Yes, it really does take a village!

U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin

An article called “Breast-Feeding: It Takes a Village to Help Moms Succeed” popped up on my facebook page like ten times today. I am a bit of a birth junky, see, and quite a few of my cronies are doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, and other assorted earthy crunchy types. And they were all sharing this article today.

To sum up: the U.S. Surgeon General issued a “call to action” for us all to do more to support nursing moms. Like employers should provide places to pump that aren’t bathroom stalls. Like hospitals should have lactation consultants on staff. Like maternity nurses should not automatically feed newborns formula or sugar water. Yeah!

Apparently I am in a pretty small minority (thirteen percent!) of moms who managed to continue breastfeeding their babies for at least six months. I nursed each of mine for around a year, give or take. I did have trouble getting started, especially with the first one. I did end up pumping at work. Pumping at work actually turned out to be one of the highlights of my day. Because my closest colleagues at that job happened to be a couple of carefree single guys fresh out of college and boy did it freak them out. Tee hee.

Anyway, I think this call to action is awesome.

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  1. Speaking as an old fart, it’s a two way street. It freaks me when a woman walks into, say, a waiting room, whips out a breast and begins nursing. I certainly support all of the above, but after 66 years, it’s burned into my sensibilities … I don’t want to watch.

  2. I agree more support is needed to make it easier to stick with it. I gave up when I had to go back to work with both my first and second sons because I would have had to pump in the bathroom and that just didn’t seem very sanitary. I was lucky enough to stay home when the twins were born so I was able to nurse them both for over 6 months which was way longer than the 6 weeks with the first two.

  3. Yes indeed! I was only working 8–10 hours per week. Were it full-time, I don’t know how long I could have kept it up.

  4. Nothing should be awkward about mothers nursing in public; we should encourage it because that is the healthiest food an infant can get, and it helps immunize against future health problems. I spent many years designing rural health projects in impoverished parts of Africa, Asia and South America, where breast-feeding in public was common, and (in a few places) women wore nothing above the waist. Getting “freaked” about that is a cultural problem easily overcome. So I solidly support Mo on this. (BTW, I am 85 years old, a World War II vet, and pretty lively except that I am now forbidden to ski because I am stuck on blood thinners after a couple of strokes. Still got the skis, though.) Incidentally, I Googled onto this blog because I wanted to revisit an article I wrote for the Korea Monitor three years ago, titled “Yes, it does take a village” — about foster children. Anyone interested can find it on Google immediately beneath this blog of Mo’s.


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