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Breastfeeding Bill of Rights Takes to the Rails

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New York Post: A hungry infant waits for no stalled subway.

Breastfeeding Bill of Rights Takes to the Rails
Dozens of mothers openly breastfed their children on the A train Friday as a yearly reminder that doing so in public is perfectly legal.

"Especially in New York, people are on the go all the time, but when a baby's hungry, well, you have to feed the baby," said Mara Bragg, 34, who brought her 15-month-old son, Evan Elstein, to the event.

"It's especially true on the subway. And there's nothing wrong with that."

Breastfeeding Promotion Leadership Committee members ride the rails with advocates each year to remind law enforcement -- and other gawking straphangers -- that there's nothing wrong with milking the subway for all its worth.

Bragg said fellow straphangers rarely notice she's breastfeeding on the subway, which she said happens about once a month.

"Most people are buried in their own magazines," she said. "Most will just smile and look away."

But in 2004, a woman was issued a desk summons for breastfeeding while riding the rails, which led to an outrage from mothers across the city, said state Sen. Liz Krueger.

This year, the women called for a "breastfeeding bill of rights" to become a law.

It's already passed through the state Assembly and Senate, and Krueger said she expects Gov. Paterson to sign the bill soon.

It would provide all new mothers with a card that reminds them of their rights to breastfeed in public.

"A lot of New York City residents spend a decent amount of time on the subways. Babies need to eat, and sometimes that happens during that decent amount of time on the subways. That's legal," Krueger said.

The breastfeeding "caravan," as it's called, boarded the A at 168th Street in Washington Heights and ended their run at Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, where they joined a rally with other supporters.

"It can be done anytime and anywhere," Krueger said.

Battles between milking mothers and law enforcement constantly come up.

Last week, a woman was issued a parking ticket because she pulled into a no-standing zone when her infant couldn't wait to get home to be fed.

And in 2006, a woman was kicked off an airplane because she was breastfeeding her child.

Bragg said people should be more accepting of the practice.

"It's important for other women to see that it's fine and perfectly natural," Bragg said.

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