When it comes to breastfeeding, these women don't mess around.
Whoa! Is this too good to be true?
By breastfeeding, your knockers can help save the U.S. $13 BILLION a year in health care.
That's right. Breasts play a huge role in our national budget. If 90% of babies were breastfed, the savings from pediatric diseases like sudden infant death syndrome, childhood asthma, childhood leukemia, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and childhood obesity would be $13 billion. No kidding. It's all here: Breastfeeding and the U.S. economy.
Well, OK, not totally. You have to eat more in order to accommodate those extra up to 500 calories a day you need to produce milk. Oh, darn.
Breastfeeding is healthy for the mom, as well as the baby.
There's a lot of data on the health benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization says breastfeeding can also increase your child's IQ.
But, hey, if it's so great, why aren't more babies breastfed?
Globally, less than 40% of babies get the breast. In the U.S. 80% of newborns are breastfed, but three months later, only 40% of babies are.
As anyone knows who's tried it, breastfeeding may be natural, but it's not easy. Moms need ongoing support.
Lots of moms need help learning how to breastfeed — and they need community acceptance and support to keep on doing it. Also, not every mom is able to breastfeed; there are a lot of things that can get in the way and go wrong.
But, there's another great big challenge for breastfeeding moms — GOING TO WORK.
Compared to most other developed countries, the U.S. government does almost nothing to support new moms so they have the time and flexibility to do important, money-saving activities like breastfeeding. Here's a chart of countries ranked by the number of weeks the federal government funds and protects maternity and paternity leave. Can you find the U.S.?
So maybe this is why U.S. breastfeeding rates are highest among the white and the wealthy. Women with low-income jobs often have to return to the workforce more quickly, and those jobs are less likely to offer paid or even protected maternity leave.
Know your rights, working moms!
Federally supported family leave would be a great thing for babies and their families. But at least we have " break time for nursing mothers," a federal law requiring employers to provide a "reasonable" amount of time and a private space (other than a bathroom) for hourly paid workers to express breast milk at work. They have to provide this until the employee's baby turns 1 year old.