Jun. 9th, 2009

Boobies!

Jun. 9th, 2009 11:01 pm
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Tomorrow, I get to speak with congresspeople! What- they're boobs sometimes; the title's still accurate. I've gone to rallies and such, but this will be the first activist work I've done in DC that involved actual politicians. ;-)

I'll be going to a seminar first, along with 50 other women (including the head of parent services at WHC, Mudiwah Kadeshe, who I met before AJ was born). Then I'm off to talk with the bigwigs directly as part of a Breastfeeding Advocacy Day

I've been lucky to be a full-time mommy for AJ's first year. While I had my challenges, finding a way to breastfeed my child wasn't one of them. I was never one of the mothers shamefully hiding in a bathroom stall to pump milk during the workday- which is a good thing; pumps and I didn't get along at all. Which is the main part of why I'm going. There's a section in the bill we're trying to pass that would establish standards for breastpumps. Every time I tried to use a pump I got plugged ducts- a condition that led to mastitis on 5 separate occasions. I was lucky enough to just give up the pump and feed AJ "from the tap" but moms who work outside the home don't have that luxury. As such, it's important that they have access not only to clean, private areas in which to pump, but well-made, effective pumps to use.

The bill would also provide protection for breastfeeding mothers (for definitions of "breastfeeding" including using expressed milk) against discriminatory action by their employers. Some people argue that moms shouldn't get to take "extra" breaks to pump during the workday. Those people better not be smokers. I spent WAY more than 15 minutes twice a day on culturally-sanctioned smoke breaks that were detrimental to my health and my productivity. Affording moms the same amount of time to do something that benefits their health, and the health of their children, offers a much greater return- namely less time off for moms with "the boobie flu" or sick kids (not breastfeeding has been linked to a greater number of ear infections and other illnesses in babies). It's the least we can do.

I am excited, but also nervous. I'd gladly write a letter to a congressperson, but I'm intimidated by the thought of speaking to them face-to-face, especially on their turf. Hopefully the seminar beforehand will help me be confident.

We'll see.

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