For better or for worse, breastfeeding has become a topic of conversation for many people. From the infamous Time magazine cover to the ladies of The View spreading false information about breastfeeding, it seems to be on everyone's lips. Everyone has an opinion on it and they're often polarizing. I'm not going to voice my opinion on the Time cover because it has been said a million times by every other mom out there.
Just a few days ago, Save the Children released its State of the World’s Mothers Report for 2012. The United States came in last for breastfeeding support. It was posted several times on Facebook and was usually followed with the question "Surprised?". Sadly, almost all the answers I read said no, nursing moms were not surprised at this ranking.
To me it was sad, but not surprising. We live in a country that prides itself on being the best in everything, yet we have the lowest paid maternity leave out (as in NONE) of all industrialized nations, breastfeeding moms are paid less over time, and only 141 out of 5754 registered hospitals in the US have WHO certified as Baby Friendly. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law doesn't apply to half of working moms. Lets not forget that we chastise mothers for nursing in public and extended breastfeeding has been likened to a form of child abuse. No wonder we are last on the list. We have a lot to work on, America!
Here's a good place to start: read about the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011. It expands the current Break Time for Nursing Mothers law to include all nursing moms. The current laws only protect non-exempt or hourly employees. Passing the BF Promotion Act would entitle salaried nursing moms (teachers, admins, engineers, etc) to the same protected break time and ensure that they would not get fired or be discriminated against for breastfeeding. Because that already happened earlier this year.
This started off as a post, but quickly turned into a rant. As a breastfeeding mom, I'm really sick of the stereotypes and false information. I want to set people straight by educating them and supporting existing moms. I don't want my future daughter to have to deal with some of the issues breastfeeding moms are dealing with today. Yes I realize how trite that sounds, but if you know me even just a little bit, you will know that is really how I feel. I'm trying to "be the change I want to see in the world."