In a commentary in the LA Times Rosa Brooks an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law tells ‘lactavists’ to chill out. She goes on to state that she nursed her two children until they were 6 months old. Great! She then starts in on how hard it is to hold down a job and nurse because babies need to feed so often so therefore formula is the solution. I agree that in our society as it stands now it is difficult to hold down a full time job and be a nursing mother. I myself work full time out of the home and have “meetings” with my breast pump several times a day. It’s not easy but thankfully I have an understanding boss. She goes on to state that early feminists fought for women to hold down jobs and to have motherhood taken seriously but then she divides those two. She is missing the point.
One goal of breastfeeding advocates and ‘lactavists’ is to allow nursing mothers to be part of the workforce and to have protections to accommodate that. The lactavists out there are not trying to force women to breastfeed but to protect those who choose to and help change society so that they are free from discrimination and harassment. This can be done by passing laws that allow women to nurse in public, mandate that employers allow for pumping in the workplace and overall protecting nursing mothers from harassment and discrimination in general. So it is difficult NOW for nursing mothers to be part of the workforce but one goal is to change that. If we just throw up our hands and say it’s too difficult to work and nurse so don’t do it, nothing will ever change.