Posted tagged ‘pumping’

Boobs In The News

April 12, 2010

A few nights ago  my husband shared this article with me :

I know I’m opening a HUGE  can of worms here but I’ll just start the ball rolling with two words : Healthcare bill.  Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves.  Moving on…

Page 1239 of the new healthcare bill President Obama signed states employers will be required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Only companies with less than 50 employees can claim it’s an undue hardship.

Let me start by saying that as a nursing mother this makes me really happy!  I’m not even thinking of myself here because I pump in my car since my job doesn’t offer a pumping facility and I’m okay with that.  I’m just excited that the US may possibly be taking a step back from all the formula pushing and promoting and actually trying to help moms do what nature intended for women to do  – use our bodies to nourish our children. I’ve read a lot of articles recently that discuss the US and it’s promotion of formula in developing countries that don’t even have safe, fresh water to mix it with. That means we’re actually contributing to the increasing health risks in developing countries.

This section of the bill also forces employers to “enable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk”

Quoting from the linked article :

“A 2009 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while 74 percent of women start breastfeeding, only 33 percent of mothers relied on breastfeeding only at three months. At six months, the numbers go down to 14 percent.”

I had my first child just 2 months shy of turning 19 and I had absolutely no knowledge of the normal course of breastfeeding. My own mother nursed both of her children but we had such a strained relationship that I couldn’t ask her for any guidance and I was too embarrassed to talk to a doctor or lactation consultant about something that was supposed to come natural to me but didn’t.  I hung in there for the 1st week, which is a very important week, but no longer.

When my second child was born my husband helped me prepare for breastfeeding the only way we know how – we bought a lot of stuff!  We got the “non-nipple confusion causing bottles”, the $300 pump, the nipple creams, the nursing bras, nursing pads, books, EVERYTHING related to breastfeeding.  As it would turn out, breastfeeding is just damn hard even when you’re doing everything right.  In retrospect, I really was doing everything right  but at the time I felt like I had to fight my son to get him to latch and that he cried more than a happily satiated baby should.  I basically felt  like a complete failure at nurturing.  I tried to go to a breastfeeding support group at my husband’s suggestion but I was crying so hard in front of a group of strangers that I couldn’t even talk about the problems I was having.  I was too embarrassed to come back.  That breastfeeding experience lasted about 2 months.

For my third attempt at breastfeeding I didn’t invest in anything other than the necessary nursing bra and I literally bought just one.  I didn’t expect to come anywhere near my goal of nursing for the first year and didn’t want to throw anymore money away at the threshold of a Babies R Us.  Miraculously when Maddox was born we were a great nursing team!  He latched on immediately and it was a perfect fit.  No pain, no wrestling with him…no tears from either of us!  It was exhilarating to think that my boobs weren’t broken after all!  However we had a well-meaning pediatrician who was concerned that he was losing weight.  Mind you almost ALL babies lose weight in the first week after birth AND he was a scheduled c-section, which means I was loaded up with fluids before the surgery.  It made sense to me that we would both be puffy with fluid retention and it would go away after delivery.  Apparent the doctor didn’t think so.  This is when I realized that although doctors tell patients that “breast is best” they’re terrified of giving misinformation or being sued so they tell you to supplement with a little formula the moment something seems to be going wayward. Since breast milk production is a supply and demand process, supplementing with formula can be the end of a dream to exclusively breastfeed for the first year of your baby’s life.  The more formula you offer, the less milk you produce. Often feedings replaced by formula start increasing and it becomes easier to just switch to formula completely.

Instead of supplementing, I shed a lot of tears and did a lot of reading and emailing to my sister-in-law (who breastfed both of her kids) and spent an entire weekend laying bed with my new baby doing nothing but nursing.  And guess what?  I was RIGHT!  My baby didn’t need formula, he needed patience and a little bit of time.  He’s now almost 8 months old and still exclusively breastfed!

Breastfeeding is a DAMN hard thing to do! I am so so so very fortunate to have a boss and a team of coworkers who have never once questioned my need to frequently pump.  I have also never been questioned about the length of time it takes.  Without the support of my boss and co-workers I surely would have fallen into the vicious cycle of formula supplementation. So cheers to the 14 percent!  I hope the numbers of breastfeeding moms begin to grow with the help of this new bill!