Sunday, March 21, 2010

What can we do to get people to breastfeed?

I really don't understand the reasons why people chose not to breastfeed, and/or give it up so easily. Is it lack of knowing all of what they are giving up? Is it the perception that bottle is easier? What is it? And what can we do to get people to change?

Cue Sweden. Sweden has about a 90% breastfeeding rate. Why is this? Well, it helps that women are given a year of maternity leave with 80% pay, and that most workplaces are very flexible when they come back to work. Also, stores and public places are very family friendly. Look at Ikea. Ikea is a Swedish company. And they are very kid friendly by offering a playspace, family bathrooms, and they even have baby food at their cafe, among other things. But basically what it comes down to is that in Sweden they value families and they support families. We need to build a culture of breastfeeding and up our value of family. And put in place rules, spaces, and support to make this happen.

As one bumper sticker says, "Affordable healthcare starts with breastfeeding." And we all know that nothing happens unless it benefits someone financially. Breastfeeding does, not that its is the only, or even the best reason to support it. But, isn't this a no-brainer as far as something to support for good healthcare, smart children, and prevention of illness? Just saying!

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