Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breastfeeding Awareness

August 1-7 is Worldwide Breastfeeding Awareness week. Normally, during this time, I spend extra time helping new moms establish a supply, help pass out information to moms at the WIC office, and try to really make women aware of how good breastmilk is for your baby. This past week has been no different. I am blessed to be part of a great LLL group and we did alot of that this past week.

I am really encouraged by the way that people are trying to bring light to breastfeeding issues, and making sure that women understand that formula is not just a substitute for breastmilk. Don't get me wrong, I know some women who just couldn't breastfeed. They tried, but with work schedules or medical reasons, they couldn't, and I don't fault them a bit. I've consoled more then 1 new mom, who felt that she failed her baby. It's not a great feeling.

I think the problem today is a lack of support in the hospitals. I've shared my own story of how I was told by the hospital lactation consultant to use formula, because I was having alot of pain nursing. Instead of trying to help me find a way to stop it, she just wanted to throw formula at me. I'm not one to give up, and because I did my research, I knew that there was no way I was giving my baby formula. But, not every new mom knows where to look for the research, and because we're told that the hospitals are doing what's best for us, we just do as we're told.

St. Louis, MO has put up signs all over to support breastfeeding. I think one way that we can help new moms succeed in nursing to make it ok to nurse in public. Oh I know that it's legally ok, in fact most states have a law saying that a mom has the right to nurse in public, but I nurse in public and you get the rude people telling you how gross it is. It's not gross, it's normal, and I'm quick to set them straight.

Then you have people like Mayor Bloomburg who wants to lock up baby formula . While I don't doubt his intentions, I don't know that locking it up is the right thing to do. I think that if a mom requests formula, that it should be followed up with a visit from the lactation consultant to see if there are any issues, and see what they can do to help the mom breastfeed.

I also agree that the United States needs to get on board with extending maternity leave. I am very fortunate that I have such an amazing husband, who was so supportive of me quiting my job and staying home full time. But, there are so many families were that's not an option. The company I used to work for had a terrific breastfeeding room, were you could pump in private, and would allow you to break up your hour lunch so you could pump more during the day. I think more companies should follow suit. Trust me, a bathroom is NOT a suitable place to pump.

And finally, I think this is a terrific article.  I think more hospitals really do need to educate women that breast is not only best, but preferred. Most hospitals, and lactation consultants, are to quick to throw in the towel. God gave us the perfect food, for our babies, and people need to help women who are having a hard time producing or other problems. Not be so fast to throw a bottle of formula at them.

If you see a women nursing in public, please don't stare. I hope that in the next few years that we will not be so scandalized at the sight of a mom giving her child the perfect food, but will encourage her, help her and applaud her. It is a sacrifice, but it is so well worth it!

Until Next Time,

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