In This Country, Not Breastfeeding Now Illegal

United Arab Emirates passes law despite strong opposition
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2014 6:43 AM CST

(Newser) – Sure, the pope supports it, but a new clause added to a children's rights law in the United Arab Emirates doesn't just encourage mothers to breastfeed—it requires it until children are at least two years old, the Guardian reports. While those who passed the law late last month say breastfeeding is "the right of every child for two years" and "a duty and not an option," a support group for mothers with postnatal illness is disturbed. "The danger is that with the threat of punishment, these women could face additional stress at an already challenging time, risking serious repercussions and potentially contributing to postnatal depression," the group says.

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The country's social affairs minister is concerned, too, but for a very different reason. "This part of the law can be a burden," she says, noting husbands may be able to sue their wives if they don't breastfeed. How the law will be enforced, though, isn't clear. "Some families leave their children to maids and don't breastfeed. This is part of raising a child, though, this is mandatory," a member of the council that passed the law tells the National. "If they do not have a mother or have been neglected, then they should get this right from someone else"—perhaps a wet nurse. (Read more United Arab Emirates stories.)

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