After what has been described as a “marathon debate” on the topic, the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates has passed a clause in the country’s new Child Rights Law requiring new mothers to breastfeed their babies for two full years, according to the Huffington Post. If the woman fails to do so, her husband can now sue her.
According to the Huffington Post, the government “ultimately decided that it is every child's right to be breastfed.”
In cases where a woman is unable to breastfeed for health reasons, the council will provide a wet nurse. However, it remains unclear exactly how a mother's ability to breastfeed will be determined. Also unclear is who will pay the salary of the wet nurse, and whether she will live with the family she is working with.
In response to the Emirates’ new legislation, Marie-Claire Bakker, a member of U.S.-based breastfeeding support group, La Leche League told the National, “At this vulnerable time, to think of criminalizing a new mother who, for whatever reason, is struggling with breastfeeding is not helpful ... She needs informed support, not threats.”