Melinda Gates on Breastfeeding: “It's Natural, But It Sure Ain't Easy”
"The bottom line is this: Motherhood is a tough balancing act, and every mom deserves the chance to do what’s right for her and her family. If that means breastfeeding, great. If that means formula feeding, that’s totally fine, too"
PHOTO: BRYAN BEDDER VIA GETTY IMAGES
Melinda Gates wrote an essay about the reality of breastfeeding and moms everywhere are loving it. In the essay, she penned in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, the mom declares that while it's natural nursing is challenging to say the least!
In her piece, entitled, "It's Natural, But It Sure Ain't Easy," which was originally published on Refinery29, Gates writes that she decided to breastfeed her three kids, and it has been an important cause for her. But she adds, "I'm also deeply aware that no matter where you are in the world, the conversation about breastfeeding can get a little one-sided. It tends to focus on all the ways breastfeeding benefits a child, while glossing over just how hard — or even impossible — it can be for a mother: physically, emotionally, and logistically." The philanthropist said she was very fortunate to be able to breastfeed her babies and had a dedicated support system, but was still surprised by how difficult and messy it could be.
As Gates writes about new moms, "There are plenty of people telling her what she's doing wrong or what she should be doing better. There are fewer who show up to actually help her—or who are designing policies with her and her family in mind."
Gates then addresses the special challenges working moms face, writing, "If she works outside the home, there's a good chance that even though she's been advised that she should breastfeed for at least six months, she's not getting anywhere near that much time off. A growing body of research shows that one of the many benefits of paid family and medical leave is that it helps women who want to breastfeed do so longer."
Gates concluded her piece with a call for people to engage in honest conversations about ways to make it easier for parents to feed their babies, “The bottom line is this: Motherhood is a tough balancing act, and every mom deserves the chance to do what’s right for her and her family. If that means breastfeeding, great. If that means formula feeding, that’s totally fine, too. I just want to make sure that every mom truly does have both options.”
Read the full essay at Refinery29.