A friend had this posted as her facebook status this morning asking for help from her mommy friends for a class she is taking: hey, question for the mommies (for class, lol): women have been traditionally told they're the ones who get to be stuck at home with the babies, one of the reasons being that they are the one with the food. supposedly, the availability of formula, breast pumps, etc, is supposed to help free women from this constraint. ...As women who believe in the importance of breastfeeding, what do you have to say about the matter?
Well I happen to be ver opinionated on the matter and probably went on a couple tangents lol! :D
First off I am a breastfeeding mom, I have been in the work force as well as staying home with my children so I've experienced both worlds. I feel that breastfeeding is very important, its one of the fundamentals in my opinion. Breastfeeding is the natural and normal way of feeding your child. I feel that if you are in the position where you can make the choice to stay home with your children you should do it. As a breastfeeding mom I can say without a doubt that it can be detrimental to your breastfeeding relationship to be going to work every day and leaving your child. Sure there is formula out there on the market, but formula makes it too "easy" for a mother to go to work every day. Once you have a baby on formula it dramatically decreases the amount you breastfeed and eventually most women give up breastfeeding all together because this is "easier" then pumping for an hour or more every day to ensure there is enough milk for your child. Some women feel "stuck" so to speak by the confines of pumping and breastfeeding, formula gives them the freedom to do what they want, when they want.
That being said, it IS possible to continue a healthy breastfeeding relationship as a working mom. You have to have the comitment and determination, because let's face it, pumping isn't "easy". But it can be done, for some women who don't have the choice (ie single moms, low-income etc) pumping might be their only way to keep that breastfeeding relationship with their child. There can be other options for some moms such as working from home, bringing your baby to work with you etc.
We happen to live in a country that allows moms to stay at home for the first year with our maternity leave benefits, although for some moms that's not a great option as mat leave payments are only 55% of your gross income, which may not be enough for them to live off of. Or maybe they didn't qualify for maternity leave for whatever reason.
Personally I feel that women SHOULD stay home with their babies for at least the first year if they can. It gives you time to establish a healthy breastfeeding relationship and bond with your child. You don't miss out on all the fun things like first steps, first words etc. Would I enter the workforce full time, if I had a choice? No, I wouldn't. I love being at home. I have currently re-entered the work force as a work at home mom because I feel that it is more important to me to be with my children. Financially we can make it work on one income, and a little extra from my various work at home ventures helps. I don't feel "stuck" at home. I feel that this is the right place for me so I can give my children the best start that I can offer. That means breastfeeding (currently on 13 months of breastfeeding my youngest), spending time with my children (stopping my work to play dragons with my son, or look out the window at the most fascinating things to a toddler or watching my daughter's first steps). These make my days worth it, and I don't regret my decision to stay home with my babies.