Michelle Obama in push for better breastfeeding rules in workplace to cut down obesity
Announcement comes as cartoon and Conservatives label her 'hypocritical' for telling Americans what to eat
Michele Obama is stepping up her breastfeeding campaign to reduce child obesity.
The First Lady wants to see more flexible workplace rules for breastfeeding, after a ruling last week declared breast pumps as tax-deductible medical expenses.
She has publicly spoken about breastfeeding her youngest daughter, Sasha, and backed ‘early intervention’ to reduce the chances of children becoming overweight.
Campaign: First Lady Michelle Obama is pushing for more flexible breastfeeding rules in the workplace to help decrease child obesity from a young age
‘Breastfeeding is a very personal choice for every woman,’ Mrs Obama's spokesman told Politics Daily. ‘We are trying to make it easier for those who choose to do it.’
Mrs Obama has been speaking on this year’s breastfeeding strategy at the first anniversary of her ‘Let's Move’ campaign against childhood obesity.
It comes as she was portrayed as an overweight, hamburger-munching glutton in a personal cartoon attack by Biggovernment.com.
The caricature was a dig at her campaign, which has been criticised by Conservatives who call her a hypocrite and say she should not be telling Americans what to eat.
She said of the campaign: ‘We want to focus on the important touch points in a
child's life. And what we're learning now is that early intervention is
'Kids who are breastfed longer have a lower tendency
to be obese.
'We want to get into child-care centres, day-care centres, and start
talking about how (and) what kind of snacks they're getting there.
want to have those conversations at an earlier level. But those are just
some of the things that you'll see.’
Important: Mrs Obama has openly spoken about nursing her youngest daughter, Sasha (far left), and is especially pushing breastfeeding in the black community
Mrs Obama has stressed that breastfeeding rates are too low among African-American mothers, compared to other ethnic groups.
She said: ‘Because it's important to prevent obesity early, we're also working to promote breastfeeding, especially in the black community - where 40 per cent of our babies never get breastfed at all, even in the first weeks of life.
‘We know that babies that are breastfed are less likely to be obese as children.’
She is ‘not telling women to breastfeed’, Robin Schepper, executive director of ‘Let's Move’, told Politics Daily.
Mrs Obama is instead trying to raise breastfeeding rates and ask hospitals to ensure the baby is in the room
with them after birth, rather than giving them formula, he said.
Tax-Deductible: Mothers can breastfeed for longer, after it was announced last week that costly pumps can be bought using money in pre-tax spending accounts
She wants hospitals to attain a ‘Baby Friendly’ certificate from non-governmental organisation Baby Friendly USA and UNICEF, to increase breastfeeding opportunities.
Currently just one in 33 births happen at American hospitals with this designation.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill in December for more breastfeeding counselling and another last March making some employers give nursing mothers a break and place to breastfeed.
Meanwhile, mothers learned last Thursday they will be able to breastfeed for longer after the Internal Revenue Service ruled costly breast pumps can now be considered as tax-deductible medical expenses.
The pumps were previously considered only as feeding devices but this ruling means women can use money set aside in pre-tax spending accounts to pay for them.
The cost of pumps and related equipment can be very expensive and advocates hope that by labelling them as medical devices, women will be able to breastfeed for longer.
Most watched News videos
- Rowdy Mexican couple get 'intimate' inside a public bank
- Annoyed woman attempts to teach indecorous man a lesson on the train
- Is this parrot channeling Rihanna by singing along to her hit song?
- Pervy presenter gets a little too touchy feely with model
- Bat-wielding men jump out of van and start brawling in the road
- Children run in horror after seeing 'goblin' whilst playing
- Horrific moment he is attacked with pool cue in South African bar
- Scene in Heidelberg as police react to car incident
- Terrifying moment a huge great white lunges at a surfer
- Djokovic and wife argue on Facebook after she forgets to end live
- Obama cheered on the streets of New York like a rock star
- Irate flyer loses it as she demands to get off of a plane