U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin recently released a Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.The mission? To understand the obstacles faced by women trying to breastfeed and to outline steps that health care systems, businesses and communities can take to remove these obstacles.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card, 75 percent of mothers in the U.S. start out breastfeeding their babies. But by the end of six months, only 43 percent of mothers are still doing it, and only 13 percent are doing it as their baby's exclusive food source.
The surgeon general wants to give those numbers a boost. The Healthy People 2020 objectives for breastfeeding are: 82 percent ever breastfed, 61 percent at 6 months, and 34 percent at 1 year.
To support these goals, Benjamin's "call to action" looks at some of the many obstacles that prevent women from breastfeeding, namely lack of support from family members, lack of information and instruction about breastfeeding, hospital practices that are not supportive of breastfeeding, and lack of workplace accommodation for breastfeeding and pumping.
So how does Benjamin suggest removing these obstacles? Her call to action presented ideas such as expanded peer support programs; paid maternity leave; programs that allow mothers to bring their babies to work; on-site childcare; and adequate breaks and private spaces to pump breastmilk.
Read the full call to action here.
All of these ideas sound great to me on paper, but who is willing to take them from neatly printed bullet points to real points of action in hospitals, businesses and communities?
Is your community and/or workplace supportive of breastfeeding? What initiatives would you like to see suggested to remove the "booby traps" of breastfeeding?