Breastfeeding

Eric Douglas / WVPB

Doctors point to overwhelming evidence that breast milk is superior to formula. But breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to be low. Reasons for that may be lack of paid maternity leave in the U.S., challenges breastfeeding at work, the role of WIC in subsidizing formula and the fact that for many women, breastfeeding, although natural, is a learned skill and there aren't enough people teaching techniques. 

We’re taking another listen to an episode this week that we aired earlier this year about this important topic. More than a dozen women share their stories about motherhood, breastfeeding, and society’s demands. 


Adobe Stock/ Yurii Zushchyk

For a variety of reasons, breastfeeding is just not possible for everyone. Formula was a lifesaving development when it was first created. Before formula, a lot of babies who did not have access to adequate breast milk starved to death. 

Sometimes wet nurses provided babies with nourishment, if their mothers could not, or did not want, to breastfeed. These were usually women who earned an income by breastfeeding other women’s babies. In some cultures around the world, even today, milk sharing is a socially accepted practice among sisters and close friends who support each other by feeding a baby if the mother cannot produce enough milk. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the final story in our series on breastfeeding, the second part of a two-part series on water infrastructure issues in Kentucky, and we hear a discussion with singer-songwriter Tristen Marie Gaspadarek.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, an increase in heavier rain events is putting stress on Kentucky’s aging water infrastructure, and we hear another installment from this week’s Inside Appalachia episode on breastfeeding.

Adobe Stock/ Robert Hainer

Only 17 percent of Americans have paid family leave from their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the early 1990s, the Family Leave Act was passed. It requires most employers to offer workers 3 months off after the birth of a baby — both men and women. But here’s the catch, employers don’t have to pay them for the time off.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear more from this week’s Inside Appalachia episode on breastfeeding. We explore the guilt mothers can sometimes face when trying to breastfeed and why many low-income mothers often choose formula over breastfeeding. We also have a discussion with Matthew Ferrence, author of “Appalachia North.”

Adobe Stock

In the United States, breastfeeding rates are lower among low-income women and higher among high-income women. This is despite research that shows breastfeeding can provide lifelong health benefits to a baby and potentially save new parents money.

Andrea Reedy is one of nine children. Her mother breastfed Andrea and the rest of them. So when Reedy got pregnant, she wanted to breastfeed too.

“It was just kind of something that I knew was there, knew I was capable of, because I had that example,” she said.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months after birth, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, citing research that says breastfeeding is healthy for infants. It protects against diseases, obesity and stomach issues, helps the mother lose weight, and decreases risk of some cancers. But although breastfeeding is “natural,” for many women, it’s not “easy.”

When Emma Pepper got pregnant, she was totally on board with breastfeeding -- until her son was born.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Doctors point to overwhelming evidence that breast milk is superior to formula. But breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to be low. Reasons for that may be lack of paid maternity leave in the U.S., challenges breastfeeding at work, the role of WIC in subsidizing formula and the fact that for many women, breastfeeding, although natural, is a learned skill and there aren't enough people teaching techniques. 

In this episode more than a dozen women will share their stories about motherhood, breastfeeding, and society’s demands. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore breastfeeding, we hear the latest from the statehouse, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage “Song of the Week.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, research on the benefits of breast-feeding continues to grow, with studies showing some positive health effects last into adulthood. Breast-feeding rates in the Ohio Valley, however, still lag behind the national average. Mary Meehan reports that efforts to help mothers in the region overcome breast-feeding challenges are beginning to pay off.

Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Edwin Hall is dressed in a footed onsie covered in the pastel shades of monkeys and hippos. Although Edwin’s just seven weeks old he already tells his mom when he’s hungry with a sharp and persistent yelp.

Should Women Have the Right to Go Topless?

Jun 30, 2017
Molly Collins

Dozens of women marched topless through the streets of Charleston recently to protest the objectification of women, and norms that discourage breastfeeding in public.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones called it "a naked spectacle" and asked marchers to stay clear of a street fair going on nearby.

West Virginia state law does not specifically prohibit women going topless. But the uproar around the march shows that it continues to be controversial.

Adobe Stock

In a beautiful old home in downtown Charleston, 3-month-old Josephine is nursing quietly. Josephine’s mother, Sarah Brown, is a middle-class well-educated woman.

“It’s a big convenience factor for me – you know I’ve got everything I need right there,” said Brown.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Managing Editor of the magazine West Virginia Living Zack Harold discussing his latest article, "High Hopes for a New Cash Crop," focused on the state's budding hemp industry.  The article appears in the latest edition of Morgantown Magazine and he joined Ashton Marra to discuss it reporting.