Interesting Breastfeeding/Family Leave Discussion | Giftie Etcetera: Interesting Breastfeeding/Family Leave Discussion

Monday, April 27, 2009

Interesting Breastfeeding/Family Leave Discussion

While sitting home with Loki a couple of days ago, I happened to turn on the public broadcasting network. There was a fascinating discussion of breastfeeding and it's affect on income. Apparently, a study recently came out that said, over a woman's lifetime, she makes less if she breastfeeds. As a working and nursing mom, I'm not shocked.

Sure, maybe in the end I'll spend less on medical bills (doesn't feel like it this week, though, with our doctor and hospital visits :/) and less sick time off. But, right now, breastfeeding cuts into my pay, probably more than formula would cost. I took longer off of work to nurse Loki. I go in later, take a longer lunch, and leave earlier, all to nurse my baby.

I'm okay with all of that. My choice to breastfeed was not based on money, but what was best for my family. I do think some moms HAVE to work and end up using formula because of it, but I could afford a little bit of a flexible schedule, at lower pay, to breastfeed, so that wasn't a real factor for my family. (I'm not okay with my infections, overproduction, lack of breaks, lack of sleep...but that's a different story. :)-)

Back to the discussion, though. There were liberal women there discussing how paid family leave would be fair, so moms could breastfeed. They pointed out that giving mandatory breaks for pumping and supplying private areas would go a long way to helping moms breastfeed. I agree.

And then the more conservative women spoke up. And they talked about how a family works together to pay the bills. Sometimes, that means mom takes a year off and a cut in pay (over time) to nurse each baby. I agree.

I found myself wanting paid leaves for moms. (As a small business owner, this would be tough for me to provide. But if all small business owners had to do it, prices would go up to cover it, and it's something I could budget for.) But I also find myself thinking that families do need to rearrange things, not necessarily to breastfeed, but to give the baby extra attention in the first year. Maybe part of that is breastfeeding. Maybe it's not. But babies take a lot of work in year one and families need to be available for it.

I rarely agree with a conservative viewpoint. And, clearly, I was MORE in agreement with the liberal speakers. But I understood the conservative viewpoint, too, which was sort of disconcerting for me.



Derwinicus said...

Here in Chile it is law for employers to give a nursing mom one hour off a day for the baby's first year. I think it's a great thing!

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