Breastfeeding at work – get over it

January 16, 2016

Spanish woman breastfeeds in parliament

Breastfeeding at work

Member of Parliament Carolina Bescansa brings Diego to work and, shockingly, breastfeeds him.

When will everyone – both men and women – get over it?

Pediatricians and health professionals emphasize that breastfeeding is the healthiest, most natural care a mother can give a newborn. Not every woman can or chooses to breastfeed, but why do we continue to stigmatize those that do?

This morning’s news paints a bemusing picture of Spain’s newest members of parliament arriving for work while the establishment looked on “bewildered.” Younger, more female, some biking instead of riding in limousines. A few of the men even had ponytails.

But who causes the biggest stir? Diego, a 5-month old who was not elected and therefore should not be allowed in the hallowed chambers of government. Carolina Bescansa took flak from both men and women for grabbing headlines and perpetuating the assumption that childcare is a woman’s job.

When will this nonsense stop? Spain’s 2016 parliament boasts an increase in women and minority representation, which means it more closely resembles the make-up of the country’s population than ever before. Gender parity is encouraged by requiring all parties to put forth candidate pools that are at least 40% women. Then it’s up to the people.

They voted for 39% women (compared to 20% in the U.S. Congress, despite a 51% majority in our population), which means 138 in Spain’s lower parliament, and some 90 in the Senate. Fantastic.

And if some of those 228 women have newborns and choose breast milk over formula, what should they do? Pump all day behind closed doors, excuse themselves from meetings for a nursery visit, postpone running for office?

At Prosperity Candle, we created options. How a woman and her partner manage their family life is their choice. Our job is to make it as easy as possible in the workplace. It really isn’t that hard. We have a small nursery with screens for optional privacy, and set a clear policy that welcomes babies and supports nursing mothers.

The result is no stress, no fuss. Some days a baby is here, other days infants are with the father or another caregiver. Whatever works best. It doesn’t negatively impact or change anything. In fact, it’s a non-issue.

Which is what breastfeeding should be… a non-issue. At the office, in public, anywhere. Let’s stop calling it indecent, and stop labeling women anti-progressive for nursing at work.

Just get over it.

 

 


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