Is your workplace breastfeeding friendly?
It may be an old article, but it's a conversation that never gets old. Katrina Alcorn once wrote in the Huffington Post about how the workplace often deters new moms from breastfeeding at the office. Alcorn shares a horror story about her friend "Jackie" whose coworkers equate maternity leave to a long vacation, warn her about "not rocking the boat" and give her a not-entirely-private closet to breastfeed in. The experience sounds frustrating and humiliating, and Jackie is forced by circumstance to give up breastfeeding four weeks later.
Sound like an isolated incident? Hardly. CNN reports that only 14 percent of mothers in the U.S. are able to exclusively breastfeed at the six month mark. This number has much to do with women going back to work and not having a supportive environment to continue breastfeeding--not to mention all the anxiety and controversy around breastfeeding in public, which celebrities such as the Kardashians have weighed in on.
Breastfeeding continues to be shown as an important way to maintain the health of babies. Pediatrics journal recently revealed a study that claims that moms who breastfeed babies for the first six months would allow nearly 1,000 lives to be saved.
If most new moms would breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, it would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year, according to a new study published recently in the journal Pediatrics. Initial breastfeeding would also save billions of dollars for the U.S. as a result of less medical fees.
But moms aren't always to blame--as there continues to be a growth of professional women and women who aren't eager to trap themselves inside their homes for a year, there needs to be more formal maternal care and attitudes provided for these mothers. Offices need to have more than just a maternity leave plan, and communities need to help diminish the stigma of public breastfeeding. Plus, hospitals need to stop pushing formula on mothers and need to educate new moms about the importance of breastfeeding, the benefits of the process, and of course, how to breastfeed.