Breastfeeding Advocates Focus on Legislation
By Christine Cupaiuolo — August 6, 2007
Women’s eNews has a comprehensive story about breastfeeding legislation and the differences that exist between some states.
“With states so uneven on breastfeeding rights, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., thinks a federal law is needed and introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2007 to encourage continued breastfeeding by working mothers,” writes Nancy Cook Lauer, a reporter in Hawaii who has covered the battle in that state for increased protections for women breastfeeding in public.
“While the health, social and economic benefits are many, the barriers to breastfeeding are numerous as well, from the challenges of working mothers, short maternity leaves and general employer and public lack of awareness and support for mothers who breastfeed,” Nancy Partika, executive director of the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii, told lawmakers considering that state’s resolution.
We’re now in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week, which is sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, a partnership that includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, La Leche League International and a host of lactation specialists and consultants.
“The event, which will be celebrated in more than 120 countries from Aug. 1 through Aug. 7 this year, includes an attempt to create a Guinness World Record on synchronized breastfeeding in multiple sites,” writes Lauer. “The event will start at 10 a.m. local time in each country on Aug. 8. Participants register at the Breastfeeding World Web site to be counted.”
I think legislation guaranteeing breastfeeding rights is a fantastic idea, as long as breastfeeding advocates remember to keep women in the equation. While it is clear that breastmilk is by far the best food for babies, the reality is that there will always be women who, for whatever reason, will not breastfeed (or will not breastfeed for long enough to satisfy advocates). Increasing the already substantial pressures placed on young mothers by making them feel guilty for not breastfeeding is wrong. Breastfeeding advocates must be careful not to overstep the fine line between empowerment of mothers and ideological ferver.
I agree with Maggie’s comment. One of my dear friend’s baby just did not take to breastfeeding. Jaime did not have a choice. Sophia made it for her. She should not ever feel guilty about it.