Is the AAP Putting Unrealistic Expectations on Texas Mothers?
As if mothers don't already have enough stress on their plates, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has put out new guidelines for breastfeeding.
The group is now advising moms to breastfeed their babies "until two years or beyond, as mutually desired by mother and child." Now don't get me wrong, I'm never going to negate the spectacular benefits that breastmilk provides a child or the wonderful bonding experience that comes with this activity.
However, the physical and emotional toll that this task puts on the mother is daunting. Not only that, but it's also extremely time consuming and can be quite painful, even when your child does not have any teeth. Bleeding nipples were NOT advertised when I signed up for this task.
Additionally, we live in a state that does not wholeheartedly embrace this recommended practice. In places like California, it's considered commonplace to have rooms specifically designated for breastfeeding and pumping in an array of establishments. They also offer much more extensive leave policies for new parents.
Texas, I love you, but the bathroom does not seem like a sanitary place to feed my baby, and the 6 whole "paid" weeks I was offered to heal and adjust to new mom life is, for lack of a better word, inhumane. Anyone who has gone through childbirth is aware of the trauma that your body goes through, and to expect a woman to somehow bounce back in that minuscule time frame is laughable.
Add in making food for another human being and somehow jumping back into work and you're setting women up for failure. The timing of this decision also seems extremely convenient with the national formula shortage still in full swing. Needless to say, this announcement has left many moms feeling frustrated and more vulnerable than ever to criticism.
I'm all for normalizing breastfeeding and for a parent's right to choose the length of time that they deem appropriate for breastfeeding their child, but without the proper support in place this news puts an undue burden on already fragile mothers. Hopefully, these recommendations will at least spark a conversation about the need for changes in the workplace and in society in regards to breastfeeding and a more appropriate level of support, but these necessary changes will likely not come for a long while.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree with the AAP's assessment or do you think other changes should first be made before making these types of recommendations?