Dealing with Limited Maternity Leave
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
We can all agree, the United States has A LOT of work to do in the context of maternity leave. Federal policies must be changed and employers need to be more conscientious of a mother and infant's needs during pregnancy and post partum.
But what about NOW?
However, the above solutions are not currently being implemented at the rate they ought to be. There are a multitude of families that are facing issues with maternity leave in the United States NOW--- they are in need of solutions that can help them care for their infant while working outside of the home.
If a mother wants to continue to breastfeed after returning to work, a caregiver could bring the baby into the workplace to see their mom to promote skin-on-skin contact (which ultimately promotes a better mother-child bond and intuitively led breastfeeding), utilize self-expression, or the use of a breastpump. In regards to 'being with the baby,' some parents find ways to alternate schedules so that there is always someone at home with the little one.
Why is Maternity Leave such a hot topic in United States NOW?
Last March, there was a study in honor of International Women's Day pertaining to the concerns of pregnant mothers regarding maternity leave all around the world. This study received an abundance of responses and due to its vast audience--- it shed light on the positive and negative aspects of maternity leave among multiple cultures.
The time given for maternity leave varies all around the world. Some being over a year and paid (can you imagine), and some being 18 weeks unpaid (United States). The study showed that even unpaid 18 weeks can still leave women guilty about not returning to work earlier. They expressed fears that their coworkers/boss would start to have negative thoughts about them or could not afford to be without an income for such a long time. That being said, because this is such a critical developmental time for the newborn, mothers/fathers feel guilty and anxious that they are leaving their newborn at such a young age.
In comparison to the rest of the world--- the United States has lots to improve upon in regards to maternity leave. But as of now, do your best with the time you are given --- love your baby unconditionally and generously, do not take any moment for granted, and breastfeed for as long as you can. There is no shame in providing for your family and doing what you feel is right.
Until next time!
Cassie and Mikayla
Mamas Maternal Health Dietitians/Lactation Counselors
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