Today is #GivingTUESDAY.
This has become one of my new favorite traditions. Following on the heels of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, this day provides an opportunity to give back to your local, national, and global communities.
It’s always tough for me to pick because there are so many worthy organizations doing amazing work. This year, I sent donations to three amazing organizations that are helping families meet their breastfeeding goals.
Part of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, the Mother’s Milk Bank NE coordinates donations from lactating women to provide pasteurized human milk to babies in fragile health throughout the Northeastern United States. According to their website, “Neonatologists are concerned about preventing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that attacks the intestinal tract, damaging or destroying it, and requiring surgery to repair or remove the intestines. Emergency surgery on a preterm infant is difficult and dangerous. Mother’s milk makes a difference in how well these tiny babies do after birth because it reduces the incidence of NEC, and it helps to repair the intestines should they become infected. Human milk fights infection while providing ideal nutrition.”
A few months ago I was honored to be able to donate 161 ounces of breast milk for this worthy cause. I’m no longer pumping extra milk, but I can give back with a monetary donation, which help covers costs like screening donors, pasteurizing and freezing milk, and transportation.
Without true culture change, women and families won’t have the real support they need to reach their parenting goals.
This includes offering all workers in America the minimum of unpaid job protected leave (believe it or not, not everyone qualifies for this), and, even better, job-protected paid leave. Only 12 percent of workers in the U.S. have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided short-term disability insurance.
- women should receive at least 14 weeks off
- they should be reimbursed at least two-thirds of their previous earnings and
- the benefit should be paid almost entirely by the state through public funds or social security.
The United States is the only developed country to meet none of the benchmarks.
This despite the fact that the longer women have at home to bond with their new baby and establish a breastfeeding relationship, the more likely they are to succeed with breastfeeding. The National Partnership for Women & Families is on the forefront for advocating for policies that support families, including policies like paid leave.
The Committee helps coordinate community-led breastfeeding initiatives across government departments, non-governmental organizations, non-profits, and health professional associations. In short, they try to help organizations work in concert with each other across the nation.
Which charities will you support this year?