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EDITIONS
Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Bill to seek breastfeeding rights
Baby feeding
Breast-fed babies may be at lower risk of cot death
A bid to give mothers a legal right to breastfeed their baby in public is being launched in the Scottish Parliament.

A backbench MSP wants to change the law so pubs, cafes and restaurants could be fined if they tell women not to breastfeed on their premises.

Labour's Elaine Smith says she is confident of securing the necessary support for her proposal.

Elaine Smith
Elaine Smith is publishing a bill
Nearly two thirds of new mothers in Scotland now breastfeed their offspring.

Many of them give up after a matter of weeks.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.

Some health experts have claimed that a lack of support for women leads to them stopping breastfeeding.

Mrs Smith, the 39-year-old MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, is married with a young son.

She was once told not to breastfeed her baby in a cafe - and advised that she should use the toilet instead.

Mrs Smith said she did not want other women to be placed in the same position.

Introduce legislation

She argues that women should feel free to breastfeed in a public place if they need to do so.

Mrs Smith will publish her proposal for a bill in the Scottish Parliament on Monday.

She said she was confident that she could gain enough support from other MSPs to allow her to introduce legislation at Holyrood.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm says he is sympathetic to her ideas, but wants to look at the full implications of a change in the law.

See also:

13 May 02 | Health
08 Mar 02 | UK Politics
31 Aug 01 | Health
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