Pump It Up!

Image from the Louisville blog, "Don't Worry Baby."

It’s not every day or every city that one can Google the name of their mayor + breastfeeding and get such great news! Kudos to Mayor Greg Fischer and Dr. Matt Zahn with the Dept. of Public Health and Wellness for making life a little easier for moms and a lot healthier for the youngest constituents of the Louisville Metro!

This should have an impact on information passed on to postpartum moms at the four area birthing hospitals–Baptist Hospital East, Norton, Norton Suburban and University–where women will be encouraged to choose breastfeeding for nourishment and bonding in the crucial hours after birth and until they leave the facility.

Just so you know, Kentucky is struggling to keep its place at the bottom of the list for breastfeeding. When 59% of women opt for the natural, available, healthiest and free benefits of mother’s milk, the rest of the nation averages 75%.

Education and empowerment will hopefully overcome the social or cultural stigma of breastfeeding as opposed to the conveyor belt convenience of formula–which kicked in about the same time that TV dinners hit the market in the Boomer years.

“Breastfeeding has many well documented health advantages both for the baby and mother,” said Mayor Fischer.  “It’s the gold standard for infant feeding.”

Beyond the birth, this new action from City Hall will inspire workspaces  to create clean, dignified locations at the workplace for expressing milk. Employees of the Louisville Metro government enjoy the relief of “lactation stations” as well as opportunities to receive breast pumps.

How does your employer feel about this?  Your school? Be a lactivist and find out before your maternity leave is up.

If you’ve ever been a mom in the office environment who had to sit in a bathroom stall on a commode and nurse your hungry child or  pump breast milk for storage while tapping  your toe on cold tile and cope with the smell and sounds of,  well, you know….it’s understood.

As a birth and postpartum doula (labor coach and mom’s helper), I am blissful with the release of this new policy and subsequent action.  As a father of four, Fischer with his family experience has to appreciate the value of the comfort of his employees and all Louisville moms as the ink dried on today’s documents. I would like to hear more from our First Lady, Dr. Alex Gerassimides on that topic!

There are many options for education and support in Kentuckiana for breastfeeding. A good start is to check out Birth Care Network and see what is available to you in  your area.