This is the 15th in a series of posts on Booby Traps, made possible by the generous support of Motherlove Herbal Company.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
I’ve been writing about the Booby Traps – the cultural and institutional barriers that stand in the way of moms reaching their personal breastfeeding goals – for a few months now. But I think that this is a good time to pause for a moment to point out a number of barrier-busting developments in breastfeeding in the last year.
Though beating the Booby Traps often seems like an uphill battle, there have been some exciting and meaningful developments in the last year. We have a lot to celebrate:
Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. This year began with a landmark policy statement by the Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin. The Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding tackles the Booby Traps head on, identifying 20 key actions to improve support for breastfeeding.
Employers required to accommodate pumping moms. The federal health care reform law requires many employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place for some nursing mothers to express breast milk during the workday, for one year after the child’s birth.
First Lady promotes breastfeeding. I remember joking with my colleagues at one hospital a few years ago about how great it would be if Michelle Obama were to stand up for breastfeeding. We all laughed at how improbable that seemed. Boy, were we wrong!
Infant Risk Center opens. The treasure trove of information in Dr. Thomas Hale’s Medications and Mother’s Milk is now just a free phone call away. Want to know if you can take a medication while breastfeeding? Just call. And now both LactMed and Medications and Mother’s Milk are available as apps for the iPhone and Android platforms.
CDC and AAP supports WHO growth charts. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorsed the use of the World Health Organization’s growth charts, which establish growth of the breastfed infant as the norm for infant growth. With these two endorsements, pediatric practices will move in larger numbers to begin using them.
Insurance coverage for breastfeeding support and pump rentals may be on the way. The federal health care reform legislation contained a provision requiring that breastfeeding support be covered by insurance policies, but interpretation of it varied and it hasn’t made much difference. But just last month the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report requested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which recommends coverage for breastfeeding support (prenatal through postpartum) and breastpump rentals. If adopted, this would make a big difference in our ability get help.
Evidence continues to support the use of anti-retroviral drugs to prevent most mother-to-child HIV infections through breastfeeding. Finally, for Babes in the developing world, research is continuing to support the effectiveness of using anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) while breastfeeding at reducing HIV infection through breastmilk. This is a huge development, as not breastfeeding can be deadly in developing countries, but mother-to child transmission through breastfeeding has been a major route of new infections. Policies and practice are beginning to change.
Obviously, we have a ways to go to eliminate the Booby Traps, but it’s been a pretty good year, don’t you think?
Want to keep this momentum going? Best for Babes works tirelessly to beat the Booby Traps, and you can help by donating to our Buck a Boob campaign this World Breastfeeding Week!
Donate a buck a boob today – just $2! – and take a stand against the Breastfeeding Booby Traps!
I’m sure I’ve missed some important things. What do you have to add?