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Surgeon General: Help make breastfeeding easier for moms
January 20th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

Surgeon General: Help make breastfeeding easier for moms

Breastfeeding seems to be the most natural thing in the world and is recommended as the optimal form of nutrition for newborns, yet many moms find it difficult to do for a variety of reasons.  This is why the Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin is launching a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin talks with CNN's Kiran Chetry about the call for breastfeeding support

Benjamin says the number of women breastfeeding in the United States is low compared with other countries, and “we'd like to change that.” Her plan identifies 20 different things families, employers, health care professionals and communities can do “to help encourage women to breastfeed and give them the support they need.”

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year, 75% of new moms initiate breastfeeding. At 3 months only 33% of moms are only feeding their infants breast milk and at 6 months only 13% are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies.  Benjamin points out that the numbers for African-American women are even lower – 22% at 3 months and only 8% are still exclusively breastfeeding by the time their little one is 6 months old.

The World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months because it benefits babies and mothers.  Breast milk contains antibodies, which can protect babies from ear infections, digestive problems, and severe lung infections.  Studies also suggest it protect babies against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and asthma. Moms also benefit, according to a report issued by Benjamin’s predecessor,  former acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson,  which says breastfeeding benefits for moms include “reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as breast and ovarian cancers.”

Benjamin says “something happens between when they [moms] start breastfeeding and 6 months,” and she is trying to help change this.

She recognizes that some women are simply unable to breastfeed because the babies are not latching on and she is not trying to make them feel bad for not doing so.  She suggests that while these moms may not be able to directly feed their babies, encouraging them to express their breast milk and then giving it to the baby in the bottle is another way for the infant to get mom's nutrient-filled and protective milk.

Any woman who has breastfed can attest to it being a learned skill that requires patience.  Both mom and baby have to learn how to do this and if you first do not succeed, encouragement from family and instruction from a lactation expert can prevent a mother from giving up.  According to the CDC, 1 in 4 breastfed babies also is getting formula within 2 days of birth.

Benjamin’s plan calls for developing programs to educate spouses and grandparents about the benefits of breastfeeding, but also for support groups within communities and for hospitals and health care professionals to provide support and help for moms when they leave the hospital.

Having access to prenatal care and instruction on how to breastfeed before the baby is born can help moms prepare for what’s ahead. But for many women who want to breastfeed, the support to do so is often lacking, particularly when they return to work.

According to the “Call to Action,” half of all mothers with children under age 1 were working in 2009 and more than two-thirds were employed full time.

While they’re at work, moms need to pump their breast milk, so their infants can be bottle-fed mom’s milk while they’re away.  However, if mom can’t take a break to pump, or there isn’t a private place for her to set-up to pump, she may feel as if  she doesn't have much of a choice but to discontinue breastfeeding.  Benjamin says women working in low-income jobs have a  particularly difficult time pumping at work.

Over the next 6 months to a year, Benjamin says she wants to have a constant conversation and raise awareness about helping women breastfeed. “We want to get them [businesses] to understand that there are some economic benefits – it helps to retain good employees. Companies who have lactation programs or breastfeeding programs tend to keep their employees longer.”


soundoff (757 Responses)
  1. Ingrid F. RN.NP

    Breastfeeding has nothing to do with political appointments, only with healthy Moms and infants. All major health organizations and providers here and abroad are unanomous on this. Employed Moms can provide breastmilk, by nursing and or pumping, this is preventive health care. Been there, done that. Healthy grown kids,and healthy senior me is my proof.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RedinAustin

      As the youngest of four bottle fed babies (ages now ranging from 32-46), who all grew up to be healthy, successful, and intelligent, and who have a mother that is also healthy, I'm guess there are other reasons why your children grew up healthy and you remain a healthy senior. It's just too simplistic to believe the only reason was that you breastfed. I would expect more from an RN.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • Ditto

      Red, I couldn't agree more. Kinda like when a mother-to-be avoids smoking, drinking, etc. and their child is still born with issues. Whether it be while carrying the child or BF it's all striving to be healthy to avoid unnecessary risks for our children. Bottom line, there's no guarantees in life so we do what we can and hope for the best.

      January 21, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Me Too...bottle fed and healthy with a Master's to boot! and approaching 50..wow

      January 21, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • Barb

      Like:)

      January 23, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
  2. Rebecca

    As a mom who's currently breastfeeding her son (though not exclusively), I just want to say... STOP IT WITH THE OBSESSION WITH BREASTFEEDING! You know what would've helped me more? Someone at my side saying "I understand that you can't produce enough because pumping at work is not producing what you need. The most important thing is to keep food in your baby, even if it's a mix, and to relax and enjoy what you can give him." Someone to help me learn how to adapt to my body and my life and still make what little breast milk I could give him work. Someone to tell me to stop listening to all of the breastfeeding nuts out there and that it's okay to not be some super mom.

    We don't need programs to tell us how to do things that our bodies may not be up to doing. We need programs that teach how to make every chaotic thing in our life fit so that we can enjoy those 15 minutes of breastfeeding without feeling like we're not doing enough.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Renee

      Very well put, Rebecca!

      January 20, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • Colleen

      I agree 100%. I couldn't pump enough times at work to keep up with demand, and supplemented. I think more encouragement about making it work for the mother and baby would be better than the current message of "Breastfeed only for six months to one year".

      January 20, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • queenlybluebean

      It's ashame that mothers who are not successful with breastfeeding often take a defensive position about their inability. It is a personal choice, as well as the first important decision a new mother makes. Why in the world should we who support such wonderful nourishment for babies be quiet about it? And why do you need to call us "nuts"?

      I'm sorry you were unable to nurse your child, but it isn't the fault of those of us who did and do nurse. It's the fault of an economic system and a health care system that are focused on monetary gain, not on the well being of children and families. You make the situation worse when you take your anger out on people who are trying hard to be the best parents we can be.

      January 20, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Whorhay

      So what you are saying is that your reading comprehension is poor and that you agree with the Surgeon General in encouraging support for Mothers who want to breast feed?

      January 20, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      queenly: I am assuming you never had problems with a preemie who physically couldn't latch, or a child who was so hungry and lost TWO POUNDS of his birth weight b/c you weren't producing ANY milk, even though you were connected to a pump or a baby's mouth 24/7 ... must've come easy for you, and it doesn't for everyone. The reason people like "me" get so defensive is b/c people like you – The Boob Nazi's – feel it is nothing more than a choice that I did not exclusively breastfeed. Believe me, honey, I desperately wanted to breastfeed and did everything in my power – including daily trips to a lactation consultant who was an hour away from my home – to make that happen. The lactation consultant was WONDERFUL and encouraging, but finally told me: keep at it, but your child needs to eat – give him some formula. And eat he did. My little oinker was eating (and not spitting up) 8 oz. at a time when he was one week old. So you can keep your self-righteous and sanctimonious opinions to yourself, b/c you have not been in my (or Rebecca's) shoes. My children are all of above-average intelligence, healthy, loved and active. And they all had formula at some point in their infancies. Gasp! I guess I am a sucky parent, after all ...

      Rebecca: I'm so sorry you didn't receive the support you needed. I was very lucky. My son was a "breastle" fed baby until he turned a year – at least a little breast milk every day, but some formula too. It was mostly formula after he turned 6 months old, b/c I had so little supply and he was a piggy and preferred solids anyways. I did what I could – which is better than nothing – and the important people in my life supported me (dr's, nurses, lactation people, husband, family, etc). With my third child, breastfeeding came a little easier (thankfully!). I hope you have a better experience in the future. But as long as you are doing what is best for you and your family, that's the only expectation this world should have. And everyone else should butt out!

      January 20, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      Queenlybluebean is spot on. Kate, your anger is misplaced and inappropriate. It is nothing like committing genocide to assert that breastfeeding has always been and always will be healthier for a baby than formula. Calling others Nazis is offensive and infantile. Does it matter how babies are fed? Yes, it does. When my taxes go towards free formula from WIC, and my health insurance premiums go up because of childhood ailments commonly caused by not breastfeeding, YES, it does affect me. When I read about formula-fed preemies who die from NEC, which could have been prevented if they had been breastfed, it does matter. To the almost 1000 babies who die in the U.S. every year from simply not being breastfed, it does matter. To the formula-fed babies who die from SIDS at a rate greater than twice as often as breastfed babies, it does matter.

      I DO understand that breastfeeding is hard. Maybe you should have walked a mile in MY shoes as I pumped for 4 months while my son was in the NICU and then I was still able to get him exclusively breastfeeding once he came home, by nursing him about 15 times a day to help him get the hang of it. Those who advocate breastfeeding aren't guaranteed an easy start with it.

      Don't be so bitter towards those who try to encourage the best possible start for infants. As mothers, we should want nothing less for every baby born.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
    • New Mom

      Across the border, Canadian mothers get 1 year maternity leave with 50% of their salary through EI. Most companies top up to 100% for 5 months. It is worth every penny they pay as taxes. SG and BF advocates should push for social reforms to make our lives easier than war mongering. I am will be back to work next week and my 3 month old will be bottle fed.

      January 20, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
    • shauna

      the fact that you are breastfeeding at all is awesome...if someone gave you slack about not EBF then that's wrong. and i promise they're the exception, not the norm. (self proclaimed breastfeeding nut ^_^)

      January 20, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • shauna

      @queenlybluebean very good point!

      @whorhey why are you attacking her?

      January 20, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • BFAdvocate

      Rebecca, I think maybe you misread the article. And for all you that agreed with her, as a mother who EBF her son for 7 months, it was wonderful to have the support of many Dr's, RN, IBCLCs, LLL Leaders, family, friends, and so forth. Even when my son was slow on the weight gain chart I powered through. This is great that the government is trying to make breastfeeding easier for moms who CHOOSE to breastfeed, just like the government makes moms who CHOOSE to formula feed lives easier by providing programs to assist with formula costs for those that can't afford it. If you choose to formula feed, either exclusively or not, that's your choice no one judges you. Though I am biased towards breastfeeding, I support all mothers in their endeavors to nourish their children either through breastfeeding or formula and I'm glad that breastfeeding is making a comback!

      January 20, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      @ queenlybluebean: It's not the difficulties I faced while breastfeeding my baby that makes me defensive towards the nuts. My issue is with the fact that there is no support for those of us who need to find a middle ground between the two extremes.

      If you look at the statistics above, all they talk about is "exclusive" breastfeeding when it comes to the numbers... 75% down to 13%. Of those 62% of women who are no longer EBF at six months, how many of them are still partially feeding their babies with bmilk, while also giving them formula and food? I would bet that quite a large percentage of them are.

      I am all for more support going towards mothers to help them breastfeed their children. However, this article, as well as the women and men who I consider the nuts, only focus on one extreme or the other... either exclusive or give up all together. There needs to be networks and support for women whose need to find a middle ground, regardless of their reasons, and instead of a "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding," it should be a "Call to Action to Support Mothers." ("Support Finding a Balance Between Breastfeeding and Keeping Both Mom and Baby Healthy and Happy" is a bit long, so I shortened it to Mothers.)

      To those who've responded with support and encouragement, thanks! I fully understand that being a mom is hard work, and breastfeeding is for most (and has been for me) a HARD thing to do, but love the fact that at 8m, my little boy is still getting in his morning and before bed "snacks" of bmilk and that I have found a middle ground that lets me enjoy these precious first months of his life.

      To others out there who are struggling, understand that while breastfeeding is healthy for your baby, your baby getting enough food and you having the energy to gush and dote on the little one is also just as important.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      Also to clarify, I have not misread the article. I am just annoyed and commenting over what I'm *not* seeing in the article.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Thank you Rebecca for this post! I completely agree! CNN – buzz off! Surgeon General – buzz off! Breast feeding is SUCH a personal decison. So many factors go into the decision. Please keep this between a woman and her doctor and her family!

      January 20, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • LG

      What works for you is not for everybody!! You may not have needed the extra help but you know what there a lot of mothers who do. The point is to make it EASIER IF a woman wants to.

      January 21, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I wuz not breastfed but can reed just fine, thank yee.

      January 21, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
    • Becky

      I was only able to breastfeed for 5 weeks, because I too wasn't able to produce enough milk. But to be upset about people promoting breastfeeding and creating more and better opportunities for those can just seems silly and completely unnecessary. Clearly you know that breastfeeding is a good thing or else you would have never tried from the beginning. I couldn't breastfeed so I used formula. I was calm and happy to be able to care for my child. I am pregnant with my 2nd child and I am excited to have the chance to try breastfeeding again and hope it works out better with this child, but if it doesn't, I will get over it, and I will still be a proponent of breastfeeding. So, no offense, but Rebecca, it sounds to me like you are the one who needs to get over it.

      January 22, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      What is sad is that you are expected to return to work just days after giving birth, and continue being super-productive, bring home the money, AND raise your baby perfectly. All moms deserve a 3 month maternity leave to give their babies and themselves that critical time. I breastfed 4 babies. It was really hard with the first, the anxiety was the biggest issue.

      February 11, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
  3. Jesse

    I love how people are making breastfeeding political. STFU. This is very important. Breastfeeding is hard. But it is so important for your baby. I basically cried for 2 months straight with my son. It was painful and time consuming and I sat up straight in a chair in my living room for the whole 2 months just getting the hang of it. And since my baby went through so many growth spurts he was latched on for what felt like 24/7. Now, I know I'm lucky to have been not working during those crucial first months of his life. But you can express the milk and pump and give it to the baby. Now aside from all the pain and struggle and sleep deprivation, it was the best thing I ever did. My son was weaned at 17 months old and although I was glad to have my boobs back (lol) it was a huge bittersweet moment. I wish all those new mothers out there good luck in their breastfeeding journey!

    January 20, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BFAdvocate

      Jesse, you are right on! This is not political.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  4. Jesse

    And nobody should make you feel bad if you can't breastfeed. BUT, there are a lot of women that just give up because it's so hard. Well, life is hard. Giving birth is hard, but do you give up in the middle of labor? No, I don't think so. If they do it in third world countries and still manage to work in the fields for a 13 hour work day, why can't we? I just feel people give up too easily.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigBen

      The number of women who have children and then can "not" breast feed is extremely low. It's was the only way babies got nourishment for like thousands of years. Obviously it works.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • Tracey

      Ben's right. And it's hard because women are no longer surrounded by women who can walk them through it. My mother and mother-in-law CONSTANTLY suggested bottles as "help." I let myself and my child down the first time because I wasn't prepared but the second time I made it work. I would never pretend I "couldn't" do it. That does a disservice to the women for whom it really is a physiological problem.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
    • NewYorker in NJ

      Actually people in this country constantly give up too easily – just look at the skyhigh C-section rate. The same with breastfeeding. It takes work. To many women is does not come easily. And many will just give up because there is formula – so 'why should I make myself crazy'. And that is what the article is trying to say (I think): don't give up too quickly, try harder.
      And, yes, I know a little about it: I breastfed all four (4) of my kids for at least 18 months and never used a drop of formula!

      January 21, 2011 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
    • NewYorker in NJ

      Oh, and I worked fulltime and pumped!

      January 21, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
  5. Cheri

    Breastfeeding is natural, normal, and important. New moms need support and assistance, because as Jesse says above, breastfeeding can be hard. Lactation consultants (IBCLCs) are an invaluable resource for these moms.

    As a physician and a mom who nursed both of my kids for many months, I am so happy to see this emphasis and awareness being placed on breastfeeding. I hope it will be supportive however, as it does no one any good for moms to feel excessive pressure at this vulnerable time in their lives.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jessica

    Support is just what breastfeeding moms need! For something that is so natural, it can be so hard!!! I nursed my first for only 5 weeks b/c I had no idea how hard it was, then trying to figure out how to imcorporate pumping for when I returned to work, I just gave up. Now, I've been breastfeeding my second baby for 5 months. I set a goal that I could not quit until I gave it a full 6 weeks.
    I'd like to see health insurance companies pick up the cost of pumps and accessories (bags, bottles). More time off from work (paid time) to recover would be crucial. 6-8 weeks maternity leave just isn't enough time, generally a mother's milk supply is just getting established by 6 weeks. Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for you baby...it's also a very personal choice – but if you chose to BF, then you should receive all the support you need to make it a pleasent and successful experience.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • E

      I'd love to see independent LCs covered by insurance as well, but I'm not 100% convinced it'd happen anytime soon.

      January 20, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • Mamaof3

      It baffles me that there are so many things that are FSA/HSA eligible (acne treatment, massage, etc. for example) while breastpumps are not. Seriously? There is no reason we shouldn't have some sort of way to offset the cost of a good quality pump for moms who wish to pump upon their return to work!

      January 20, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Jessica- Here is an article i ran across just yesterday. Perhaps you should check with both your insurance and your dr to see how you can make this happen.

      http://www.breastpumpsdirect.com/breastpumps_covered_by_health_insurance_a/148.htm

      January 20, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • BFAdvocate

      I agree Jessica, I feel we need to do something about getting some sort of insurance coverage for Breastpumps. They are so expensive and for those that need to return to work, a cheaper hand pump is soooo not going to do the job. While some insurance companies do cover the costs (either partial or full) even if you don't have one of the deemed medically necessary reasons there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in that area to make breast pumps more accessible, even if it's just for an infants first 6 months of life.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
  7. needTime

    You want women to breast feed longer, then you should look to reform the maternity leave rules in this country. I'm sure many women start out pretty successful but because work demands either don't allow them to pump, the pumping isn't effective enough to express the amount of milk that a naturally latched baby would get, or the conditions to where a woman can go to pump are unfavorable. The US has the Shortest maternity leave requirements that I know about. Come on, 6wks for natural child birth, 6wks! At 6wks you're just figuring things out, let alone still not sleeping. And many families these days can't afford for the mom's to stop working all together, or to take time off without pay. So in my opinion, you want women to give breast feeding a better shot, give them the time to work on it! Start with trying to get longer maternity leave times as a requirement, not an option.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mae

      If you look at maternity/paternity leave in other countries, it's pretty depressing here...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave

      The United States has a long way to go.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • RelaxandEnjoytheBaby

      I completely agree about longer maternity leave. Its not just about having a room and time to pump at work. Its also a compilation of have one more thing to lug out the door if your child is in daycare – baby, baby bag including bottles, purse, breastpump, laptop....and that's if you only have the one baby. Plus the extra time washing pump parts and containers....My company made it very convenient for me to pump (time and a private, comfortable locked room) and I was fortunate enough to be able to take 6 months off. However after lugging all this extra baggage around for a month I stopped pumping and just nursed my daughter in the morning and at night and by 9 months we were done all together. So she got a full 6 months of exclusive and 3 months of mixed which I'm pretty happy with.

      If had to go back after 3 months or less there is no way I would have kept it up as long as I did. Any breast milk is better than none but extra stress isn't worth it if moms can't enjoy what time working moms can spend with their babies.

      January 20, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • LibraryLady

      I completely agree. The only way that I could have breastfed for longer (my goal was a year, and I only made 8 months) was if I hadn't had to go back to work so quickly. Shortly after I went back to work my supply started to dwindle despite pumping as much as possible. The United States is way behind other countries when it comes to maternity leave policies. If the Surgeon General wants us to breast feed longer, then he needs to work to change the federal policies on maternity leave.

      January 20, 2011 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
  8. Mae

    I remember when I had my first baby in 2006 how little I knew about breastfeeding. My doctor asked if that was my plan, but that was about it. My friend at work, who had a baby a few months before me, told me it hurts like hell, but stick with it because it gets easier. I think what she said was what helped the most. It did hurt! And I had a hard time getting comfortable with it. My husband was very supportive though, and luckily my job supports it as well. I lasted 8 months with my first baby. With my second, I seemed to have a low milk supply, so I had to supplement a lot and only lasted six months. And with my third baby, who is nine months old, I am still breastfeeding, but only in the morning and at night. I no longer pump. She's taken a strong interest in solid foods. And with my third, the lactation consultant from the Birth Center really helped out a lot! I had a hard time getting my baby latched on properly. Each time was different. I think some of the things that books don't explain is how much it actually hurts! I thought I was going to die a few times from the pain. But I stuck with it. And I know there are a lot of women out there who struggle with it. I also have some friends who flat out refused because they felt that their husbands should share the burden of feedings. I never understood that, but that was their decision to make. I know that their kids are still happy and healthy.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Kim

    This is so important. As a 1st time Mom who nursed my baby for 9months I know how hard it was those first 2 months. We need support to give encouragement to new Moms with open and honest dialogues. It is painful and exhausting, but so rewarding. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who give up because it is hard and not much support. So many women in our Mother's and Grandmother's generations turned to formula when they had babies which now leads to comments of "why hassle with nursing...I gave you formula and you turned out fine"
    Can a baby survive and grow on formula? Yes. Does that mean that breastfeeding isn't important or better? No. More and more research is showing the benefits long term with obesity rates, diabetes, intelligence, and more.
    I agree that longer maternity leave is important as well as better support in the workplace and in public areas in general. It is not OK to make a women nurse/pump in a bathroom stall. At work you should have the time and facilities to carry this out. It will take federal regulations to make sure employers allow time during the work day for women to make this choice. In general Americans are too squimish when it comes to breastfeeding...it is natural and healthy and its time to recognize this.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. E

    Breastfeeding was never a question for me; I was a breastfed baby, as were my 3 younger siblings, and I still think it's strange to bottle feed a baby.

    When my daughter was diagnosed (in utero) with a heart defect, my attachment to be able to breastfeed became more urgent. At one point, a pediatric cardiologist told me that breastfeeding wouldn't be possible and I told her she was misinformed. After my C-section, the night nurse didn't wheel my pump over to me when I requested it, telling me there'd be plenty of time to pump, etc., but I was adamant about starting to pump after I'd gotten out of bed the next day. I pumped to get my milk supply in because my daughter was too weak to latch directly (and she was also NPO for her first 24 hours) and I continued to pump through her entire 10 day stay in the hospital. I signed consent forms to take part in the breastmilk bank offered at the hospital so she wouldn't have to get the formula I had no interest in giving her before my milk came in ... or if the milk ran out overnight while my husband and I were at home an hour away.

    When we brought her home, I had trouble getting her to latch properly so I sought the help of a lactation consultant. After seeing the LC, working out our latching issues and figuring out how to do night feeds, my daughter started to gain weight.

    Due to the lousy maternity leave coverage in this country, I had to go back to work when she was 8 weeks old. However, before I took my maternity leave, I made it very clear to both my HR representative and my manager that I would be pumping and would need a place to do so ... and if their only offer was a restroom, they could shove it. As a plus, my current place of employment does have a lactation room, but it's in a different building from the one where I've been assigned. Instead of having to take more time out of my day to pump there, I've been permitted to use empty offices. I'll admit, I've been lucky on that front, but still think there ought to be a lactation room available at my building. I'm hoping that the new Dep't of Labor statutes to protect breastfeeding moms will be passed soon to help more moms who aren't as fortunate as I was.

    My daughter is still nursing at 10 months and I intend to keep it up until she self-weans. I spent too much time, money and emotion investing in making it work to quit now, but I'll be the first to tell a mom-to-be that it wasn't easy for us to get to this point! FWIW, we did supplement a little with formula to get my daughter's weight up, but I pitched it after she started to gain and I felt confident she and I had worked out our latching issues. And to anyone who struggled, remember, some breastfeeding is still better than none, so good for you for giving it a go!

    January 20, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 2healthyboys

    I breast fed both of my boys; my oldest till he was 4 months and i had to go back to work. Pumping at work was hard, but I did it for my son. My youngest was breast fed till he was 12 months, because at that time, i was a stay-at-home-mom. I have two very healthy sons and lucky for me, i was able to breast feed for as long as i did. It came very easy for me and my sons.....some women aren't so lucky and I really feel bad for the ones who "want" to breast feed their children and can't. We all know that breast feeding our babies is the best thing for them, sometimes it just isn't the best thing for the moms.....

    January 20, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. TXMM

    In this case, she is 100% right. My solid Republican doctors were great breastfeeding advocates and were very supportive of working mothers. Nothing political about it.

    January 20, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RelaxandEnjoytheBaby

    And I wish someone would add that breastfeeding isn't always hard. Sometimes its really easy from the start. I think if other mothers would tone down the battle stories and guilt trips more woman may just relax and be more successful at it.

    January 20, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wow

      I agree with this as well, it was not physically hard to breastfeed my kids, and emotionally it was great connecting that way. But, you have to want to stay dedicated with being the one who feeds the baby, the one who gets up at night, and lots of times the one who may have to arrange her schedule to be available during feeding times. If I had an extra bottle that the sitter did not use, my husband would get the chance to feed our children, but, this was not all the time. Just tweaking out routine a little made nursing work out for us.

      January 20, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    I disagree that breastfeeding is a learned skill. Isn't it the most natural thing in the world? That's how the babies are meant to be fed, by breastfeeding. Yeah, it hurts at first but then you get used to it. Of course, there are women who have physiological or other issues that do not allow them to breastfeed but most women do not fall into that category. My advice to anyone is to breastfeed. It is natural, it is healthy, it has the best and optimum nutrition, the baby only eats just enough and doesn't overeat or underreat, the baby can eat anytime he wants, etc. Who knows what they put in those formulas? Oh, and pumping is really not fun. If you can breastfeed why not just do it straight out of the breast. I have six kids and all were breastfed at least until they were one. I'm so glad I did it and didn't shortchanged them in any way.

    January 20, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigBen

      I'm with you 100%. Babies have been breast feeding since before there was a spoken language. Ever since humans showed up on earth breast feeding has been going on. Only in the last maybe 40 years have people even had other options.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • Smc

      I completely disagree with you that breastfeeding is NOT a learned skill, even though it IS the most natural thing ever. For centuries, women lived in multi-generational households where the older women taught the younger women all the ins and outs of breastfeeding. When you have your first child and none of your friends have ever breastfed, and your Mom is hundreds of miles away, and every "mom" you know bottlefed her babies, you need help and support or you can give up when you get engorged breasts with 105 fever, or when a baby won't latch on. My first baby practically taught me how breastfeeding works. He nursed for 13 months then weaned himself. My second child did great for one week, then seemingly stopped. It was only through help from a lactation consultant that I was able to keep working with him and get things back on track, but I always felt that he really preferred the bottle–it just wasn't the same as the first baby. Still I breastfed him until 9 months. The third son simply would not drink from a bottle AT ALL until the first day I went back to work–it was agonizing to leave him home at four months. I kept breastfeeding him and providing milk for his daytime bottles for several months. Each child was different. I did need help and advice each time, for one reason or another, and I don't feel "unnatural" for having to ask for help. In fact, I got a lot of wisdom from the women who helped me and I've always passed it along to breastfeeding moms who needed help. I'm very pro-breastfeeding, but I do recognize that there are rare situations when it doesn't work out. My sister tried to breastfeed my niece, but she wasn't thriving. Formula didn't work either. My niece ended up living off goat's milk that had to be bought from a farm every day–but she survived. And that was the important thing.

      January 20, 2011 at 22:16 | Report abuse |
  15. Preemie Mother

    When I had my baby a month early, the docs would pay lipservice to "breast is best" but, ultimately, when they're early they want to tube-feed it until it gets back to its birthweight. They don't even give you the option of directly breastfeeding unless you can come to the nursery (which is not going to happen for about 24 hours after an emercency c-section). Then, if the baby ends up in the hospital longer than you, and your body doesn't respond to the pump, as mine didn't, breastfeeding is basically out the window, particularly if the child is already used to the bottle. While it's important that woman should try to breastfeed, some of us aren't really given the opportunity and shouldn't be villified for it.

    January 20, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lillian

      Where in this article did anyone vilify you or even judge you?

      I see more often women who WEREN'T able to breastfeed accusing those who COULD and DID to be "nazis" or judgmental. It's absolutely ridiculous.

      My kids were both preemies as well – more premature than yours – and I pumped from the start. They got tube-fed or bottle-fed breastmilk until they were able to breastfeed well. It took time, but it was well worth the effort. So please don't assume that every mother who has a preemie is doomed to formula feeding. That's just not the case.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Preemie Mother

      Lillian – This is exactly what I'm talking about "I could do it, so why can't you?" My body didn't respond to pumping. Once I got him home my son would latch, but give up after a minute because he was used to instant gratification of the bottle. I wasn't going to starve him to make him suck. Yes, breastfeeding is better, but sometimes the body doesn't work and it's better to give the baby formula than starve him. I put my comment in because this is the response most of us get, that we just didn't try hard enough, rather than that, at a certain point, pumping a quarter of an ounce every 2 hours has diminishing returns.

      Some mothers produce milk, some mothers have issues. And for those of you who think that historically moms just always breastfed their own babies are wrong. They used to supplement with goat's milk or with a wet nurse (another woman would nurse the baby for them). Most people seem to forget that...

      January 20, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      Actually, I never said that, so please don't quote something that was never said. You are reading judgment where it just isn't there. What I did say was not to assume that mothers to premature babies can't breastfeed.

      I never starved my son to make him suck, if that's what you are insinuating. A starving baby is far less likely to latch than one who is slightly hungry.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
  16. Wow

    I am a full time working mother of 2, and nursed both of my children for well over a year. The truth is, it was not always an easy thing to do, but I did it because A) I wanted the best for my children and B) because I was not about to spend money on formula. Not when I had perfectly good milk for free, babies are expensive enough. The truth is for most women it is easier to buy formula, this way they don't feel anchored down by the babies feeding schedule. I know, I felt that way too. It was hard to tell my oldest I couldn't do something because I had to feed the baby, but we would compromise. Today, American women have different values and out looks on life than they did 50 or 60 years ago. Women are not just mothers and wives now, they are doctors, lawyers, whatever they want to be. Unfortunately nursing does not fit into that hectic life style now days. I fully agree that if maternity leave was longer than a measly 6 weeks then more woman would certainly dedicate themselves to nursing. Even public assistance, like WIC makes it too easy for girls/woman to run out and use formula. I remember getting dirty looks at the mall when I stopped and nursed my children, but you know all I had to do was give them a look back and it would wipe the disgust right off the persons face. We as woman work so hard at being powerful in the work force, to prove we are just as deserving as men, but we need to start standing up for ourselves being mothers too. Unfortunately, it is easier to give up and switch to formula than it is to stick with nursing, lets face that facts. If formula wasn't readily available, woman would have no choice but to nurse...

    January 20, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ingrid F. RN.NP

      Thanks, well said. I too nursed my 2 babies for 12 mos. and worked, it can be done. In '67 and '72 maternaty leave was even shorter than now.

      January 20, 2011 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
  17. njhp

    Hospitals are not, in general, very supportive of breastfeeding. When each of my children was born, the nurses would come in at night and wake me up (!) to ask how many ounces my baby drank. I asked them how they wanted me to measure this! When I had emergency surgery a few months later (while still breastfeeding), I refused to let them put me under until I'd pumped...and wow, did it take a long time for them to find a breast pump. In a hospital. They didn't seem to realize that the general anesthesia would affect my milk supply and make my baby sleepy...but I knew that, from my emergency C with child #1. I also think hospitals should be disallowed from accepting free samples of formula to send home with new moms. Talk about discouraging breastfeeding! Instead, they should send home coupons for appointments with lactation consultants.

    January 20, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      Totally agree on getting formula samples *out* of hospitals. This is very profitable for hospitals and studies do show that moms who were given samples are less likely to stick out those challenging weeks early on.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
    • BFAdvocate

      I totally agree with the hospital kickbacks to endorsing formula! They should be neutral and provide some sort of discount to, for mothers who choose to breastfeed, LCs.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
  18. JustSayin

    I was a preemie and had the wonderful luck to get pneumonia. They stuck me in an incubator and my mom wasn't allowed to breastfeed me. I think things were more geared towards bottle feeding anyway. I didn't leave the hospital until I was over 4 months old. At that point they were feeding me baby food because they thought it would help with my strength. Well, I'm still here... and I have a much stronger immune system than most kids born today. Yeah, I had a few problems because I was early, but hey, bottle fed and I'm here.

    Both of my sisters were breast-fed babies and they are both way overweight. The bottle-fed and sick infant now stands 5'4" and is 110 lbs. Our parents are both thin people but yet my breast-fed sisters are a size 16 and 24 and get sick all of the time.

    The statistics just aren't for everyone. It doesn't apply to all families so to make people feel bad about either a choice or something that is out of their control...well, it's just wrong. People need to support each other and realize that our decisions don't always mean they will work for each and every family. What's good for one is not necessarily what's good for the other.

    Bottle-feed or Breast-feed... You have my full support and I'm going to be happy for you that you have a wonderful little baby in your life.

    Preemie Mother – Your baby is going to do just fine and you're doing exactly what is right for your baby. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    January 20, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lillian

      Your anecdotes do not negate the actual statistics. Saying that your sisters were breastfed isn't even sufficient information – were they exclusively breastfed, with no formula? Were they started on solids early or 6+ months? After weaning, what kind of diet did they have?

      Yes, a formula-fed baby is likely to be just as loved as with any other kind of feeding. That doesn't make it healthier. It's like saying that an artificial heart is better than your own natural heart. Will it do the job? Yes. Will it keep the person alive when there is no other option? Yes. But is it better than having a living, healthy heart? NO. Artificial infant feeding is the same, and that's exactly what formula is.

      Again, who is making people feed bad? Facts are not judgments. It is a FACT that breastfeeding is healthier for human babies.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      And Lillian, it's also a FACT that a bottle-fed baby can grow up just as healthy as a breastfed one. Are you saying somehow that breastfeeding will keep every newborn and infant from illness? Or that every breasfed baby is healthier than every baby that is bottle fed? That is simply not the case. Those kinds of generalizations are not reality, thankfully.

      If you choose to breastfeed, great, more power to you. For those of us who don't, that's great too. I wonder why we are always so ready to find something to criticize each other about, instead of realizing that we are all in the same boat, like it or not, and could benefit much more from support and understanding than from criticism and judgment.

      January 20, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • JustSayin

      To Lillian. Yes, both sisters were exclusively breast fed and not given solid foods (or baby food) until after they were a year old. We have the same parents so, growing up, they ate exactly the same stuff I did.

      FACT. I AM healthier than my sisters. But what worked for my family does not necessarily mean that it will work for everyone. I'm the first to admit that but again, I'm not judging anyone or saying that one way is better than the other. Bottle fed babies can be healthier than breast fed babies. It's dependent upon the individual, not follow-the-leader. All I meant was that we should be supportive to each other no matter what our decisions. People choosing to formula feed their children don't affect the households of those who choose to breast feed and vice versa. It's the family's decision and I'm happy for them either way.

      If breast fed versus bottle fed meant less illness in all cases, then I should be the sick one, not my sisters. I wasn't breast fed once.

      I completely agree with you ME. Let's stop criticizing and just be happy and supportive for people.

      January 20, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      Nope, nowhere in my comment did I say that. If you are unfamiliar with the risks of formula feeding and choose to feed your baby inferior nutrition, that's your choice I guess, but to deny that there ARE risks is just ignorant. I wasn't talking about generalizations. I was talking about actual statistics and scientific research that formula fed babies as a population are more likely to become seriously ill than breastfed babies as a population.

      http://thebabybond.com/InfantDeaths.html

      January 20, 2011 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
  19. Dr. Mom

    As mothers I think that we all need to be more supportive and understanding of the unique struggles that we all face. We ALL want to do the best for our children. I am a full-time working physician who has been able to make breastfeeding work for 10 months and going, depite a very hectic schedule, no alotted breaks, and no dedicated room to pump in. I couldn't have done it without the support of friends and family, but it has been a beautiful experience that I hope to repeat with future children. I know other women who were either not interested in breastfeeding, or could not make it work- but that doesn't mean that they don't love their kids and aren't good moms. We need to stop making each other feel guilty for our choices and instead use our energy and collective force to make sure that laws are passed that ensure that we can make our own choices . We need longer maternity leave to heal and bond with our children, and the time and a place to pump our breastmilk, should we choose. We need to stand together for each other and our children.

    January 20, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigBen

      Anybody who as you put it "isn't interested" in what is best for their baby isn't a good mom.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      BigBen, I don't think that means the person isn't a good mom. I think it means that that mother, good or bad, is making a bad choice. An uninformed one. An uneducated one. Even good people make bad choices sometimes. Unfortunately, it's the baby who will suffer for that bad choice.

      January 20, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  20. Mamaof3

    doctors need to become better educated on BFing (most are pro BFing until there is *any* blip in terms of difficulty. Baby is slow to gain weight? Supplement! (when a referral to a lactation consultant would often be a more appropriate starting point). Mom needs to go on an antidepressant? You must wean! (when resources like Dr. Hale are out there demonstrating how much/little drug gets into breastmilk, and it *is* often safe to BF while on needed medications).

    If doctors aren't going to do a better job of more thoroughly educating themselves on breastfeeding (and by educating themselves, I'm referring to more than a few hours of education), they need to either employ or *readily* refer women to lactation consultants so they can get assistance in continuing to breastfeed if they want to continue.

    We need to support moms nursing in public (pumping prior to running out to a restaurant or mall or preschool pickup is just not practical in terms of the time it takes for many women. One of the great parts of BFing is the portability! 🙂 ) We need to provide access to a clean and safe room for moms who need to pump at work (not a restroom).

    There is a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed, yet society still seems hung up on caveats like, well, don't do it in public. Don't nurse once they can talk (even though the AAP recommends a minimum of one year, the WHO recommends a minimum of 2 years, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends a minimum of 2 years). If we are going to encourage women to breastfeed, we need to put the *infrastructure* in place so that women who do want to breastfeed have the resources and support to feed their babies. Access to breastfeeding friendly doctors, lactation consultants, and PUBLIC support for nursing in public, extended breastfeeding, and access to room/time to pump for working moms. It isn't fair to guilt moms for not BFing when the infrastructure isn't 100% in place to help facilitate them carrying through w/ their decision to nurse their babies.

    January 20, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dxp2718

      Breast feeding releases hormones that act as anti-depressants.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
  21. Julie

    I think it would be a great help to require medical professionals to be better educated and informed about breastfeeding. I am having surgery soon and my orthopaedic surgeon suggested that 6 months of breastmilk was good enough and that I should wean my baby. It is outrageous to me that health professional have no education on how important and healthy breastfeeding is. They need to be educated on what medications are safe for use during breastfeeding.

    January 20, 2011 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      Do you know about Dr. Hale?

      Texas Tech now has the Infant Risk project, where they staff a hotline and provide info about what we really know about the safety of various drugs while BFing. It is a great initiative, since so many docs give a categorical "you can't take this med while BFIng" even if that is not accurate.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  22. trish

    all of the comments are creating that community where moms and others need to dialogue about this extremely important issue.
    I would like to comment on the photo above, even in a breastfeeding article, we couldn't show a mother nursing her baby, where is the supportive, loving feeding image in this article. NOWHERE... so there are three issues
    1. maternity leave/ and support for moms who must return to work far too early– the U.S. Government needs to fix this
    2. Health care coverage and sometimes all of the things you need need to be covered (pumps, lactation consultants ect)
    3. Breastfeeding is the first way babies were ever fed, we (Society) needs to view breasts for what they are for, feeding babies, not as entertainment......
    I fed my kids until 18 mos and 4 years.....

    January 20, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      Yeah, so sad that they can't even show a mom actually BFing. Really. What does that say about where we are as a society on this? It just demonstrates how poor the support is, particularly for BFing in public.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
  23. Me

    I was bottle fed, and all my children were bottle fed. While I believe that breastfeeding is healthy for babies, it is certainly not the only way to nourish a newborn that will live to grow and thrive. It's a personal choice that every mother has to make, and should NEVER be used to judge a person's commitment to their child's welfare.

    Just as I try not to pass judgment on mother's who insist on nursing until their children are in school, I would like breastfeeding mothers to offer the same courtesy to your bottle-feeding counterparts. We are all mothers and all want our children to grow and live up to their greatest potential, and shouldn't allow something as intimate as breastfeeding to divide us. We need each other to lean on during what is the most challenging time of our lives, and one with the most important outcome: the well-being of our children, the nation's and planet's future.

    Now to those who would say that giving samples of formula to go home with mothers is somehow them discouraging breastfeeding, I would ask you to think about it this way. What if, A. the mother CHOOSES not to breastfeed or is not physically able to and/or, B. needs whatever kind of assistance they can get in obtaining nutrition for their child due to difficult financial situation? Just because you choose to breastfeed, doesn't mean that you will be able to, or be able to for as long as you would like. Don't get angry with hospitals who are merely trying to do the best for their patients. All of them. 🙂

    January 20, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      If it is an income related issue, breastfeeding is the least expensive option. If a lower income mother doesn't want to BF, then there are services such as WIC. On a population level, those free formula bags have been proven to impact BFing rates. It is what it is. Individuals may not feel they are influenced, but on a larger scale, they do play a part in discouraging breastfeeding. One free can of formula, from a financial standpoint, isn't going to really make a huge impact on the long term availability of food for most infants. But on a population level, those "free" formula samples are damaging to the breastfeeding relationship of many dyads. This is why the World Health Organization developed the baby-friendly designation for hospitals (part of that accreditation is that they not provide free formula to mothers in the hospital).

      January 20, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • Mamaof3

      And for what it is worth, hospitals are PAID to offer the samples of formula. Please don't think the hospital hands them out just to be kind to their patients. At the very least, if a mother indicates she's interested and trying to BF, the formula sample should not be provided to that particular mother. For some women, having it in their home on day 3 or 4 when things are tough is just too much of a temptation and they choose to give formula when maybe they really *do* want to keep BFing. And a slippery slope can begin for many mothers. Many moms can supplement while still BFing, but for many women that is the beginning of supply problems (because now we've altered the supply and demand).
      If a mom truly does not want or is not able to BF, she can ask her doctor for samples, or apply for WIC if applicable. On a population level, those little "free" bags of formula probably do more financial damage overall by causing issues for a breastfeeding dyad when we look at lower income moms who want to BF.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
  24. Clete

    Breastfeeding needs to be done...but done at home. If you can't make time for your baby to feed at home then you are too busy to have children. Taking a crap is every bit as natural as breastfeed but you don't see people just drop what they are doing and let one drop in public.

    January 20, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      Nice try. Your comment is more a commentary on your intelligence level.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • dnb4508

      I'm not really sure this article was about whipping out a tata in a public place. I think it was about education and support for breastfeeding. You might want to reread it. As for your aversion to the practice and you comparing it to making a doody, you might want to reconsider your own bodily views. Last I checked eating and crapping were two seperate functions.

      January 20, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
    • Momto4BFgirls

      Luckily, the human body doesn't have to "crap" every 1.5 to 2 hours. How about you just turn around and look the other way. That would be the better choice. Ridiculous comment!

      January 21, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
  25. Boka

    Normally I would have no problem with woman's breasts in public. But the problem is most women are not attractive. Message to ladies. If you want to breast feed do it at home or take your baby and your boobs into the bathroom. Thank you.

    January 20, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      Do you eat your own lunch in a dirty and unsanitary bathroom? I think not.

      People like you are precisely why so many women do not breastfeed their children, because they fear being judged. You are an adult and can avert your eyes if it is that big of a deal to you. There is more flesh hanging out at the mall, out the top of pants and shirts, etc. than most women ever show while BFing.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
  26. Bec-mom of 3 full-time worker the entire time

    Some women can't pump enough, some pump too much. My sister and I both had good quality pumps (several hundred dollar kind) and we both pumped at work. We had the problem of making more milk than the babies could drink. My baby was nearly ten pounds at birth, and could drink 8 ounces at at time by a couple of months. Our freezers were always full. I did have problems along the way, my sister had a premie and still did great. You just need to make up your mind that this is what I am going to do. Don't let any jerks including so called trained professionals tell you otherwise. Do your homework and read everything you can about the subject. Most important-remember that your baby is your number one priority!

    January 20, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. J D

    By all means, support breast feeding! But don't look down on mothers who cannot or choose not to nurse. There is more to good parenting than choosing between the bottle and breast. Mothers deserve a good support network either way.

    Perhaps it's ironic that I'm writing this comment from my phone while on a pumping break at work.

    January 20, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      I couldn't agree with you more, J D. Mothers have enough to worry about regarding their children's well-being to have to spend a single moment concerning themselves with what someone thinks about how they choose to feed their children. Yes, breastfeeding was the was it was done in the very beginning. There were no other options. I am sure many babies died because their mothers were not able to sufficiently feed them from their breasts. I, personally, am glad that we have evolved physically and technologically to enable the sustenance of life where once life may have ended.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • Summer819

      Where's the like button on here?!
      ~from a fellow pumping-at-work momma

      January 20, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  28. M1

    This article is so timely, I'm getting ready to do battle with the manager a facilities to get an additional lactation room assigned in my office. 5 women are currently using 1 room, and it's just not working. I really think the government needs to step up and mandate more breastfeeding friendly policies (i.e. longer paid maternity leave, ect.) because most companies aren't going to do it on their own.

    January 20, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      I wish you the best of luck. In today's financial climate, where employers are more and more likely to hire temporary employess who don't even get insurance, let alone paid time off, you are very lucky to have a company that offers a single room. Sadly, my recent experience in the workforce has been one of companies not wanting to hire directly, and staffing agencies trying to nickel and dime the very employees they make their money from placing out of every possible benefit.

      I am glad to hear that your company values your needs enough to have a room for you all to use, and wish you luck in expanding the facilities to accomodate you all. 🙂

      January 20, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Mamaof3

      Good for you for taking a stand. The healthcare reform laws do address pumping in the workplace to a degree. It is a start.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
  29. WAsky

    I breast fed my first three while not working. The second pregnancy the milk came in faster. I had excema and still do because my mother breast fed me two weeks, she said. I was allergic to canned milk, orange juice and Karo syrup. I had hay fever for months until I got myfirst job and moved to California. La Leche League had a book which helped me. My fourth child had bottles because I used a baby sitter and expressing milk was not even mentioned then any place. Being your own boss helps a lot. Doctors probably still don't support breast feeding as if they are on a different planet from whoever suggested it in this article. When you see two children ten months apart you know the mother did not breast feed. It stops ovulation. The child eventually eats enough to no longer nurse. I also madee my own baby food of our food and only used canned egg yolks and things like cereal. The cans of baby food are good for trips but aren't as nutritious as the family food.

    January 20, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Summer819

      You absolutely can get pregnant while breastfeeding. It's most likely when your baby starts to eat foods (other than your just breastmilk), but it can and does happen.

      January 20, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • Living proof

      I have 3 kids, all 13 months apart. Breastfed all 3 till 10 months. So yes, you can get pregnant while nursing, and you can continue to nurse while pregnant.

      January 20, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Breastfeeding sure as heck didn't stop my body from ovulating. I got pregnant with my 2nd son 5 1/2 months after giving birth to my first. And I was exclusively breastfeeding at the time.

      January 20, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
  30. Feather

    I think it is about economics. Breastfeeding is much cheaper. I hear people whining about not being able to do it but don't get done on those who can. I had a very difficult time breastfeeding in the beginning. Then when I finally got the hang of it my daughter began having issues and doctor said it was from dairy in my diet. I had two choices; stop breastfeeding, or continue breastfeeding but take ALL dairy ougt of my diet. Well, I took all the dairy out of my diet. It was hard sure, and I was frustrated but it wasn't about me. It was about my daughter. So, please stop whining about not being able to do it. The article didn't say that moms who don't breastfeed are bad. It just gave percentages about how many moms breastfeed for certain periods of time and said that breastfeeding is best for baby. Don't let your own issues interfere with you comprehension of the article...

    January 20, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Summer819

    I'm all for breastfeeding. I've done it for my daughter and am currently breastfeeding my 5 month old and intend to until he is weaned around a year. I wasn't sure how it would work out for me when I had my daughter, but I have found it to be a wonderful experience. WIth my son, it's been a lot different and very difficult at times – had I had this experience the first time, I don't know if I'd breastfeed again. It's better now, but I can certainly see why some mothers give it up.

    However, I'm tired of women being made to feel bad or inadequate for choosing not to breastfeed, can't keep up their supply or discontinue for a variety of reasons. Yes, it's healthier for the infant and mother. We get that. It's one thing to encourage mothers to at least try breastfeeding, just stop making mothers feel guilty or insuperior because they don't breastfeed. A little education and compassion can go a long way for a brand new mother's emotions.

    January 20, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      There is no reason not to try breastfeeding.

      January 20, 2011 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jomama

      Of course there's good reasons not to breastfeed. Being on harmful medications that could be passed to the child through milk springs to mind.

      January 26, 2011 at 00:31 | Report abuse |
  32. PA

    I breast fed my 2 children, both of whom had many difficulties, until they were a year old. It was a choice I was able to make, while challenging at times, because I was very supported from my spouse and my work and was surrounded by female family members who had nursed and were able to help. Not all women have that support. All things being equal, I think most women would breast feed. And I dont think that the ones that didn't breast feed are lazy or less of a mom AT ALL. Some, while few, are going to have physical problems that prevents them or their children from nursing. Most how ever will just have the odds too stacked against them to make it work, between inadequate resources, insufficient time at home with the baby to make it work, and lack of experienced support to help you figure it out. What I took away from this article is that we need to do all we can to give new mothers what they need so this is something they are able to do if possible.

    January 20, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. FoodForThought

    People complain about not being able to produce enough milk, but how do animals in the wild do it? They don't supplement themselves. If you stick with breastfeeding and do not supplement at the beginning your body will produce the milk. I am sure this isn't true for 100% of people as a statement like that rarely is. But for the vast majority it should hold true. My wife works full time and breast fed our kids for the first 2 years of life.

    January 20, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      When a mother animal in the wild cannot produce enough milk, the babies die.

      January 20, 2011 at 20:27 | Report abuse |
  34. dnb4508

    The main focus for the Surgeon General should be education, education, and more education. Most failed breastfeeding attempts happen due to poor support and information. Women in this country are subject to falsehoods and myths about breastfeeding, sometimes perpetuated by health professionals. There is no argument, breast milk is best. No other mammal deliberately sustains it's young on the milk of another mammal, yet alone a chemically altered swill posing as the milk of another mammal. Now before every formula feeding mom freaks out in response, I realize there are medical reasons and out of control circunstances that make formula feeding neccesary. But the decision to begin formula feeding should be more carefully weighed with the pros of breastfeeding, along with proper and correct information about lactation.
    I breastfed my son for 22 months. It was not easy at times. As a newborn, it was a struggle to get him started. No one said it would be easy. If you folks are looking for easy and convenient, then parenthood is NOT for you. I managed to garner my support from the internet and information-rich sites like Kellymom. The information I culled there should be far more readily available. It should be taught to women during pregnancy and emphasized just as much as pre-natal care. As for arguing and trying to make moms feel bad about formula feeding, I understand that is not the way to make breastfeeding a more practiced norm. But formula feeding moms need to realize that stating the medically proven facts about breastfeeding, and support for women who do, is not an attack on their choice.

    January 20, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mamaof3

      Well said. And I love Kellymom's site. Such a valuable, valuable resource for BFing moms! A great read for anyone pregnant and thinking about BFing as well. It is a huge help to attend a LLL meeting or read before your baby arrives. Be prepared for the challenges before they come and you'll be more equipped to deal with those challenges when they arise. It all seems much more stressful when you are tired and have just given birth. If you can learn as much as you can beforehand, it is a huge, huge help.

      January 20, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  35. Rebecca

    Also, to clarify, I have not misread the article. I am just annoyed and commenting over what I'm *not* seeing in the article.

    January 20, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Velma

    It used to be socially frowned upon. Maybe that has changed. When my husband was supposed to return to the US from his Air Force assignment in Germany in the 'late 60s, I had an interesting experience. When I boarded the plane carrying my 6 week old baby, the stewardess offered to put my formula bottles in the refrigerator and warm them as needed. I will never forget her face when I told her there was no need since I was breastfeeding. She looked horrified until I assured her that I knew how to do it discreetly using a baby blanket over my shoulder. She still didn't seem comfortable, but fortunately let it go. All the long flight home baby and I managed just fine. Breast feeding was great for all the driving we had to do later, too. I had a great experience with breastfeeding and he was a very calm and healthy baby. My mother, however, was one of those who had a lot of trouble being able to breastfeed, so I sympathize with those who can't do it. I agree that this is a very personal decision based on many factors, including the mother's health. However, I strongly support bf for anyone who can possibly do it. For some, like me, it is incredibly easy and was best for both me and my baby.

    January 20, 2011 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Vera

    Hello Everyone,

    If you are interested in breast cancer treatments and preventions, please take a look at this link: http://breastcancerbydrruddy.com/. There are great articles you'd love to read! It goes over the Breast Health and Healing Foundation as well as the breast cancer virus and vaccine. The vaccine may be a great help to breast cancer patients as well as the healthy. Prevention includes the food you eat, the amount of exercise you get, and the destructive things you must avoid such as HRT, birth control pills, alcohol, and cigarettes. Thanks for reading!

    January 20, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Justamom

    Getting the right support is really important. I was never able to directly breastfeed my child due to her health issues, but I was strongly encouraged by the hospital to pump for her. I don't know if the hospital treated all mothers like that, but they were determined to help the NICU moms–including providing meal trays, snacks, etc. I ended up pumping all of her milk for 8 months. It was really, really hard to pump that much, even with all the support I had–I can understand why women would end up choosing to supplement with formula when they go back to work.

    January 20, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. CherryMama

    I think a lot of health professionals are pushing issues like this because of the nations overall health decline. They push the practical things because the practical things are usually what's best. Vegetables, breastfeeding, working out...

    January 20, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kate

    This is about raising awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. There are too many women out there that don't even try. Or they give up too easliy because it's too hard. This is not about those women that try, but cannot produce enough milk.

    We know breast is best. What we need is for all new mothers to embrace this philosophy. We need new mothers to try to breast feed their babies...as much as they can...for as long as they can.

    We need mothers to have the ability to breast feed their babies. We need mandated maternity leaves. We need time and a private place at work to pump.

    January 20, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. xinejaquette

    I think some of the pain in the responses is coming for the word "choice" or "choose". I am expecting my first baby and I left work to get pregnant, found specialists and changed all my meds for a chronic illness to make this healthy wonderful baby. Unfortunately the best meds for me and baby while I am pregnant make breastfeeding impossible. Changing my meds immediately after delivery is not advised because my body will be recovering from delivery. No med change for 3 months. When my doctor, or my mom or anyone says "well, not breastfeeding is your CHOICE" I want to cry. I chose to avoid cleft pallette, nueral tube disorder and heart defects. I didn't WANT TO RUIN MY BREAST MILK. This isn't a happy personal preference or CHOICE. This is my medical reality and I hate it. Telling me you back my CHOICE and I should be happy I had the right to CHOSE makes me so angry. Not having my own child and adopting a toddler who is off the bottle was the only way to avoid using formula. I think it is great that everyone is trying to be understanding and supportive but stop saying CHOICE. That word choice indicates options. That is the problem.

    January 20, 2011 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Another Rebecca

    I'm curious to know peoples' opinions on breastfeeding in regards to adoptive mothers. My husband and I adopted a newborn in October (most beautiful baby girl in the world – may have heard about her, I don't know...) and three different people on three different occasions, knowing that our child was adopted, asked me if I was/would consider taking medication to make me lactate. A) None of your business unless you're my doctor, husband, or BFF/close relative/otherwise confidante and B) Seriously. There's not even a B. I was just appalled that random people would ask such a question. So incredibly personal on so many levels. Discuss.

    January 20, 2011 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. mother of four

    I nursed all four of my boys for roughly two years. Learning how to do so with the first was not easy, but worth it. My husband worked long hours so I could stay home full time. Though we did without a lot (a whole lot), it was well worth the sacrifice. I understand that this option is not available to many women.

    I really feel for women who are attempting to pump enough milk to feed their babies when they are at work. What no one is telling you–and they really should–is that pumping incorrectly can undermine your supply and actually cause it to drop. The other thing you need to know is that what you pump does not accurately represent the amount of breast milk you are producing. There is a huge difference between settling down to nurse your little one and using a piece of machinery. One is relaxing–the other isn't. A relaxed mother produces more milk. Also–a "seasoned" baby (one that that knows how to latch on and get down to business) is capable of drawing far more milk from the breast than a pump. If you want to make this work, find a nursing consultant (believe it or not, local health departments can sometimes recommend them. A few even have one on call).

    Nursing is one part science and one part art and it takes time to build a good nursing relationship. So be patient with yourself and your little one while you're getting the hang of this.

    January 21, 2011 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. DCMom

    Breastfeeding is great. But I have two things to say: (1) to make it work in many cases a mother needs to have someone else around to help her pretty much nonstop for the first month, which is not possible for many people given the lack of paternity leave policies; and (2) society should be supporting and "calling to action" support for all new parents, not just breastfeeding ones, but some of the same policies that are mentioned by the surgeon general to support breastfeeding would help all new parents to establish healthy, loving relationships with their newborns so this should have a good ripple effect. I also want to share my recent experience. I went through what was really a kind of torture in order to establish breastfeeding with my now 8 week old son. I didn't sleep for weeks, enduring what lactation consultants call "triple duty" of breastfeeding a poorly latching infant, then pumping, then bottlefeeding, then starting the whole cycle over again. I looked for but was unable to find in breastfeeding literature any kind of solace for having to occasionally supplement my son with formula when it was clear he was crying in hunger but I wasn't able to pump enough. He was slow to gain weight and my pediatrician was encouraging me to give some formula, while the lactation consultant suggested that that could undermine my efforts to breastfeed. If I could do it over again I would still have done the pumping and worked to establish breastfeeding but I would have slept at least 4 hours a day and supplemented more with formula and I would have done it without guilt. And when I go back to work next week believe me I will be pulling out the formula if I can't pump enough at work. I think the word that is doing the most damage in the surgeon general's new "call to action," in the American Academy of Pediatric's guidelines, and in all the breastfeeding literature that I have ever seen is "exclusive." Breastfeeding is great for babies and mothers but what is most important is actually establishing a strong, wonderful, attachment with your baby and I think emphasis on "exclusive" breastfeeding puts WAY too much pressure on fragile, stressed new mothers. As a new mother, let me say that there is something really terrible in the feeling that you are failing in one of the most measurable aspects of new motherhood; degree of exclusivity of breastfeeding.

    January 21, 2011 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. LEB

    I'm issuing a different call to action... encourage women to breast feed, but don't make them feel guilty if they can't or don't want to. Formula, while not as good as breast milk, was invented to help failing babies thrive. It's done its job quite well.

    January 21, 2011 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JustSayin

      Where did the Like button go? Like..Like..Like. 🙂 Couldn't agree with you more.

      January 21, 2011 at 08:01 | Report abuse |
    • Ditto

      Just want to comment on the fact that I think there's been a lot of good discussion points around BF and formula. Speaking from experience, I had the opportunity of being on both sides. While I highly encourage BF this is not always the optimum choice depending on the situation so thank goodness there's alternatives. No one has the right to judge others for the decisions they make whether voluntary or involuntary. When I tried nursing my first, it didn't work for me or the baby but I didn't just throw in the towel and say that's it, I tried and it didn't work – I'm done. As a new mother they did not provide the extra support necessary to coach new mothers on what to do especially working through issues even though BF was the big push back in the early 80s just like it is today. When it doesn't work then we have to take the next step and do the right thing for keeping our children safe and healthy. I had to mix my own formula with carnation milk and boiled water like my mom did for us which worked successfully. We didn't have a wide range of options to choose from for formula plus none of them worked so you do what you have to do.

      I fully agree with longer maternity leaves regardless of nursing or not b/c 6-8 weeks is not enough time b/c you're just starting to get back on your feet even with a normal delivery – everyone heals differently. Companies 20+ years ago were not equipped to accommodate nursing mothers so the common thing working mothers did was to start weaning their child toward the end of the leave period. I have no regrets with the decisions I made and both of my kids turned out just as healthy as others even to this day thank God. Lots of things have changed from the past and they will continue to evolve going forward. So what they claim appears to be working today will be persuaded to change again.

      The most important thing is keep your children's best interest at heart at all times. When you know you have done everything in your power for your baby, that's all that matters. The only thing I would like to comment on is for those that are successful with BF now when the times comes and it's no longer beneficial to keep the baby's nutritional needs on the radar to avoid depriving them of important needs at such a vital time in their life b/c while nursing is great it's not effective or beneficial if it isn't working and that goes w/o saying for anything, not just BF. On a final note, I truly believe majority of the moms out there want to do the best thing to ensure their infant is healthy but not everything comes natural. We need to be more open to receiving feedback/advice from others and making it your own. Most people want to help while others try to tell you how to raise your child so you have to figure out where to draw the line. That's how I learned. Every baby is different so what worked for one doesn't always work for another so adjustments have to be made but having a foundation to start with is much better then nothing.

      January 21, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
  46. cindychicago

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    January 21, 2011 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. katherine

    Hey Rebecca, isn't basically free formula enough support for you? Give me a break. Non-BF mothers get tons of support – free formula, free bottles, etc. I had to drive around looking for a lactation consultant to order a pump from, paid for it out of pocket, and getting parts? Sure! That'll be a few weeks, miss.

    Quit acting like such a whiner. There's a reason BF fell out of favor in this country, and that's because it's hard work.

    January 21, 2011 at 05:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. T T Fondling

    Ladies, in public and unless you are an employee of the adult entertainment industry...please put them away.

    January 21, 2011 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Kristen

    There is defiantly a problem with the laws protecting Breastfeeding moms. While it is stated that employers need to allow moms to pump but they don't require employers to provide privacy. Also at my old job the manager made the woman I worked with count her pumping time as lunch and punch out for it.. Illegal! But employers don't understand the laws. Fortunatly where I work now I won't have a problem (I work at a residence for autistic adults) but I can understand the headache women have trying to do the right thing.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Kristen

    I am not trying to sound cold but I agree that people that "aren't interested" aren't really being the best moms they can be! I mean knowing all of the information about the benefits of Breastfeeding why wouldn't someone at least try it! Has anyone ever smelled formula? It smells like dog food! And most babies have trouble metabolizing it because it is not natural to eat another animals milk! I think mothers that "aren't interested" are being lazy. I know many mothers (through my old internship I used to work with young mothers) who don't know anything about the benefits of Breastfeeding and through the widespread use of wic checks by their families don't even know it is an option. Many of these girls just threw the formula in a bottle, shook it up, and jammed it in their child's mouth! They didn't warm it at all! That infuriates me that some people are THAT lazy. Why would you bother having kids? Sorry if anyone gets offended but I see how much my little girl loves nursing and hates bottles (of breastmilk). I am going to have to pump more when I go back to work after 10 weeks off but I plan on sticking with it and nursing whenever possible.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
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