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.
3. And it's hard at work. While breast milk may be free—saving upward of $1,200 a year in formula costs—breastfeeding isn't, especially for working women. The Family and Medical Leave Act ensures 12 weeks of job protection for new mothers in workplaces of 50 people or more, but no promise of paid leave. Pumping is easier courtesy of 2010 legislation that requires companies to provide women with a clean, quiet place to breastfeed, but the law doesn't cover small workplaces or require employers to pay women during pumping breaks.
What you can do: Talk to your boss and human resources rep about your breastfeeding plans in your second trimester. Try to negotiate as much paid leave as possible—you may want to tack on vacation days. Push for the creation of a clean, private space to pump milk, if there isn't one (the ladies' room, by law, doesn't count). If you're an hourly worker, see if you can come in early or stay late at work to make up for pumping breaks.
4. It's completely foreign to me. “Most mothers today were born at a time when formula-feeding was the norm,” says Nancy Mohrbacher, a certified lactation consultant and author of Breastfeeding Made Simple. “Women often turn to their mothers for guidance, and if there's no experience there, there may be no support.”
What you can do: Make breast friends. The La Leche League (llli.org) links nursing moms through local support, and Breastfeeding USA (breastfeedingusa.org) connects women with “breastfeeding counselors,” experienced mothers who've gone through a four- to six-month training program. The Black Mother's Breastfeeding Association has a Facebook page where moms trade tips. “Breastfeeding can be isolating,” says Mohrbacher. “But the more you surround yourself with other moms who are doing it, too, the more you'll understand your experiences are normal.”