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Support Breastfeeding and Paid Family Leave

Posted Aug 11 2009 12:27pm

Breastfeeding can be hard enough for any new mama. Some of us produce too much milk, some too little, some of us get infections, or struggle to have our new little baby latch on well. Breastfeeding has been known to lessen obesity, allergies, and quoted from a guest poster on Non-Toxic Kids,

“Research shows that breast milk is best for a babys health and is perfectly suited to protect the baby from illnesses. Babies who are breast-fed are healthier and develop a stronger immune system, making them less prone to hospital admissions and problems such as diarrhea, allergies, and infections, which are more prone in babies who are bottle-fed.”

The benefits go beyond this, we know. Constant bonding and closeness with your baby promotes close relationships and connections. Of course this is possible for bottle fed babies too.

But women without paid family leave, a whopping 51 percent, are less likely to continue breastfeeding. For this and many other reasons, we need paid family leave. In fact, only 13 perecent of babies are exlusively breastfeeding at 6 month of age. According to Momsrising,

“Breastfeeding expert Dr. Jerry Calnen argues, “If we are serious about improving our breastfeeding rates, a national paid maternity leave policy will be absolutely necessary.”

In addition to supporting breastfeeding, paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, lowers infant mortality, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family life.7 In the U.S., only 49% of mothers are able to cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave. And 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave — so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.8 No wonder having a baby is a leading cause of “poverty spells” in our nation!”

It’s time for paid family leave. Sign this Momsrising petition to support breastfeeding, and healthier, happier families.

image: 1 week old and breast-feeding perfected by ocadotony on Flickr

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