Dear Breastfeeding Advocate:
Is your inbox overflowing with political emails jockeying for your attention (and your money)? Have you noticed that the candidates are not discussing some of the very real issues that affect the day-to-day lives of breastfeeding mothers and families?
It’s time for our candidates to tell us where they stand on the legislation and policies that moms need and deserve to be successful in reaching their personal breastfeeding goals!
Although you’ve sent over 13,000 letters to Congress in support of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011, and more than 3,600 letters to save WIC peer counseling funding, bipartisan support is needed to make real progress. And we all know that in an election year, the odds of getting both parties on the same page are, well, not favorable…
That’s why we are thrilled to launch the “Breastfeeding is Bipartisan: Tweet Your Candidates” campaign.
The time is right: members of Congress and their opponents are out in our communities, talking to the public about the issues that matter. With just a few simple steps, you can ask them to stand up for breastfeeding families…while also educating them about why breastfeeding is a bipartisan issue, and what types of protection and support will really make a difference.
To make it easy, we’ve created a state-by-state tool with a built-in custom Tweet, pre-populated with the Twitter usernames for the candidates in each Congressional race. Asking your candidates to go on record in support of breastfeeding moms is just a few clicks away!
Why Twitter? We have been amazed at the number of elected officials and candidates using Twitter to engage with their constituents. It’s a direct and public way for you to let them know what issues are important to YOU. Politicians want to hear from their constituents! But to be able to track our reach, it’s important for all of us to use the hashtag #BreastfeedingIsBipartisan.
Although much progress has been made, the story of elementary school teacher Anna Johnson-Smith illustrates why we just can’t let election-year politics discourage us:
In preparation for the new school year, Anna notified school administration of her intent to pump breast milk during the school day for her 4½ month old daughter. Anna’s free planning periods were scheduled in the morning, so she only needed to request someone to cover her classroom for about 15 minutes each afternoon. The school was unreliable at finding someone to cover this short afternoon break, so she frequently missed pumping sessions. Two weeks into the school year Anna was told the school could not accommodate her request. By then her milk supply had already been reduced by half, and Anna made the decision to resign.
This is unacceptable: no mother should ever be forced to choose between a paycheck and continuing to breastfeed! Although the federal “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” provision has gone a long way to enhance support for breastfeeding and working moms, it does not cover everyone. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act would fill this gap to ensure that an additional 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional employees, including school teachers like Anna, have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace.
Don’t delay! As election day draws nearer, we have a great opportunity to be heard, and we need your help to spread the word. Forward this e-mail, share the campaign web page on social media, and then go Tweet your candidates! With your participation, we have the power to make sure every candidate knows the important role they play in supporting moms to reach their breastfeeding goals.
Thanks for all that you do,
Megan E. Renner