When I first started breastfeeding my first child, I did not think about breastfeeding rights. I just knew I wanted to at least attempt to breastfeed. I knew that if I did not at least attempt then I would look back and regret my decision. Yes, I wanted the best for my child. No, I did not have family members who had breastfed. There was no ‘rooming in’ or ‘skin to skin’ care. No lactation consultant came because there was only one and she wasn’t working when I delivered. My baby went straight to the nursery after delivery to be bathed. She came back crying and hungry. My heart broke. How long had she been crying and asking for me before the nurses brought her to me? Somehow we muddled through it and she recovered from the ordeal and stayed with me the rest of our hospital stay. I found my voice. And I kept my voice when my mom told me to give her a little formula after she spit up because she must ‘not like breast milk’. I kept my voice when I asked for a break at work because my husband had brought that same daughter to my job to breastfeed because we were out of pumped breast milk at home and she was HUNGRY!. I kept that voice when I asked for a chair to be dragged from a room down at the end of the hall to the ladies’ room so I could breastfeed her at the museum we were visiting. When she was over a year old, I kept that voice when family members looked at me and said “Are you still breastfeeding her?” with that “Really?!?” face that we all know and love. Knowing your Breastfeeding Rights can give you the ability to make choices. To make the choice that is best for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding Rights (these are just a few)**:
It is your right to make your own choice about breastfeeding.
It is your right to have healthcare workers to encourage and support breastfeeding.
It is your right to breastfeed your baby at any time day or night.
It is your right to keep your baby in your room 24 hours a day.
It is your right to not have your baby receive any bottle feeding or pacifiers.
It is your right to have someone trained to help you with breastfeeding, tell you how you are doing and help you when you need it and help you improve.
It is your right to breastfeed in any public or private location where you are allowed to be.
It is your right to breastfeed your baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, or have your baby receive your expressed milk.
**Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights by Noodle Soup http://www.noodlesoup.com/