Dear members of Congress,
As one of over a million MomsRising.org members across the country, I urge you to join me in celebrating National Breastfeeding Month, by passing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program!
Right now, 1 in 4 women is back at work within two weeks of giving birth because they cannot afford to take any additional unpaid time away. As a result, new moms are back at work before they’ve been able to recover from giving birth and before they’ve been able to establish breastfeeding routines.
In the U.S., while 4 out of 5 mothers start out breastfeeding, less than half are still breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum. Moms of color struggle even more. Breastfeeding initiation rates for Black moms are significantly lower than breastfeeding rates for other moms in almost half of the country and the disparity widens by 25% in 7 states. The lack of access to paid leave is one of the barriers that so many parents face in meeting their breastfeeding goals.
A comprehensive paid family and medical leave program can help empower parents to meet their breastfeeding/chestfeeding goals! But breastfeeding isn’t just good for parents and babies. The fact is that breastfeeding is good for the physical and economic health of our nation. Recent studies have shown if parents could meet current medical recommendations for breastfeeding it would save the US economy nearly $13 billion per year in pediatric health costs and premature deaths.
Let’s invest in families, our businesses, our economy, and our country by investing in care -- and let’s start by ensuring that working families have access to comprehensive paid family and medical leave.