Breastfeeding in the Modern Age
Find out why choosing to nurse has become such a public issue. Plus surprising breastfeeding tips, tricks, and facts of today.
Nursing Moms Unite
How has such a personal choice become such a public issue? First, medical experts today roundly agree that babies are best served by breast milk for their first six months of life. The AAP recommends that babies continue to drink breast milk once they start solids, until at least 12 months, touting benefits to the infants' immune systems including fewer ear infections, plus added protection against sudden infant death syndrome. But even as a mom who had success providing her child with breast milk through year one, hitting that goal alone is a challenge. Our glimmer of hope? The digital age is transforming the way we approach breastfeeding. Yes, pump technology has improved, and that's a big help to those of us who are on the go (aka, every mom), but Twitter, Facebook, smartphone apps, blogs, even text messaging mean that moms in the trenches (like me) can share in ways they never did before. “Moms can tweet me questions at three a.m.,” says Nancy Holtzman, R.N., VP of clinical content and education at parenting resource center Isis Parenting, who also has a dynamic Twitter following of 1,000 moms (follow her on @nancyholtzman). “I'll answer it by the time they wake up.” Google “breastfeeding blogs,” and you'll get more than 8 million results, not to mention hundreds of Facebook groups including “Real Men Support Breastfeeding” and “If Breastfeeding Offends You, Put a Blanket Over YOUR Head.” In fact, when a Houston-area mom was asked by a Target employee to move from the women's clothing section to a fitting room to nurse her 5-month-old son last winter, one of her mom pals set up a Facebook group to mobilize a “nurse-in.” Within days, the group attracted 6,700 followers, resulting in public-breastfeeding protests at roughly 250 Target stores across the country.