The U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t require paid maternity leave, and one of only three countries (the others are Oman and Papua New Guinea) that do not, according to the International Labor Office. The Society for Human Resources reports that only 12% of companies in the U.S. give paid maternity leave. However, women in the U.S. also have many options that can help make it possible for working moms to breastfeed, including refrigeration in most workplaces.
Whether you’re a working mom or not, this is a good month to think about the kind of support you need for successful breastfeeding.
It’s also a great time to learn about the benefits of breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding provides the perfect nutrition for your baby. Your milk is exactly what your baby needs to grow and thrive.
- In fact, babies who have just breast milk for their first six months are less likely to have allergies, asthma, diarrhea, and ear infections. They’re less likely to end up in the hospital or to catch diseases.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is less common in breastfed babies.
- Vaccines are more effective for children who were breastfed.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to become obese children.
- Some studies have found that breastfed babies have higher IQs and are more successful later in life. This might be because they spend more time interacting with mom, but the evidence is strong enough that it’s a good reason to breastfeed your baby.
- Breastfeeding is economical. You may need a breast pump and bottles for expressed milk if your baby has other caregivers, including Daddy, but you won’t have to buy formula, and that’s a big savings.
- Breastfeeding helps moms, too. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus get back in shape. You’re more likely to lose pregnancy weight if you breastfeed, too — some of that weight is supposed to give you the extra energy you need for breastfeeding.
- Women who breastfeed are less likely to have osteoporosis later in life, and they also have lower rates of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding is less limiting for new moms. No need to prepare bottles and worry about their temperature or spoiling when you’re out. As long as you bring Baby with you, you don’t need any other preparation.