Mama Knows Breast

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Breastfeeding Challenges for Working Moms

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To state the obvious…The New York Times is reporting that breastfeeding is easier for “professional” working moms, than it is for “working class” moms. In this front page story, the Times highlights the differences at Starbucks. At the corporate offices in Seattle, moms have a special lactation room and company-supplied pumps. Women who work in the Starbucks coffee shops, on the other hand, have to pump in the same bathroom that customers use.
Is this really news? Or is the Times finally telling a story that needs to be told? Health care professionals tell us that breast milk is the “gold standard” for infant nutrition, but our working culture makes breastfeeding a big challenge.
Moms who work in restaurants, department stores and factories have to jump through hoops to find a place and time to pump. Even under the best of circumstances, moms who have a private office, designated lactation room or conference room, find that they have to explain to their bosses, colleagues and clients that they are unavailable at certains times of the day because they need to pump. Let’s face it, breastfeeding is simply much easier for moms who are able to stay home with their babies. They don’t have to worry about pumping often enough during the day to maintain their milk supply.
According to the New York Times article, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is about to launch a campaign called “The Business Case for Breastfeeding.” This will emphasize findings that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism and pediatrician bills. But is an ad campaign really going to change anything for women in this country? Maybe, maybe not. At a minimum, it can’t hurt. Even if one company finds a way to make it easier for breastfeeding moms, then it’s a start. For the forseeable future, be prepared to fight your own battles.
So what’s your experience? How supportive is your office?

It’s World Breastfeeding Week

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A whole week…August 1 to 7…devoted to none other than our favorite topic– breastfeeding. La Leche League is behind this. So if you were wondering why you keep seeing so many news stories about breastfeeding, this is the reason. Reporters need a news peg after all!

Breastfeeding Linked to Reduced Bedwetting

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Ok, so just when you thought that they couldn’t come up with another study showing the benefits of breastfeeding, here’s one for you. Breastfeed kids are less likely to wet their beds. That’s the news according to a study done by researchers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s children’s hospital and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Here’s the story.

The New York Times Takes a Stand

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In an editorial, The New York Times, has taken a position on the government sponsored campaign to promote breastfeeding. To summarize…The NYT says, it’s good for the government to educate people about the benefits of breastfeeding, but not to make people feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed. Here’s a link to the article.

Nursing Moms Protest At Victoria’s Secret

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Victoria’s Secret sells boobs. Let’s face it. That’s how they get men to buy lingerie. So their advertisements are far from prudish. Ironic then, that two women, one in Wisonsin and one in Massachusetts, who wanted to breastfeed at the store were told to take their baby and her breasts elsewhere. Victoria’s Secret says the employees who told the women to leave were mistaken; the company allows breastfeeding in the store.
So what’s a mom to do? Protest. There were nusing sit-ins at stores across the country this weekend.

Comments on the NYT Breastfeeding Article

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A couple of weeks ago the NYT ran a big article about the benefits of breastfeeding. The article focused on a government public health campaign to promote breastfeeding. Conversations about the article and the campaign now continue on the internet. “Breast-feed or Else” was the article’s title. Now NYT blogger Judith Warner has written an entry “Why Vilify Mothers Who Bottle-Feed?” Check out the more than one hundred comments to her blog entry.

Another Breastfeeding Benefit–Preventing Obesity

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Breatfed babies are less likely to put on extra weight. That’s the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s The New York Times story.

Senator Proposes Warning Label on Formula

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Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is proposing that formula manufacturers be required to put warning labels on formula stating the breast milk is the ideal way to feed infants. The bill also has a provision aimed at making workplaces offer accomodations to moms who need to pump or breastfeed.
Here’s a link to his proposed bill. See Titles II and III. This proposal is part of a larger bill aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles for all Americans.

Government Ad Campaign Encourages Breastfeeding

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The government is encouraging mothers to breastfeed with an aggressive advertising campaign. The Department of Health and Human Services’ ads suggest that not breastfeeding is actually dangerous to your baby’s health. One of the television ads shows a pregnant woman clutching her stomach while riding a mechanical bull in a bar. The suggestion…its risky to ride a bull, and risky to give your baby formula. The slogan of the campaign…Babies Were Born to Be Breastfed.
Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa is going one step further. He has proposed putting warning labels on cans of infant formula. Here’s an article about this from The New York Times, as well as a Today Show segment that has clips from the television commercials.

Breastfeeding Wherever, Whenever

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A number of states, including Mississippi, are passing laws that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. How does your state compare?