Monday, August 3, 2015

Breastfeeding and Work....Let's Make it Work!

Welcome to World Breastfeeding Week!

What is WBW, you ask? Well, as explained on this website:
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed in 1991 to act on the Innocenti Declaration (1990) to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. As part of its action plan to facilitate and strengthen social mobilisation for breastfeeding, WABA envisioned a global unifying breastfeeding promotion strategy. A day dedicated to breastfeeding was suggested to be marked in the calendar of international events. The idea of a day's celebration was later turned into a week.
This has become to be known as World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) celebrated every 1-7 August to commemorate the Innocenti Declaration. WBW was first celebrated in 1992. Now it involves over 170 countries and is endorsed by UNICEF, WHO, FAO and IPA coordinates all WBW efforts and there are all kinds of events and things going on worldwide to spread the knowledge about breastfeeding and to hopefully increase breastfeeding rates worldwide.

This year's theme of "Breastfeeding and Work....Let's Make It Work" is pretty timely, especially here in the US. We can tell every single new mama that she should stay home with her baby, nurse him, bond with him, raise him, as much as we want to. Unfortunately that is not practical, nor is it a reality for a pretty large majority of women in this country.

Most women I know either work or go to school. In my work, I've met moms that have to go back to work within a week of giving birth. Yes - you read that right - one week. They just can't afford to take longer than that off. It's heartbreaking. Others are in school and can't take much time off or they'll fall too far behind. I remember taking a college course many years ago and there was a very pregnant young girl in my class. One week she showed up with her newborn. She didn't take any time off at all and when asked about the baby (and being commended for being there) said she had the baby a few days earlier.

I'm really hoping that something can be done about all of these poor mamas that are thrown right into work or school so soon after birthing a sweet miracle.

But in the meantime, mamas need support to continue the all-important breastfeeding relationship with their little squishes!

Employers would be very wise to put policies in place that help mamas continue breastfeeding their wee ones. Being a breastfeeding friendly employer attracts and helps retain employees. Healthcare costs are hugely reduced, and because of the health benefits for babies that continue as they grow into older children, parents (i.e. employees) are much less likely to have to miss work to be with an ill child. Breastfeeding employees who are supported in the workplace also report higher productivity and loyalty.

Seriously - breastfeeding offers SO many benefits to everyone - if your employer isn't too keen on getting you enough time or a private place that's not a bathroom to express your milk you should talk to them about some of the benefits of supporting you. There are some great resources out there to get them the information.

Also, don't forget that Educated Mommy offers a "Going Back to Work" support group where you can get some support as you head back after having your little one. The group meets the 2nd Saturday (that's THIS coming Saturday!) morning of each month at 9 am. Check it out!

Until then, keep nursing mama - you're doing a great job!


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