Moms in Allen County, Ohio, were recently awarded the right
to request to bring nurselings with them to work while breastfeeding. It's certainly a
progressive way to support breastfeeding moms, but I
have to wonder if it's the best solution.
My initial response to this news was one of excitement. I was
excited that nursing mothers would have the option to keep their babies with
them. And yeah, it sounds great on paper. But then I started to remember what
it was like to have a nursing infant. I was lucky if I got to have a shower. In
fact, one of the best things about having a nursing
infant is that nobody expects you to shower.
If you're a mom who nurses on demand, you are just that—on
demand—24/7. I cannot imagine trying to get things accomplished at a
full-time job while taking the time necessary to keep a newborn baby happy. And
the pressure would actually be quite a bit higher in that situation, because the
mother's right to take her baby to work can be revoked if the baby becomes too
distracting. So not only are you trying to look presentable, get stuff done and
get diapers changed, but you must also keep the baby from crying too much, or
your nurse-at-work privileges can be revoked. As if a new mom doesn't have enough
There may be a select few young mothers who can pull off the responsibilities of motherhood while also performing their work duties, but I'm pretty sure I don't know any.
While I love the spirit behind this idea, it's not what new
mothers need. They need paid leave. They need several months to bond with their
babies without having to worry about accomplishing anything else.
There may be
a select few young mothers who can pull off the responsibilities of motherhood
while also performing their work duties, but I'm pretty sure I don't know any.
Unless the mothers in this Ohio county are somehow endowed with superpowers or
super quiet babies, I'm guessing that not many will be able to take advantage
of this generous offer.
It almost sounds like feminism, doesn't it? It sounds like
we are saying, "You can have it all,
new moms! If you can nurse your baby and work at the same time, why then you
are free to do so!" But, in my humble opinion, this would not be a step forward
This is us telling moms that, if they want to remain financially
stable and also breastfeed their babies, they
have to somehow manage to do two full-time jobs at once. She won't be able to
fully dedicate herself to either task, and the result is that both will suffer.
People, parents need more
paid leave. That's it. That's the solution. Anything short of that is shortchanging families, no matter how great our intentions or how good it looks
on paper. I suppose this is a step in the right direction, but let's not stop