Is it impossible to breastfeed and have a full-time job?


‘Breastfeeding took its toll on me, and it was not as cost-effective as I had first believed.’ PHOTO/SeventyFour Images/Alamy Stock Photo

US working mothers who wish to breastfeed must navigate a lack of sufficient maternity leave and unspoken financial costs – not to mention time

When I gave birth to my first child the nurses didn’t want to release me from the hospital – I was that bad at breastfeeding. They pulled and stretched my nipples, treating them like pieces of silly putty, rather than the soft and tender flesh that they were. If you’d told me that I’d eventually breastfeed for over six years (and counting), spread out among three children, I would have likely responded that there was absolutely no way. Along the way I have become acutely aware of the cost of breastfeeding, both in the extensive amount of time that I have dedicated to it, and the financial sacrifices that I have made in order to be available to breastfeed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers worldwide exclusively breastfeed for six months, and should continue breastfeeding once food is introduced, up to two years or more. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests six months of exclusive breastfeeding and one year or more of breastfeeding with complementary foods. The AAP also states within its guidelines: “Infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.”Translation: if you’re not breastfeeding you’re endangering society.

The Guardian for more

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