What we're listening to this week: Stretched.

 

Here at Mamava we’ve been listening to the current NPR series,“Stretched: Working Parents’ Juggling Act.” Each story offers a glimpse into the daily lives and challenges facing parents--from lack of paid leave to the economic and logistical challenges of breastfeeding.

 

Take Tricia Olson’s story about returning to her job at a Wyoming towing company only three weeks after giving birth to her son. She decided not to breastfeed, partly due to the limited time off she took but also because she couldn’t keep it up at work, “given the large window in her office.

 

The problem? Tricia lacked time. But she also lacked a dedicated private place to pump.

 

And then there was the radio diary of the woman who’d loved her job and her field before she’d given birth.  But her passion for it waned when she didn’t get adequate support and accommodations to help her pump in her workplace.

 

Working mamas shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their children and earning a living. Working mamas deserve better.

 

These are the kinds of stories that inspired Mamava from the get-go and that continue to inspire us every day.  The benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and children are well documented. As pediatrician Dr. Benard Dreyer says in her interview,

 

“Studies from California and Canada show that family leave increases breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has many known positive effects, including bonding between the mother and child. It stimulates positive neurological and psychosocial development. It strengthens the baby's immune system. It also decreases the risk of many health problems such as acute diarrhea, respiratory illness, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome and obesity.”

 

But a significant gap still remains between the research and the workplace realities for many breastfeeding mamas. This is where we enter the picture: providing mamas with quiet, comfortable, and intentional spaces to pump or nurse wherever they go.  

 

We’re thrilled that NPR is airing these important stories and hope they spark a national conversation about how we can better support all mamas, babies, and working families.

 

 

Curious how your company stacks up? See this chart of New and Expanded Employer Paid Family Leave Policies from the National Partnership for Women & Families.