Protect the Academic Success of Breastfeeding Student/Child Dyads

Protect the Academic Success of Breastfeeding Student/Child Dyads

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Sarah Kate Wallace started this petition to EOAA - Title IX and Sexual Misconduct at UM Alicia Arant and

Breastfeeding students have to miss class to provide and protect a breast milk supply for their child, placing them at an academic disadvantage. Nursing or pumping in between classes or at class breaks simply isn’t feasible with the amount of time required to nurse or pump, get to the next class, clean the pump kit,  and get the class notes.

The most rigorous academic programs that result in the best jobs require beyond 40 hours a week of a students time. Many must wean early to succeed at school, which is detrimental to the health of their child, and not in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Breastfeeding is protective against most all childhood illnesses as well as chronic disease in adults, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

https://kellymom.com/store/freehandouts/extended_bf_factsheet.pdf

Breastfeeding lowers children’s cortisol levels, protecting their developing nervous systems. For germs present in the nursing’s saliva, pathogen-specific immunity is induced in the mother’s immune system and travels through the breast milk to protect the child, which is vital to her developing immune system – and her immune system won’t mature until at least five years of age. Breastfeeding is her bodyguard, and fewer sick days keep mom at her studies and out of the doctor’s office. Yet the benefits of breastfeeding also protect adults and societies.

The CDC notes “Nothing kills more Americans than heart disease and stroke. More than 859,000 Americans die of heart disease or stroke every year—that’s one-third of all deaths. These diseases take an economic toll, as well, costing our health care system $199 billion per year and causing $131 billion in lost productivity on the job.”

Mothers milk is protective against disease costs of over $199 billion a year and one-third of American lives, and the longer the child breastfeeds, the healthier they are.  Look at our average weaning age! Children are rarely allowed to nurse to full-term. Often people just don’t know, or don’t believe in the health benefits of breastfeeding, and the breastfeeding relationship is not being protected effectively. But there are reasons besides lack of knowledge as to why students choose to wean early. Often students, just like employees, face breastfeeding discrimination and loss of access to educational resources. 

Support breastfeeding students by allowing nearby places to breastfeed or pump and provide live online access to lectures and labs for breastfeeding mothers. Portable breastfeeding tents, with in-tent and at-home online access to course lectures and labs, and referral to an on-campus International Board Certified Lactation Consultant advocate are a few innovative ideas for supporting breastfeeding students on many campuses today. In doing so, you are advocating for children and protecting them from the increased risk of poverty that comes with parental academic failure as well as preventing childhood and chronic adult disease.

 

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!