Breast milk is essential for optimal nourishment and development yet cultural and economic barriers still make it difficult for many women to breastfeed.
Health outcomes differ substantially for infants who are formula fed compared to those who are breastfed, even in developed countries such as the United States. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends that children are breastfed until at least the age of two.
Yet less than half of women in the U.S. are able to breastfeed their child until 6 months of age due to lack of information, deeply ingrained cultural expectations, maternity leave policies, and lack of workplace support.
As the only industrialized country that doesn’t pay women equally or guarantee women or new parents paid leave, many women are forced to exit the workforce to care for their children due to the inflated costs of childcare, or turn to formula feeding to ease the burden of having to breastfeed without their child for most of the day.
Breastfeeding is an essential element in the optimal health, nourishment, and development of children around the world. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends that children are breastfed until at least the age of 2.
“In addition to vital antibodies, healthy fats, and essential vitamins, studies have found that breast milk is filled with hundreds of beneficial bacteria that get to work colonizing an infant’s individual gut flora, which will become the foundation for his or her immune system. Now that we understand this microbial exchange that happens through breast milk, we know that breastfeeding is even more essential to optimal health than we originally thought,” stated Jamie Morea, Founding Member of Change for Women Collective and Co-founder of Hyperbiotics.
How we’re changing lives:
- Ending wage discrimination and opening doors for women in the workplace through AAUW
- Supporting mother-to-mother encouragement, information, and education through La Leche League
- Helping women make informed decisions to achieve their breastfeeding goals through Best for Babes Foundation
- Promoting a healthy, happy feeding relationship between babies and their mothers with Nursing Mother’s Council