A few days ago I was thrilled to learn that the Internal Revenue Service is now offering tax breaks on breast pumps and other nursing supplies in part to Michelle Obama's efforts to promote breastfeeding as part of her "Let's Move" campaign.
If you've bought a breast pump lately, then you know that it's a pretty big deal.
But apparently that's pissing a couple of Republicans off - surprise! Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sarah Palin both seem to think that it's ridiculous for the government to offer tax breaks to nursing mothers.
As she said at a recent Q&A session on Long Island, "No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody, 'You'd better breastfeed your baby,' " said Palin. "Yeah, you'd better, because the price of milk is so high right now."
Yes, clearly Sarah Palin is in tune with us "real people" - with her bestselling book and reality show spoils. I wonder if she knows how much a can of formula costs.
There are no shortage of issues that surround breastfeeding in this country, but the one that makes me nuts is that while the AAP and the WHO recommend breastfeeding through one year and two years, respectively, the resources for women to do so are pathetic.
Women are getting the "Breast is best" message thrown at them from every angle, but yet, they're getting tossed out of restaurants and public places, and being forced to quit due to challenging circumstances at their work.
One might think that breastfeeding is an ideal option for mothers in a lower income bracket, and at first glance it is. But when these women have to go back to work, it's nearly impossible for them to continue.
I pumped full time for five days while I was on vacation without Bridget. And I was on a fancy cruise ship. But in a factory? Or office? With only 2 15-minute breaks?
As one writer stated, "Anyone should be proud that Bachmann breastfed all five of her kids. Surely it was nice she had a husband at her side and financial security enough to stay at home while she took care of her children. Not all mothers in the United States have that luxury."
And it's not just women in lower income brackets that face challenges. Even some of my friends with higher paying higher powered jobs were relegated to pumping in the bathroom.
But it looks like Michelle Obama isn't just giving us lip service. Along with her being quite outspoken about the benefits of breastfeeding, she is leading the way - not just by getting these tax breaks but also by pushing hospitals to be certified "Baby Friendly" and mandating that certain employers provide rooms for nursing mothers (not bathrooms) to express milk.
Yes, it's part of the Affordable Health Care Act that Republicans are trying to repeal. And I'm the first to say that it's not as simple as "Yay - health care for all!"
But let's just say I'm greatly encouraged by this.
It's just too bad that we require laws and acts to help support women feed their kids. And that fights like this are being founght by politicians. And not physicians.
But if that's what it takes to make breastfeeding more accessible (which is what this is all about by the way - not making other moms feel like shit because they don't or can't) then I'm all for it. It's good for our kids, for our mothers, and yes, for our country.
But we need the support of all mothers. Not just the ones wearing blue.