By Michael Yudell
Almost two years ago my wife was visiting her native Boston with our second daughter, and was nursing her on a bench at a suburban mall. While sitting there, feeding our then 4-month-old child, a stranger aggressively approached her and said, "That is disgusting!" My wife, both shocked and appalled, asked the woman, "How could you say that? I am feeding my child."
"Well, I think you need to go into a restroom to do that," the woman angrily responded.
"As a matter of fact, I don't," my wife said. "The law here says I can breastfeed wherever I want." "Well then I am sorry," the woman huffed, and walked away, back to her life in a Victorian-era cave.
Some of breastfeeding's advantages last a lifetime. Breastfed kids have lower lifelong risk of developing diseases like leukemia, for example. Reductions in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have also been found, and breastfeeding has been linked to a 30 percent reduction in obesity – for adolescents and adults.
The coalition's MOMobiles, a ubiquitous sight around Philadelphia, run programs that help new mothers adapt to what can be the tough beginnings of nursing. The coalition has just launched a three-year project funded by the Kellogg Foundation to help increase breast feeding rates in North Philly.
So what else is being done to increase breastfeeding in all groups?
Let's hope that women in the near future are given all possible opportunities to understand the health benefits of breastfeeding and live in a nation that supports their choice to nurse their child.