My professional support arises from my understanding of the importance of breastfeeding to the health of mothers and babies, the decrease in illnesses of both mothers and babies in our community and workforce, and our ability to decrease exploitation of mothers by BIG business formula companies whose pockets are lined by separation of mother and child in the first weeks postpartum (there is a time and place for formula and it HUGELY overused).

Building and maintaining a milk supply is difficult when having to return to work at 6 – 8 weeks or earlier for many women in the lowest economic situation. To undermine maternal loyalty to her child and family by the necessity of a quick return to work is damaging to her, her children, and society at large. It is well documented in research studies that lack of community support for new mothers in caring for their newborns increases the incidence of poor maternal-child attachment, decreases breastfeeding initiation and increases early cessation of breastfeeding (well before recommendations made by public health bodies), and increases the rates of postpartum depression.

When I ask patients in the hospital if they are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding formula the number one response is that they have to return to work in 6 weeks (sometimes sooner) so they can’t understand how they will work it all out to breastfeed successfully. It is possible but to a new mother facing all of the obvious transitions that come with parenthood…this is often seen as one less thing to worry about. This is public health suicide.

Personally I have been fortunate to accrue leave, save money, defer school loans during my time off, and reduce bills so that I can stay home with my children for at least 4 months after their birth. With each child this became more difficult and with the last I remember sitting with bills and my calendar calculating every few days how long I could afford to stay home, which bills to pay or set aside, when my short term disability would kick in (after the waiting period) and for how long. THIS instead of focusing on healing, feeding my child, and integrating this new member of our family.

Paid leave builds and attracts a talented workforce. Nearly 40% of millennials would move to another country for better parental leave benefits. Millennials are more likely to seek out companies that offer paid leave and are happier, more engaged employees while working for those that do. WE NEED THIS IN CONNECTICUT. It is important to recognize and realize that there are MANY THINGS WORTH PAYING FOR. Paid family leave is one of those things.

Christy, Simsbury CT