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Attorney General Schneiderman settles with retailer over breastfeeding law


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday an agreement with a downstate retailer related to a woman’s right to breastfeed. One breastfeeding authority says it’s a reminder that state law allows women to breastfeed anywhere they legally be.

Century 21 Department Stores were fined 5 thousand dollars and agreed to change their policies about breastfeeding. The settlement relates to an incident this summer when a mother was asked to take her child to a dressing room to breastfeed.

“The store was made aware that that’s not the way that breastfeeding women can be treated. Since, they have a right to breastfeed anywhere that they have a right to be. So, it’s good to see that that law was enforced,” says Carrie Andrews, Democratic Minority Leader in the Monroe County Legislature.

Andrews isn’t the only one who points to the important health benefits of breastfeeding.

“It’s been shown that if 90 percent of newborns were breastfed for the first six months of life this country would save 14 billion (that’s B for billion) dollars in health care costs a year, and another 10 billion in health care costs for women,” says Doctor Ruth Lawrence, a leading world authority on breastfeeding and a distinguished professor at URMC. Lawrence says the practice helps both mother and child.

Andrews says she hopes to one day see a cultural change where the country is more accommodating to breastfeeding American women.

“There’s just such a strange discrepancy there, for me, that we’re very skittish when it comes to breastfeeding, which is an entirely natural, biological process and things that women do when they have children  and yet seemingly very comfortable when we watch violence,” says Andrews.

Andrews recently pushed for a policy change that would provide breastfeeding rooms in county offices.