Support Mothers Who Breastfeed
Why it’s Important to Support Mothers Who Choose to Breastfeed
There are many health benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma. Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
There are also many the economic benefits of breastfeeding. Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200 to $1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone. A study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90 percent of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs. For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity. Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the company’s employee maternity and lactation program.
So for those mothers who are able and make the choice to breastfeed, it is important to have everyone realize their role in helping to make breastfeeding easier for mothers.
And that is why Maine has passed a Workplace Support Nursing Moms Law, as well as a Nursing in Public Support Policy. Municipalities and worksites are required to post this information with other Maine laws and are also encouraged to create policies that acknowledge and support a mother’s right to breastfeed in any location, public or private where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Employees and management are encouraged to have a positive, accepting attitude toward women who are breastfeeding in the building or on company property.
Many worksites already have written breastfeeding policies in place. Kudos to the town of Newry for recently adopting a policy that ensures support for nursing mothers. Municipalities and worksites that are looking for technical support in developing a breastfeeding policy can contact the River Valley Healthy Communities at 364-7408 or rvhcc@ gwi.net.
River Valley Healthy Communities