Happy World Breastfeeding Week

New healthcare reform bill supports breastfeeding moms.

I’m writing this blog in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. How many of you breastfed your babies? I’d like to know your feelings about it. My three kids were all breastfed babies, and I’m glad I did it. But I’ll be the first to admit, it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.

Before you think I’m going all negative on breastfeeding, I’m not. But with my first child, I did have a lot of difficulties, and it was due more to my own ignorance than anything else. I don’t think I entirely got the “latching on” part and ended up with so much soreness and bleeding that it felt like electroshock every time I started nursing. Obviously, if I was willing to endure pain, I was determined.

If you’re the type of person who is reading a blog about breastfeeding, then you probably are already familiar with the many benefits of breastfeeding, both for baby and mom. I knew those benefits, too, which was the reason I was so determined to breastfeed.

One thing that I don’t think I entirely realized was that it takes major maturity, determination and support to breastfeed. Fortunately, I had all of those. With my first child (Poor kid. He had to be an experiment for everything.), I also was constantly second-guessing whether or not he was “getting enough.” Even though he was growing and gaining weight, I still questioned. Ah, just the beginning of the uncertainties of parenthood.

If you want support or information about breastfeeding, the La Leche League is always a great resource. The Tulsa Health Department also has resources for moms. I just got a nice press release from them in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. The Health Department points out that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive only human milk (no formula, food or water) for the first 6 months of life.

While many women start out breastfeeding, a return to work often interrupts them. While 77.6 percent of Oklahoma mothers breastfeed initially, only 25.4 percent continue for 6 months or longer. Work is the primary reason that mothers wean their babies early.

With the new healthcare reform bill, working moms who breastfeed are getting a little support.  Here are some of the points for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

  • Employers must provide women in the workforce a reasonable break time and space to express their milk for their babies.
  • This must be provided for one year after the child’s birth.
  • The place employers provide must not be a bathroom. It must be shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers and the public.
  • Employers are not required to pay their employees for the time they spend expressing their milk.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 workers are exempt from these requirements if they would pose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the business.

Oklahoma already has a program in place to recognize worksites that have met criteria to become breastfeeding friendly. These worksites allow flexible break times and a private location for nursing mothers to express milk, have access to a nearby water source for washing hands and breast pump equipment, and have a written breastfeeding policy.

Do you have any advice for new moms, or any breastfeeding stories of your own?  Was it easy? Did you have problems? Share here.


Categories: Editor’s Blog