Increase FMLA for maternity leave to 6 months

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The American Pediatric Association recommends that an infant be breastfed for at least 6 months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 79.2 % of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after child birth, but only about 18.8% of those moms are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. (www.cdc.gov).

Reason? Lack of support, resources, education and accommodation in the US!

In today's business environment, employers are not accepting of a mother returning to work any time later than the 12 week FMLA (for those eligible). Government has to step in to protect a basic right of a woman to care for her baby and for a baby to get the best possible nutrition. Women should not have to make a choice between safely breastfeeding their child and their job. For those who work in various positions that do not allow a set schedule and room to pump (like outside sales), are forced to pump in their cars unsafely or in bathrooms at stores where hygiene levels are low.

Research states that breastfeeding lowers a child’s risk of developing a wide range of diseases including lower risk of infections, obesity and diabetes.  Breastfeeding also provides long-term preventative benefits for the mother, including a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and osteoporosis. Other important reasons:

- Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying the needs of the baby.
- Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
- In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother, which is as basic as his need for food.
- Human milk is the natural food for babies, uniquely meeting their changing needs.
- For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.

Other developed countries maternity statutory leave examples (mostly paid):

Canada: 35 weeks
Norway: 56 weeks
UK: 52 weeks

It is time to change the mentality in the US and provide women and babies with what they require by nature. A mother should have the right to stay home with her child for 6 months in order to provide the best possible care and nutrition for her baby while being able to return to her job after that.

Every mother, including those feeding formula will agree with a strong need for longer FMLA. Please support this important cause!



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