Today is the first day of August and back-to-school is getting closer – but that’s not the only reason we’re excited for the month to start! It’s because August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month!
Established in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Breastfeeding Month raises awareness of the rights of breastfeeding moms and the positive side of nursing. As we know from all the recent stories about controversy over breastfeeding in public, it’s extremely important to know about your rights to feed your child, as well as the facts about mother’s milk.
In terms of rights, you should know that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ensures that employers provide a private place for new moms to either pump or nurse other than the bathroom. The act further requires health plans to cover breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
To translate, this means that when you go back to work and are dealing with the discomfort that comes with not feeding on time, you have every right to take a moment to go to a private place where you can pump or feed without negative repercussions.
This month is also about educating women about the positive effects of breast feeding. According FitPregnancy and HHS, babies who are nursed for their first six months are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illnesses. Further research also suggests that exclusive breastfeeding could help to prevent childhood obesity.
Celebrate National Breastfeeding Month by learning more about the laws in your state regarding breastfeeding or otherwise. And don’t be afraid to express your opinion to your senator or representative- these laws affect women everywhere!