It is nearing the end of “Breast-Feeding Awareness Week” and I have decided to touch on the topic as there is a Bill going into effect on Guam concerning the matter.
Guam is currently one of the only places in the U.S. that does not have any form of breastfeeding law. Bill 15-32, Nana Yan Patgon Act (Mother and Child Act) will be a federal law requiring employers to provide reasonable break times for breastfeeding mothers to pump milk for their nursing babies in a clean environment and offering working mothers to do so in a place other than a bathroom.
This is a fantastic initiative to put in place. Mother’s should not feel shunned for their choice of nurturing their child whether they are working or at home. A private and clean place to pump is important and no mother should be asked to do this in a bathroom stall.
I also believe this a two-way street. Women who breast-feed must overcome many physical, emotional and social difficulties which should not be undermined. But bottle-feeding mothers are also stigmatized perhaps as cold, uneducated, selfish or lazy. The list goes on. The undeniable truth is that every mother’s experience is different. Every mother’s struggle is different. In the end, she must choose what is right for her and her baby.
There is a wonderful movement going on right now that I think is of the utmost importance. As women, we should unite and support each other’s decisions. Sometimes the choice is easy, sometimes it is difficult and sometimes there isn’t much of a choice. We all want what is best and sometimes that differs from mother to mother and even child to child.
The I Support You movement is a respectful, empathetic, compassionate exchange between parents. We all feed our children differently, but we are all feeding with love, and in ways that work for our individual circumstances and family dynamics. I Support You is the first step in helping formula-feeding, breast-feeding, and combo-feeding parents to come together and lift each other up with kindness and understanding. We have chosen to announce this movement during World Breastfeeding Week, to honor the commitment of those who fight for better support for breastfeeding moms; we are inspired by this, but believe that by changing the focus to supporting all parents, we can truly provoke positive change without putting the needs of some mothers above the needs of others. The “I Support You” movement aims:
1) To bridge the gap between formula-feeding and breastfeeding parents by fostering friendships and interactions.
2) To dispel common myths and misperceptions about formula feeding and breastfeeding, by asking parents to share their stories, and really listening to the truth of their experiences.
3) To provide information and support to parents as they make decisions about how to feed their children.
4) To connect parents with local resources, mentors, and friends who are feeding their children in similar ways.
So no matter how you choose to fill your babies’ bellies, I hope you fill their hearts, minds and souls with lots and lots of love. And that is something we can all support.
(Edit: I still feel this way about breastfeeding, I am now a mother of two and my eldest was breastfed for one month and I am still exclusively breastfeeding my 3 month old and trying to feel more comfortable doing it in public even with a cover on. Every mama has to do what is best for her baby, no matter what it might be and every baby is different. Feed with love!)