‘Breast-feeding is only free to those who can afford it’

Good job on presenting an article about breast-feeding (Malena Lott, “Breast is best,” April 21, 2010, Gazette). I only wish you’d delved a little deeper into the issue.

Many people agree that “breast is best,” but the reason why many women continue to bottle feed with formula is not (only) because our mothers and grandmothers discourage us, but because it is not economically feasible.

Nursing is very rarely “free.” A nursing mother must be available to her baby as often as every two hours (as for a newborn’s first month). This implies that she is a stay-at-home mother, and few families can afford this option long-term.  

Yes, a woman can pump her milk, but this entails the purchase of a pump, the bottles, and the bottle liners ” items that the expert you quoted said were unnecessary. And if a woman works, pumping is only possible if she’s at a facility at which she is allowed the time and privacy for pumping, as well as a refrigerator for storage.  

Like many other states, Oklahoma protects the right of a women to breast-feed “anywhere they have a right to be,” (HB 2102, 2004) and to nurse or express milk during unpaid break or meal times (HB 2358, 2006). But ask any blue-collar employee, and probably many white-collar ones as well, if these options are really available to them.  

Until we deal with these issues of employee rights and class inequity, it serves little purpose to promote breast-feeding as “free.” Breast-feeding is only free to those who can afford it.

“Cornelia Lambert

Cornelia Lambert

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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