We’re on to the SEVENTIES!
Although breastfeeding continued to decline during the first part of the 1970s, we were about to see a big jump in the breastfeeding statistics! From 28% to 51%
But why? Researches believe the change came to a peak because of many reasons: the women’s rights movement, the move to a more natural method of living and more political support for mothers in their workplace as well as in the hospitals.
In the previous decades it was more common to see lower class women being the majority of women breastfeeding but in the seventies this flip-flopped. Now we started to see higher class women choosing to breastfeeding. This was thought to be because if you were more educated than you would acquire more information on the beneficial properties of breastmilk and be more motivated to continue. (I somehow think this is not the case entirely)
Hospitals started decreasing the time mothers needed to stay in the hospital, recognizing that a longer stay meant mothers were less likely to stick to breastfeeding and revoking their earlier encouragement to feed infants on a strict 3-4 hour schedule but now rather on an “on demand” basis. They also now started to encourage mothers and babies rooming together and acknowledging the need to bond after birth instead of keeping mother and baby apart.
Though breastfeeding rates increased during this time the longevity of the breastfeeding did not as much. By now, it was much more common for women to be working which ultimately hindered how long they continued to breastfeed.
Overall, more research was being done. Scientists, doctors & mothers started to see the connection of mother and baby being close as well as the immunological benefits of breastmilk itself and that certainly if we, as mothers are naturally producing this milk when our child is born, then naturally it is meant to nourish our child… our bodies are not making it for no apparent reason. I just can’t see one bad thing about that?
This decade makes me happy but sad to say the stats will drop again in the 80′s. boo.
Mommas, has work hindered your milk supply or ability to breastfeed? Do you have good support at your place of work to pump or nurse? I can see how this could be the #1 reason for choosing not to breastfeed at all or exclusively. It’s a hard, hard thing…
Miss our previous posts in this series?