“Thriving communities are built on strong families and a strong workforce. Breastfeeding promotes both. Breastfeeding promotes strong families by giving kids a healthier start in life, less risk of illness and disease. It helps mothers be healthier. There’s less risk of postpartum depression, lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and it supports strong bonds between the family, both emotional and psychological. Breastfeeding also promotes a strong workforce with decreased employee absenteeism to care for ill children, increased employee morale and decreased employee turnover. Breastfeeding benefits communities, so it’s time for communities to support breastfeeding.” ~ Dr. Jenn Anderson, “Breastfeeding is everyone’s business”
Editor’s note: “Breastfeeding is everyone’s business” is a TEDx Talk by Jenn Anderson, PhD, Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, South Dakota, USA. Dr. Anderson’s personal breastfeeding experience has influenced her professional interest; among her current projects are Brookings Supports Breastfeeding and expanding Brookings Health System’s prenatal education to the SDSU campus. Dr. Anderson was invited by Attachment Parenting International to share more about her perspective in breastfeeding advocacy:
By Jenn Anderson, PhD, SDSU Assistant Professor of Health Communication
Breastfeeding benefits our communities by improving maternal and infant health. It also boosts our local economies through cost savings for businesses with breastfeeding employees that miss work less often and whose children have lower health care costs.
Breastfeeding is benefiting our communities; now we need our communities to support mothers who are breastfeeding.
I strongly believe in giving women the freedom and support they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
When social or structural support for breastfeeding is absent, this can create unnecessary barriers to mothers breastfeeding successfully. I want every woman to feel that it is possible to breastfeed her child successfully, and I want to see entire communities work together to support those efforts.
Breastfeeding my premature son has been one of the greatest joys of my life. But I know that not all women have the opportunity to breastfeed at all, or they must stop breastfeeding sooner than they’d like because they don’t have the support they need at work, or from their spouse, or from their friends and family.
I want every woman to have the support she needs to be able to embark on the breastfeeding journey and see it through until she and her baby are ready to stop.
I also want to encourage more women to publicly breastfeed so that our friends and neighbors understand the true nature of breastfeeding — that it is normal, non-sexual and unobtrusive.
Breastfeeding in public is sometimes seen as taboo, but in this presentation, I show how it seamlessly becomes part of life as a mother, as a professional and as a citizen of a small community.