Snide comments or rude stares do not permit for the comfort and relaxed nature that is so important to effective nursing. Nor is it conducive to the magical mother and child bonding time that breastfeeding can be. Despite the ubiquity of the act and the anatomy, our culture has yet to accept (and sometimes even demonizes) women who breastfeed in public. Unfortunately, there is no nifty federal policy that can assuage the negative consequences of judgmental onlookers. Perhaps with time, education and an eye toward the more accepting attitude towards breastfeeding in the developing world, women will feel less inhibited and thus, better able to provide their children with the best health possible.
A third reason that women do not breastfeed their babies until they are six months old takes place very early in the newborn’s life -- right in the hospital he/she is born in! Very few hospitals have been certified as “baby-friendly” by UNICEF and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and little has been done to change this in the past few years. However, as part of their mission to improve mother and child health, the CDC has done a review of things hospitals can do to encourage breastfeeding right off the bat.
Visit http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/breastfeeding/ to see a full listing of the CDC’s recommendations, as well as the data supporting their push to make breastfeeding a priority.
And what can you do? Talk to your health care provider about a plan for breastfeeding your child! Ask about the support that is offered to new mothers in the hospital and in your workplace and advocate for your rights as a working mom! Don’t assume that breastfeeding will be easy right away -- keep trying! Every time you feel self-conscious about nursing in public, remember the world of good it is doing for you and your baby! Be supportive of other mothers!
Check out some of the other resources below to learn more:
The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding: Promotion and Support
La Leche League International