WMDT 47 NEWS - Pediatricians and other health care providers have been saying it for years, breastfeeding is best for baby. And recent numbers show new moms are listening.
The Centers for Disease Control's annual report card shows that 77 percent of new moms in 2013 started breastfeeding. A big jump in the last few years.
But when it comes to long term breastfeeding rates, past the 6-month mark, only about 15 percent of moms make it. "Some moms need a lot of assurance," explains Tina Wehberg, a Lactation Consultant at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, "and reassurance that the breastfeeding experience a positive journey."
One of the biggest hurdles breastfeeding in public. Which is why, for many nursing moms, having a quiet private place to nurse is so important. "They have this designated space for you that's clean and it's just for you," local mom, Michelle Trimper, tells WMDT of her positive experiences breastfeeding at stores, like BabiesRUs, which provide private nursing rooms. "It makes it that much easier to keep up with this routine."
And through the Affordable Care Act nursing mothers now have that additional support, at least in the workplace. The law requires that employers provide a place "other than a bathroom, shielded from view, and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public" where a mom can pump breast milk.
Only companies with less than 50 employees can claim following this rule is an undue hardship.
Prior to the law, many mothers admit having to express breast milk in the bathroom at work. "With my first child that was one of the reasons I stopped (working)," says Lauren Hudson, "because you couldn't find the right time or it was really uncomfortable being in the workplace. To be able to have that space and that privacy is unbeatable." Wehberg agrees, "I think we really need to support mothers and their desire to provide the best medicine for their baby, which is breast milk."
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization strongly recommends exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of life. And a recent study in the Journal Pediatrics showed breastfeeding a child for the first six months of life would save nearly 1,000 lives and billions of dollars each year, because of the risk reduction of certain illnesses such as pneumonia. Much of the cost reportedly comes from excess premature deaths.
If you would like to read the workplace legislation for breast pumping, outlined by the Department of Labor, click here.
Individual states have their own laws, and the Department Of Health And Mental Hygiene has their information online, as well. Click here for those details.
Join WMDT's Emily Lampa as she explores the world of pregnancy. You can read about the do's and don't's plus tips from experts on safety for expecting mothers.