Last week Nebraska joined the rest of the country when Governor Heineman signed the new breastfeeding bill into law! Nebraska mothers may now nurse their babies in any location they have a legal right to be.
Having just returned from a service trip to Honduras in Central America, I am very aware of the drastically different living conditions in our two countries, as well as a drastically different attitude towards mothers feeding their babies.
While in Honduras, our group built two small cinder block and wood homes (smaller than most of our bedrooms) in a remote mountain village. Each home will house a family of six. The families are currently living in dirt floor shanties made from discarded pieces of tin and wood.
The day I left for Honduras I received a text that LB 197 was sent to the governor for his signature.
As I celebrated progress in Nebraska, I had the pleasure of experiencing what true support for breastfeeding mothers looked like in Honduras. In the small village of La Cebeita, in a tiny wooden church with a tin roof, a young mother next to me nursed her baby. No one even noticed. Not the men, nor the children playing nearby. No stares. No elaborate drapes or blankets so “no one could see.” Just a sweet little baby nursing and falling asleep, and a mom knowing she was keeping her baby safe and healthy.
American women may be blessed with fabulous opportunities that many Honduran mothers do not have: clean drinking water and an education beyond the second grade. The floors in our homes may be carpet, rather than dirt. But for all we do have, we lack the support that women in a developing country like Honduras have when it comes to feeding our babies. I am pleased that Nebraska has taken a step in the right direction. May we have many more to come!