We realize you’ve got a lot on your mind these days, like the economy, health care, and the entire Middle East, but if you have one second to take a look at this petition from the United States Breastfeeding Committee, we’d really appreciate it.
I get the sense that you probably think breastfeeding is a no-brainer. You’re smart like that. With all the health benefits for mom and baby, you’d think moms would be scrambling to attach their babies to their boobs.
And you can’t beat the price of breastmilk, particularly as our economy is sinking fast. Not that you need me to remind you of that situation. Formula is pretty darn expensive (but they don’t tell you that when they send you home with that ugly black bag and all those free samples) and the money families are spending on formula could go to helping them stay afloat during these crazy times.
So maybe you’d be surprised to know that there are still millions of new moms who head straight for the bottle (well, that one too, but mostly I’m talking about the formula bottles) without even giving breastfeeding a chance.
The question is, who’s to blame?
Statistics show that moms in lower income brackets and minority groups are less likely to breastfeed, probably not because they don’t want to or think that it’s gross, but because they’re heading back to their jobs to provide for their family – jobs that don’t give them nursing breaks.
And while we’re quick to guilt and judge moms who don’t try it or stick with it after a few weeks or months, the support for breastfeeding mothers really stinks. If you’ve got the time and energy to make it work, it’s obvious that it can be extremely rewarding. But for many women, it’s just not that easy.
We’re hoping that you’ll give some attention to this issue. While the US Breastfeeding Committee does agree with the US Department of Health and Human Services in encouraging moms to breastfeed for at least 6 months, only a handful of states are actually meeting the Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding targets! Meeting these targets could save millions upon millions of dollars in later life issues like obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
But we also need more support for moms who breastfeed – time off to pump, incentives to continue to breastfeed through at least six months, maybe longer, and better resources to help breastfeeding moms problem solve without feeling guilty.
Thanks for your attention to this matter.
Yours in breastmilk,
PS: If you wouldn’t mind giving a tongue lashing to businesses, corporations, and online forums (read: Facebook) who seem to think nursing moms should hide in their homes until they’re done breastfeeding, we’d appreciate it.
PSS: We’re guessing if the government supports breastfeeding for a minimum of six months and strongly encourages it through at least one year, then they realize moms will have to leave the house and feed their kids.
[This post was written by Kristen Chase.]