Breastfeeding among moms isn’t getting the support we should be giving it.
Last year’s Time magazine cover for “Are You Mom Enough?” stirred up controversy over the support of breastfeeding among moms. The real scandal is not about late breastfeeding. The real scandal is that breastfeeding itself isn’t getting the support it needs, and as a result, new moms aren’t breastfeeding early enough, or long enough.
In a new report, Save the Children says that over 800,000 babies could be saved every year if they were breastfed in the first hour of life. The first milk provides powerful antibodies to fight deadly disease. Immediate breastfeeding tends to lead to exclusive breastfeeding for six months, which can save even more lives.
According to the Huffington Post, four factors contribute the the lack of support breastfeeding receives.
First, community and cultural pressure make women feel ashamed of the act, making the experience awkward from the get-go.
Second, health worker shortages prevent new mothers from getting the opportunity to breastfeed early. The first milking is frowned upon in favor of most likely polluted water, and health workers aren’t able to explain the benefits if they aren’t there.
Third, lack of maternity legislation means that we aren’t legally able to give women the freedom to breastfeed in public or the workplace. Plus, there don’t seem to be any laws protecting them.
Fourth, inappropriate marketing of breastfeeding substitutes makes the options something you have to look into rather than understand right off. The most beneficial practices are made cost-prohibitive and actually frowned-upon.
What can you do to support breastfeeding? Raise your voice for moms everywhere by signing a petition asking the United States to renew the 1,000 Days Call to Action at savethechildren.org.
How do you feel about breastfeeding not getting the support it should?