Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family-friendly Senator is Breastfeeding Mom

Kirsten Gillibrand is the current junior Senator from New York (she replaced Hillary Clinton when she left the Senate and became Secretary of State.) Gillibrand has the distinction of being only the 6th woman to give birth while serving as a member of Congress and the first to be breastfeeding while in office. Her son Henry was born in May 2008 and Gillibrand is still nursing him. How does a member of Congress manage to breastfeed with such a busy schedule? According to this article:

Nursing her 1-year-old son, Henry, has been a logistical challenge for the 42-year-old lawmaker, who sometimes rushes home to an apartment in northern Virginia between weekday votes in the Capitol.

On weekends, it's even more difficult because she must travel around New York to get acquainted with local officials and constituents, most of whom knew little about Gillibrand when she was a House member, before her appointment by Gov. David Paterson.

Gillibrand said a support group that includes her mother, sister and girlfriends played a key role in her decision to continue nursing. She nursed her older son, Theo, until he was 9 months old.

Gillibrand is not only a breastfeeding mother, but a supporter of nursing and family-friendly policies in general. She is sponsoring a House bill that would require insurance providers to cover infertility treatments, she is asking the FDA to investigate the use of chemicals in personal care products, and she also wrote President Barack Obama asking for his support for a nurse visitation program to provide low-income women with parenting help and to encourage them to breastfeed.

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