UAE moth­ers di­vided over breast­feed­ing law

Daily Trust - - MIDDLE EAST & ASIA -

It is one of the most per­sonal de­ci­sions fac­ing any new mother. But in the UAE, the ques­tion of whether or not to breast­feed has in re­cent months, come un­der in­creased pub­lic scru­tiny, as the coun­try con­sid­ers en­shrin­ing into law the need for moth­ers to nurse their chil­dren un­til the age of two.

The pro­posal was added to a child pro­tec­tion bill passed by the UAE’s Federal Na­tional Coun­cil - an ad­vi­sory and leg­isla­tive body - in Jan­uary, and has since prompted much dis­cus­sion about breast­feed­ing as a re­quire­ment rather than a choice.

Pro­po­nents of the breast­feed­ing clause have ar­gued that it is a ma­ter­nal duty and is in the best in­ter­est of the child.

Crit­ics, how­ever, have warned of the im­pli­ca­tions of leg­is­lat­ing ma­ter­nal care. Some women choose to ex­clu­sively breast­feed, while many sup­ple­ment with for­mula or opt not to nurse at all. Oth­ers en­counter ma­jor dif­fi­cul­ties or find they sim­ply can­not breast­feed their child.

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