Posted: Aug 30, 2012 11:57 AM by Amy Fuller
Updated: Aug 30, 2012 11:57 AM
This one is for the working moms...
As a working mom did you struggle to breastfeed? How long did you nurse? How long and often did you pump? What advice do you have for new moms that are facing shorter maternity leaves but who want to continue nursing? How do you feel about your nursing relationship as a working mom?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card, breastfeeding rates in the U.S. are on the rise. The report card says:
"Breastfeeding initiation increased from 74.6% in 2008 to 76.9% in 2009 births. This improvement in initiation represents the largest annual increase over the previous decade. Breastfeeding at 6 months increased from 44.3% to 47.2%; breastfeeding at 12 months increased from 23.8% to 25.5%."
Working moms clearly face more challenges with breastfeeding because they are away from their babies earlier and more often. I have a friend that worked full time, commuting 1.5 hours one way to work in addition to a full workday, and at almost 18 months is still nursing her son. She pumped when she was away from him and nursed frequently when she was with him. She had three months of maternity leave, which I believe helped but she said it was hard work: the constant pumping, the milk supply issues, the baby wanting to be latched on all the time when she was with him but she's thankful that she was able to do it and proud of herself for making it happen. There were times that she wanted to quit or almost had to quit because of supply issues. I know other women who did end up having supply problems and didn't get to breastfeed nearly that long.
Many moms in the U.S. go back to work six weeks after having a baby because their maternity leave is only that long. Other countries in the world have much longer maternity leaves and most of them are paid. The US has one of the shortest maternity leaves in the world and most employers do not pay for the leave. Here is a chart on Kelly Mom that shows the length of maternity leave, the amount paid and the relationship to the length of time mothers breastfed their babies. Like this article says, there are other factors besides maternity leave and pay that influence breastfeeding rates and length but clearly there is a relationship.
Do you have any advice for new, working moms? Please share it below!