Friday, September 01, 2006

Pumping as a class issue

There's nothing in this article from the NY Times that is surprising, but that doesn't mean it's not depressing: there is a clear separation between new moms returning to work who are able to pump, and those who aren't. The article draws a nice line between managers at Starbucks who are able to pump privately and conveniently in their offices and counter employees who must save up break time to pump in the customer bathroom. Is it any wonder breastfeeding rates are so low among women with less education and lower-paying jobs?

Where, exactly, is our commitment to families and children? Why on God's green earth are we expressing that commitment by obsessing over whether embryos should be flushed down the sink instead of used in research, instead of putting our collective energy toward creating policies that would encourage breastfeeding for all families, regardless of class? Why do we spend so much effort castigating women who can't/don't/won't breastfeed instead of actually giving them the tools they need to increase their likelihood of successfully breastfeeding?

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