Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why do women choose breastfeeding?

It is World Breastfeeding Week! I know the thought of breastfeeding makes some people uncomfortable, but just knowing your rights as a nursing mom may make you feel more relaxed about the topic.

Illinois has six laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed. The La Leche League International lists Illinois law in detail.

1. Clarifying that breastfeeding is not public indecency
2. Authorizing a public information campaign
3. Providing for a program in WIC for lactation support, including payment for equipment and services
4. Providing accommodations for employed mothers who are breastfeeding
5. Clarifying a mother’s right to breastfeed in public
6. Exempting breastfeeding mothers from jury duty upon request.

I am not one of those people who turns her nose up to people who bottle feed. I just know from experience that a lot of people choose to bottle feed because that is what their mom did or what their friend did. Sometimes the decision is made to bottle feed because the mom doesn't know all the facts about the topic. Here's some information on why people choose to breastfeed:

The General Assembly finds that breast milk offers better nutrition, immunity, and digestion, and may raise a baby's IQ, and that breastfeeding offers other benefits such as improved mother-baby bonding, and its encouragement has been established as a major goal of this decade by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund. The General Assembly finds and declares that the Surgeon General of the United States recommends that babies be fed breastmilk, unless medically contraindicated, in order to attain an optimal healthy start.

This doesn't mean that if you choose to bottle feed you are a bad mother. It is just information lot of moms or soon-to-be moms don't know. I have had several smart women say to me they don't know whether they will try breastfeeding when they have a baby. Once I tell them why breastfeeding is recommended, they usually see why it might be a good idea to try it. And there are certainly women who try to breastfeed and it doesn't work out. That has to be frustrating!

If you are considering breastfeeding and you don't live in Illinois, here's a link to breastfeeding legislation in other states in the U.S. That way you know your rights before someone tells you can't take 10 minutes to pump during the work day.

BTW, my boss gave me time to pump everyday for 12 months. She gave me no grief about it, but I doubt all boss's are like that! I can see how with some jobs, pumping everyday just isn't possible. Good luck in your efforts!

I am handing out Awards to local companies who are breastfeeding friendly Wednesday on the Peoria Riverfront at Festival Park. The event is from 4-7p.m. The Central Illinois Breastfeeding Task Force will be giving away breast pumps, slings, baby t-shirts and a special grand prize! I hope to see you there!

Here's more on the law concerning breastfeeding.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.


Maria said...

We are still nursing-- 19 months plus 2 weeks. I quit pumping sometime around 13-15 months, but we still nurse when together. Formula was not an option for me. A lot of women quit in the first six weeks because it is hard, but if you can make it past that, it becomes significantly easier.

Breast really is best.

Kara said...

Many women are so unaware of the differences in breast and bottle feeding. There are risks associated with formula feeding, just like there are risks to smoking. You may have been fed formula and turned out just fine, just like not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. If a mom formula feeds, she is subjecting her baby to all kinds of illnesses and things that could have been prevented with breastmilk. And the sad part is, she isn't even aware of it. More people need to be educators of breastfeeding and make it what it is: The normal way to feed a baby. Breast is not best, it is normal. More education and support of nursing mothers will lead to prolonged breastfeeding and a healthier future generation.

Rachael said...

I chose to breastfeed because using formula increases my risk for breast and ovarian cancer, baby's risk for SIDS, allergies, asthma, ear infections, RSV, obesity, and the list goes on.

Breastfeeding was a challenge for me with the first child, but a snap with the second. Once I got the hang of it, it was the easiest thing in the world and so convenient! I nursed my first for 27 months and am still nursing my second at 32 months.

When I had trouble with my first child I was so surprised at all the bad advice I was given - even from doctors and nurses. Lucky I was determined to succeed and find good help or I wouldn't have made it. The key to successful nursing is education and a good support system. Prepare yourself first by taking a class! Find an IBCLC in your area.

An outspoken women once told me that unfortunately, most women would spend more time figuring out a new computer program or hanging on hold for technical support for their ipod than looking for professional help and putting in the time to resolve their breastfeeding issue/problem. That is so true, and sad.

newsanchormom.com said...

Here's a comment we got on this story from the HOI News Wesite:

Breastmilk - the normal food for babies Posted by Suellen Williams, Franklin, Indiana - Thursday, August 07, 2008at 11:55 a.m.

This story makes me proud to be a Peorian by birth (at Methodist Hospital - a Silver award winner)! Happy World Breastfeeding Week, Peoria - looks like you are helping to grow smart, healthy babies and families!

vltfx said...

I am the owner of Fox & Hounds Hair Studio and Day Spa in Bloomington and we were very honored to have been recognized for providing a pumping area and the necessities for our breast feeding mothers. It is just "the right thing to do" and I am always amazed that this would be handled any other way by an employer. We had 12 babies born by employees or their wives over a three year period and we are very proud of our Fox & Hounds "family". So many of the celebrations and gatherings of our employees over the past few years had been at restaurants or bars and now we are planning them at parks and family friendly restaurants!! It is great fun to watch these young families grow and to see the healthy babies as a result of so many of them breast feeding. When the babies are healthier, the parents are happier and my business and customers benefit. Everybody wins!!

Maria said...

That's great vltfx! More employers should follow your lead! :)

SallyN said...

I chose breastfeeding because, as I told Beth and Michele (Pekin Hospital)... "why wouldn't I?"

Actually, I was worried that I 'wouldn't' be able to. As a migraine sufferer, pre-pregnancy I'd been on a daily preventative medication that I wasn't confident/certain of the safety to take while breastfeeding.

Thankfully, the hormones associated with breastfeeding actually helped keep the migraines at bay, so I haven't even had to consider returning to the meds!

Finally, I'd like to give additional thanks to the breastfeeding supportive businesses. Sadly, as we were going through the nomination process, we encountered more than one company that didn't even want to be nominated! Hopefully, we'll be able to bring them around that supporting breastfeeding truly IS "Smart Business".

SallyN said...

Oh goodness, I totally forgot to mention... My daughter was a refluxer... so even though it was challenging to be nursing her practically all the time, in order to get enough to stay in her belly... I couldn't even imagine how much the extra formula would have cost! (Added bonus... breastmilk spitup doesn't stain!)

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