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What city put an age limit on public breastfeeding?

Stripping. Breastfeeding. Only makes sense to cover them under the same law, right?

That's the thinking behind a new law in a suburb of Atlanta.

According to a local news report, Forest Park banned the breastfeeding of children 2 or older under a public indecency ordinance.

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"Previously, the city only had a public indecency ordinance that covered adult entertainment businesses," reports the station.

City manager John Parker called the move "a pro-active step," reports WSBTV.

"It sets up a process whereby we can try to control nudity throughout the entire city," Mr. Parker said.

While public-health groups, including the World Health Organization, endorse breastfeeding past the two-year mark, it's unlikely that Mr. Parker and his colleagues routinely come in contact with many mothers nursing their toddlers.

As many critics have pointed out, Georgia state's breastfeeding rate is very low and, according to the Care2Care blog, only about 6 per cent of the U.S. population breastfeeds past two-years-old.

Over at BabyCenter, blogger Amy Graff, like many who have chimed in, admits that moms nursing toddlers can be considered controversial even among staunchly pro-breastfeeding types, but stands by moms who do it.

"Why is it OK for tweens and teens to strut around in lingerie-like clothing but it's not OK for an adult female to discreetly nurse a child?" she writes.

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Some critics say the law - which appears to fly in the face of pro-breastfeeding legislation at the state and federal level - could inspire the curbing of the practice in other jurisdictions, and at younger ages.

Over in Tennessee, the governor recently went in the opposite direction, ditching a law declaring breastfeeding of a child older than 1 indecent.

Legislation now "allows mothers to publicly breastfeed a child older than 1 without being prosecuted for public indecency," according to a story from WSMV News.

The law goes into effect July 1 and before this week's Forest Park law, Tennessee was the only state that set limits on breastfeeding ages, according to the station.

And if Forest Park officials are worried about seeing moms nursing in public, they've guaranteed themselves an eye-full, now: There's already a Facebook group dedicated to a nurse-in at Forest Park's city hall on Monday.

Do you think governments should be stepping into the role of legislating the "proper" age for breastfeeding?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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