You’ve probably heard by now that August is National Breastfeeding Month. It also coincides with the US Congressional recess, which means nobody is in session arguing about or supporting bills, laws, legislation. The United States Breastfeeding Council is using this month as an opportunity to educate and empower moms and folks who care about breastfeeding to speak with their legislators about family-friendly policies.
Up first, the USBC needs people to contact their law-makers about WIC Peer Counselor funding. Low-income women face greater barriers to breastfeeding than the rest of the population, and WIC-eligible mothers are at particular risk not to breastfeed. We currently have a great system set up where peer counselors are funded to support these mothers by phone, in person, and online. These counselors are other mothers who have succeeded at breastfeeding, and anyone reading here knows how valuable a knowing ear can be in a moment of struggle! The USBC points out that the peer counselor program has helped to increase rates of breastfeeding in their target population. Mother-to-mother support works.
The problem is this program is at risk! The 2014 budget does not include funds for this program. USBC is asking us to help convince lawmakers to continue funding this program. What can you do? Lots of things!
- Tweet key decision-makers. USBC has set up some auto-tweets, so you can click their handy chart to tweet one of three messages to a whole list of representatives. (I just went through and tweeted the PA representatives since that’s my state and they’re the ones who get my votes)
- Send an email to your representative. USBC makes this super simple by creating a form. All you’d have to do is sign and customize if you feel inclined.
- Meet with your representatives in person. This sounds intimidating and huge to me, but USBC and their partners have created webinars to teach lay-folks talking points and more information about the issues at hand to empower voters to go and speak with their representatives.
With a few clicks, you could add your voice to the chorus telling lawmakers that funding breastfeeding support programs will actually save money in the long run. Supporting families and helping babies breastfeed just makes sense!
Have you contacted a lawmaker before? Leave a comment to share your experience!