Day 12: What Not To ExpectPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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Officially a Mom


Putting that Backfield in Motion since 2003

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Making it work

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I thought I would share an article I wrote for my company's newsletter:

Whether or not to breastfeed is one of the most important decisions a new mother can make. There is no right or wrong choice but the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, and American Dietetic Association recommend breastfeeding as best for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding should continue until 12 months (and beyond) if both the mother and baby are willing. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding should continue for the first 24 months (and beyond) if both mother and baby are willing.

Ample scientific evidence supports the contention that breast-fed babies are less vulnerable to acute infectious diseases, including respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, experts say. Some studies also suggest that breastfed babies are at a lower risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and chronic diseases later in life such as asthma, lymphoma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months may even protect against obesity. In addition, women who breastfeed face lower risks of type 2 diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer, and osteoporosis.

Though about 70 percent of new mothers start breast-feeding right after childbirth, just over a third are breast-feeding at 6 months and fewer than 20 percent are exclusively breast-feeding by that time. Those numbers are even lower for working moms. The goal of Healthy People 2010 is for 75 percent of new mothers to start breastfeeding right after childbirth, half to be breastfeeding at 6 months, and 25 percent to be breastfeeding at one year.

For moms who work and wish to continue breastfeeding once their maternity leave is over, breastfeeding presents a whole new set of challenges. Urging women to breastfeed exclusively is a tall order in a country where more than 60 percent of mothers of very young children work, federal law requires large companies to provide only 12 weeks' unpaid maternity leave and lactation leave is unheard of. Studies indicate that women who continue to breastfeed once returning to work miss less time from work because of baby-related illnesses, and have shorter absences when they do miss work, compared with women who do not breastfeed. Even with the substantial benefits to be gleaned by encouraging working mothers to breastfeed, only a third of large companies provide a private, secure area where women can express breast milk during the workday, and only 7 percent offer on-site or near-site child care, according to a 2005 national study of employers by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute.

Working mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding are fortunate here at ----- because our ----- is one of the few employers to provide a private, secure lactation room. If you are an expecting mother who is planning on continuing to breastfeed after you return to work, please speak with your supervisor or ----- ----- regarding your options. Breastfeeding and working can be difficult at times but with the health benefits for mom and baby and the potential cost savings for employers, it is win-win-win for everyone.

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