We’ve all heard that breastfeeding is a healthy choice for your baby. It can help strengthen a baby’s immune system and also help with dental health and brain development.¹ As a person who chose to breastfeed, I can say that it was not always an easy thing to do. My workplace did not have a designated place to pump. I often occupied the bathrooms longer than other employees would have liked in the little time I actually had. Grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping centers were stressful places when my baby was hungry because I was always struggling to find a place to feed her.
As a first time mom with a newborn, I did not feel comfortable feeding everywhere. We were both still learning how to do this. If I braved the outside world with my young infant, I often found myself leaving restaurants or full grocery carts to go and feed in the luxury of my own car. When I returned, the food would be cold and the carts emptied.
As time went on, we both got much better at this. I didn’t always leave the table or choose to stay home because feeding time was coming. But, wouldn’t it be great if moms didn’t have those struggles at all? Wouldn’t it be great if it was just as easy to breastfeed your baby in public as it was to give them a bottle? For these reasons, I think it is necessary to promote and advocate for acceptance and accessibility for breastfeeding mothers.
National Breastfeeding Month
On August 6, 2011, the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) declared August as National Breastfeeding Month. The USBC was formed in 1998 as an independent nonprofit organization. Their mission is to “drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States.” This year’s theme is “Every Step of the Way.”
We envision a world in which every family is supported at every step along the infant feeding journey, with warm and coordinated hand-offs and transitions so that the needs of lactating families and those who support them are anticipated and met, every step of the way.
Breastfeeding Efforts in the Hoosier State
In the state of Indiana, we have the Indiana Breastfeeding Alliance (IBA) which was formed in 2018. The goal of the committee is to work with several partnerships to ensure all Hoosier moms and babies are able to give or receive human milk for as long as they desire. They are also working to implement the State Breastfeeding Plan. The Labor of Love report, Indiana’s Breastfeeding Plan 2016-2021 from the Indiana State Department of Health, is an effort to reduce infant mortality and increase breastfeeding rates across the state.
The state of Indiana has laws that support a person’s decision to breastfeed. Indiana allows a woman to breastfeed her child anywhere the law allows her to be. Employers must provide reasonable paid breaks for an employee to express breast milk for her infant. They should also make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express breast milk in private. A refrigerator should be provided to keep the breast milk that has been expressed.²
If you want to learn more on breastfeeding and how you can support breastfeeding in our community, check out these resources:
Books and eBooks available from the Library:
Videos available through the Library on Kanopy:
Breastfeeding Resources in Indiana
- Indiana WIC
- Indiana State Breastfeeding Coalition
- Indiana Model Hospital Breastfeeding Policy
- La Leche League of Indiana
- The Milk Bank