Despite widespread support from health care providers and public policymakers, many women are not encouraged to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, including economic insecurity and lack of time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also made lactation consultations and other resources more difficult to come by. We'll look at some of the most prevalent roadblocks and how to overcome them in this article.
Barriers to Breastfeeding
The biggest barrier to breastfeeding, particularly among women of color and those of lower socioeconomic status, is the lack of access to adequate health care, particularly in hospitals. Black and Hispanic employees are less likely to have access to paid leave, and low-income women return to the workforce sooner than high-income women.
The implicit bias of health care providers compounded these disparities. In addition, health care providers favor low-income women and discourage breastfeeding, which can lead to discrimination.
Breastfeeding - A Public Health Issue in the USA
While the U.S. is a resource-rich country that advocates optimal public health and the development of optimal child and maternal health outcomes, our nation is not yet equipped to support the needs of all infants and young mothers.
The U.S. lacks universal health care, paid maternity leave, and workplace policies to support breastfeeding. This is a huge barrier to achieving optimal public wellness. If these barriers are removed, all parents will recognize the benefits of breastfeeding.
While the U.S. advocates optimal public health and improves maternal and child health outcomes, we fall far behind other resource-rich countries when it comes to supporting new mothers.
We lack universal access to high-quality childcare and maternity care, as well as supportive policies for employed mothers to continue breastfeeding.
We also lack a high-quality medical system that supports and protects the health and safety of children. So we need to do more to support mothers who wish to breastfeed.
Women support for Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding support is often sparse after birth. Breastfeeding capacity is critical for a woman's baby's development. Unfortunately, cultural attitudes and practical concerns play a role in many breastfeeding hurdles.
There are no private spaces for breastfeeding at work or private spaces for pumping milk. Poor women are more likely to return to work after pregnancy than higher-income women. Additionally, the lack of a safe and comfortable place to breastfeed can make the entire process of parenting a challenging experience.
Breastfeeding postpartum support is frequently inconsistent. Women may not receive the support they require because of misinformation and cultural biases. The lack of private locations for breastfeeding and storage milk is addressed in APHA policy number 82-26, for example.
Even when support is available, it may be difficult to find a comfortable and private place for lactating mothers. Some organisations do not allow employees to breastfeed in a secure atmosphere. Breastfeeding in public places is also frowned upon by women.
One of the most common barriers to breastfeeding is the lack of access to breastfeeding information. A major stumbling block is the unavailability of nursing supplies and other resources. It may be difficult for parents to find information about the quality of the information.
But this does not mean that all healthcare providers are biassed against mothers. Those with poor backgrounds are more likely to have difficulty accessing breastfeeding resources. And when they do, they may not even know which policies are best for their communities.
Lack of access to nursing supplies is a public health issue associated with breastfeeding. I outlined some of the biggest hurdles to breastfeeding in the HHS Blueprint for Action on the Benefits of Breastfeeding.
Employers, for example, are frequently hostile to nursing. Employers can be required to give paid leave and access to competent breastfeeding care by the government. It is necessary to address a public health issue.
While the HHS Blueprint for Action on the Public Health Issues of Breastfeeding is not exhaustive, it is an excellent start.