Boob Job: The Working Mother's Breastfeeding Dilemma.
What’s a woman to do?
She grows up, does well in school, goes to college, graduates and vigorously pursues a career. Eventually, she turns 30. She may or may not get or be married by that time, but one thing’s for sure, if she’s ever contemplated becoming a mother, by the time she hits her mid-30s – at, ironically, the same time careers tend to take off – she knows she needs to get things rolling if she wishes to give birth to a baby.
So this Generation X woman -- who’s been told all throughout her childhood and early adulthood that she can do everything she puts her mind to, anything her male peers can do -- gets pregnant. Then she smacks into a misogynistic, old school wall. Hard. And not many people, it appears, seem to care.
During her pregnancy, she’s inundated with ominous recommendations from the medical community and any one of the many “parenting experts,” about how she should raise her child. She’s faced with suggestions about everything from the use of pacifiers and child-proofing her home, to what kind of safety seats she should purchase. One of the most forceful pieces of medical advice she’s given – as she’s trying to plow her way through her career while trying not to let her pregnancy get in the way of her work – is that she should breastfeed her baby. In fact, she’s told by the august American Academy of Pediatrics, that she should feed her baby only breastmilk for the first six months, and continue breastfeeding until the child is 12 months old. The federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, does its part to aggressively promote breastfeeding including paying for a pro-breastfeeding ad campaign that compares feeding a child baby formula to log-rolling or riding a mechanical bull while pregnant. One U.S. senator, in discussing breastfeeding recommendations, even went so far as to suggest to the New York Times that the federal government ought to consider putting warning labels on baby formula “similar to those on cigarettes.”
Given the onslaught of pro-breastfeeding advice, this modern woman, who really wants to keep working after having her baby, makes a mental note that she’s going to breastfeed so she won’t be feeding her child what some pro-breastfeeding folks call the equivalent of poison. Several weeks after giving birth, she returns to work, breast pump in hand, with all the best intentions to lactate and work.
Not so fast.