy of Pediatrics
has strongly recommended that women breastfeed their children
for at least 12 months. This recommendation comes as a result
of many studies that have demonstrated that breastfed children
have lower risks of diarrhea, lower respiratory infections,
ear infections, allergies, eczema, bacterial meningitis,
and many other illnesses, as well as higher IQs. The list
of benefits to both mother and child is extensive. It is
odd that a society seemingly consumed with financial prosperity
and safety is largely unwilling to make the investment in
breastfeeding, despite its proven benefits to babies' health
and cognitive development.
One of the goals of the United States' "Healthy People
2000" program is increasing to 50% the number of women
who breastfeed their children until at least 5 to 6 months
of age. Sadly, though, less than 70% of mothers are breastfeeding
at the time of hospital discharge, and only about a quarter
are still breastfeeding their babies at 6 months.
Breastmilk is one of the best starts in life anyone can ever
hope to provide a child, and nursing is one of the most natural
acts in the world. Thank you for educating your employees
about every woman's right to breastfeed her child.