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Cyprus

Proposals seek to protect breastfeeding mothers

MPs have drafted two legislative proposals aiming at affording greater protection to mothers who breastfeed.

The first bill will extend the period during which a mother is legally entitled to take one hour off from work each day to breastfeed her baby.

The second bill explicitly regulates a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.

It will involve amending the criminal code, so that from now on anyone preventing public breastfeeding would be committing a criminal offence and be liable to a fine of up to €3,000.

Speaking after a session of the House labour committee, Akel MP Skevi Kokouma said these legal amendments were necessary.

“Back in the day, when a woman was not allowed to even expose her ankles, breastfeeding was normal and could happen anywhere.

“Today, even as society has progressed, we see women being censured and treated in all sorts of ways simply because they breastfeed [in public].”

The issue gained traction in July, when former TV presenter Melanie Steliou caused a storm on social media after posting photographs of herself breastfeeding her child.

The photos were taken down by Facebook after someone reported them.

The brouhaha led a number of MPs to take up the public breastfeeding cause.

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