By Allison Stevens
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Allison Stevens starts her Mom blog next month. In a taste of what's to come, she notes she is writing and breastfeeding at the same time and her back is killing her. Yet, she feels lucky: a new book finds few U.S. working women have lactation benefits.
Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.
We are in the small minority of nations in this regard, according to a new study by Jody Heymann, founding director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Canada, and research scientist Alison Earle.
In their new book, Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Cant Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone, they find that 177 countries guarantee paid leave after the birth of a child and 132 nations guarantee breastfeeding breaks at work.
It's time the United States joins the world community and puts in place these basic workplace supports.
Countries can promote breastfeeding and prosper at the same time, Heymann and Earle show.
Of the 15 most economically-competitive countries in the world, 13 guarantee paid leave for new mothers and seven guarantee breastfeeding breaks to nursing mothers on the job.
Providing working mothers with the time and ability to breastfeed isn't free, but surely the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, can provide new mothers with the minimal supports they need to give their babies the breast--which, we can all agree, is best.
And then let's talk about a new name for this nursing pillow.
Allison Stevens is a writer in Washington, D.C. She writes for clients who support laws to promote breastfeeding in the workplace.
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