In recognition of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), below are some helpful guidelines for working moms who wish to breastfeed.
WBW is celebrated every year in more than 170 countries. Its purpose is to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It also encourages government agencies, professional health organizations and advocates to work together to promote awareness of the many benefits of breastfeeding. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make it Work!” revisits the 1993 WBW campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Intitiative. Much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding after birth and continuing until a baby is at least six months old. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while a baby continues to be breastfeed for one year or beyond.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card – United States 2012, exclusive breastfeeding rates in California are 21.7 percent. Although these rates are improving every year, supporting breastfeeding mothers who return to work is key to increasing these numbers. Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to use these strategies:
- Buy or rent a double electric breast pump before returning to work. Breast pumps are a covered benefit under most insurance plans. Choosing a high-quality electric pump is particularly important for working moms.
- Utilize professional support to solve breastfeeding issues. Most birth hospitals offer lactation consultations. WIC and La Leche League support groups are available in most communities. Kellymom.com posts helpful evidence-based information for breastfeeding moms.
- When moms return to work, they can utilize a pump room at their worksite. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide “reasonable break time and a place” for an employee to express breast milk.
- Breastfeeding may lower health care costs, fosters better employee retention rates, and boosts productivity and loyalty to employers.
- The USDA provides a variety of breastfeeding resources at http://wicworks.nal.usda.gov/breastfeeding.
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