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I heart RVA Nursers

July 18, 2011
by

As a full time-working mom who nursed exclusively past a year, I know how hard it is to keep it up. I went back to work 6 weeks after my baby was born and had to trek across the VCU campus twice a day to their lactation room, hoping I wouldn’t have to wait for anyone and rushing to get back to my work (read: it sucked!). Soon after, I started a new job and was lucky to be working for and with two other mamas with babies about my daughter’s age. Our office became the  “dairy farm” . Our company, although an extremely large company on the whole, did not have a lactation room specifically. At one point they took an empty office, gave us a chair and a desk and called it the lactation room. It was sad, with bare walls and a pile of abandoned telephones on the floor. Since then, we’ve had a flux of new working pumping mamas and they created a specific “mom room” which is much nicer, with a  radio and soft lighting.

But even with a nice room, pumping is hard. Taking time out of your day, at least twice a day – it takes a lot of scheduling. And when you’re juggling experiments (like I am – I don’t expect most people have this problem) or client meetings or deadlines, the amount of time it takes for the set up, the let down (har har), and the take down of your pump, storage of your milk, washing and possibly sterilizing your pump (if you have the facilities to even do so) it just makes it not seem worth it to a lot of people. Not to mention people who work hourly jobs, or work in places that do not have convenient places to express milk. A lot of mamas just do not have the “luxury” of pumping at work. And it’s not right. Pumping isn’t a luxury – its’ a necessity. Pumps are now covered by insurance. The Affordable Care Act has made it a requirement that hourly workers have a respectable place to pump (NOT a bathroom, car or closet), and are allowed to take multiple breaks to express their milk without fear of being fired or having their pay docked.

Low income, young, uneducated mothers make up a large part of my city’s popultaion. And now, our mayor has started a Breastfeeding Commission to promote and support exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months for all mamas in our city. He has amazing goals for this initiative including increased funding for education and support programs, and an ultimate goal of getting 75% of Richmond exclusively breastfeeding up to 6 months by 2020.  The ethnic and socio-economic make up of our city contribute largely to the low numbers of moms nursing even up to 3 months. The need to go back to work early, cultural views, age, all make it hard for a lot of Richmonders to breastfeed exclusively. And when even the hospitals and peds aren’t on board with helping to establish breastfeeding (apart from MCV – doing awesome things for breastfeeding!), where else are these women going to get that education? Luckily, the mayor recognizes not only the health benefits of breastfeeding but the economic benefits as well. Mamas who nurse their babies are less likely to miss work b/c they have healthier babies. So maybe he’s looking at it from a business standpoint, but either way – it can only benefit the new moms of our city. Thank you, Mayor Jones!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 1, 2011 2:30 pm

    Here is the link to the write-up I did on the Mayor’s Breastfeeding Commission for Richmondmom.com: http://richmondmom.com/2011/07/24/mayor-jones-announces-breastfeeding-commission/

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