If you're a working mom who has had to pump in a space entirely unsuitable for pumping, right now is the perfect time to share your story. In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, advocacy group MomsRising.org is encouraging women to share pumping stories using the hashtag #IPumpedHere. Once you take a look at the many tweets that have come from the hashtag, it becomes clear why public breastfeeding acceptance is so important for moms and their kids.
Whether a mom decides to breastfeed or not is entirely a personal choice — but so often, that decision becomes tangled up in public acceptance of the practice and whether a mom has enough time and space for breastfeeding. According to a 2015 study published in Women's Health Issues, only 40 percent of moms have access to enough break time and private space to continue breastfeeding when they return to work. And both stay-at-home moms and working mothers are routinely subjected to judgment when they breastfeed in public, which makes a perfectly normal occurrence (you know, keeping your baby alive) a surprisingly difficult experience.
In an attempt to bring awareness to these issues, moms are sharing their stories and pictures online — and their tales of the places where they've pumped and breastfed should be an eye-opener to anyone unaware of the issues breastfeeding moms face on a daily basis.
Some Stories Are Less Pleasant
While Others Should Serve As A Shining Example
MomsRising.org is also giving women free #IPumpedHere stickers so that they can share their stories — both good and bad. After all, pumping horror stories help shed light on what needs to change, while victorious pumping tales help applaud companies that get it right.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 81 percent of moms in the United States breastfeed at one point or another, which is good news — breastfeeding is a practice that's great for babies' development. However, many of them don't keep it up, and only around 31 percent of moms are still breastfeeding a year after their child's birth.
Yes, that drop occurs partly because breastfeeding can be difficult — but it also occurs because moms frequently face challenging work environments and public stigma when they breastfeed outside the home. Raising a child is difficult enough on its own, and it's about time moms got the support they need. Want to share your breastfeeding stories and help make a difference? Use the hashtag #IPumpedHere on social media, share other moms' stories widely, and then keep pumping fearlessly.