World Breastfeeding Week: Highlighting the Importance of Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week- Highlighting the Importance of Breastfeeding 1

Breastfeeding my little one hours after she was born. Of course, she was a natural!

World Breastfeeding Week reflects on the importance of breastfeeding.

Today closes out World Breastfeeding Week. The annual event, which runs from August 1 – 7, focused on, “asserting the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.” The organization wants moms everywhere to know that breastfeeding is a natural occurrence and that there’s help for you if needed.

As a fairly new mom, my daughter turn two years-old in five days, my breastfeeding journey is still very fresh. I’m thankful to report that I had a pleasant breastfeeding experience, though I know this isn’t the case for all women. When I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately knew that I would breastfeed. I was well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and I wanted to make sure that both myself and my daughter took advantage of those benefits.

The only reason that I was so determined to breastfeed was because I was educated about the benefits. There were no examples of women in my family who breastfed. My mother was a single mom of four who worked numerous jobs to take care of us. If you’ve ever breastfed, you know that it takes time. My mother making time in her schedule to breastfeed wasn’t a priority when she needed to work to provide for us.

As a Black woman, I’m also conscious that the breastfeeding rates for Black women are lower than other ethnicities. The conversation on why Black women breastfeed less than other women has been going on for years. There are a number of factors, with income playing a major role. There’s also the historical aspect of Black women serving as wet nurses during slavery, but that’s another post for another time. For most new moms, if you’re working a hourly verses salaried job, you’re returning to the workforce soon after giving birth. The first six-weeks of breatfeeding is essential. Women may encounter a variety of issues during this time and the ability to stay home with your little one to breastfeed on demand, i.e. whenever your child is hungry, is essential. But because the U.S. is the only industrialized country without paid maternity leave, staying home to master breastfeeding isn’t an option. This leads women to using formula, which is certainly okay, but it’s most beneficial for baby and mom to breastfeed. I encourage all pregnant women that I have a relationship with to breastfeed. At least give it a shot. The ugly truth is that breastfeeding can be difficult, and it’s certainly time consuming. But the overall benefits of breastfeeding are endless.

World Breastfeeding Week- Highlighting the Importance of Breastfeeding 2

This was my first time breastfeeding in public. Shortly after, I started nursing without a cover as my little one hate having a “sheet” over her head while eating.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve sought out resources to help me master motherhood (is mastering motherhood even possible!) and breastfeeding. Two resources that became a staple for me are the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) and Ashley Wright of Ms. Wrights Way. The BMBFA’s mission is, “To reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for African-Americans by building foundational networks of support, and strengthening systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success.” The work that the organization does in its home-base of Detroit is amazing! Thanks to technology, they’ve been able to spread the word through online channels about the work they do.

If you’re looking for a non-traditional, in your face breastfeeding resource, then Ashley Wright is the woman for you! The Ms Wrights Way website describes Ashley as a, “Badass Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Attachment parenting, Pole dancing, Yogi Mom!” What Ashley does while breastfeeding, see her walking the red carpet while breastfeeding, and babywearing, see her doing pole dancing exercises while babywearing, shows moms that you too can breastfeed!

As this year’s World Breastfeeding Week comes to an end, take a moment to reflect on your breastfeeding journey. I would love for you to leave a comment below sharing your journey. Also, commit to educating other women about the benefits of breastfeeding. Sometimes, all another mother needs is someone to show compassion. You might be the reason a mom decides to give breastfeeding a try. And that is an awesome feeling!

I also want readers to know that this post is not meant to look down on mothers who don’t breastfeed. Each mom knows her situation better than anyone else, and breastfeeding may not be right for you, and that’s okay. What’s most important is that your baby is healthy and happy. While I breastfed my daughter for 14-months, there were times when I needed to supplement with formula. I returned to corporate America six-months after giving birth. If I wasn’t able to pump while at the office, that meant I didn’t have enough breast milk for the next day. I didn’t hesitate to supplement formula where needed. In the end, remember to do what’s best for you and your family.

Women, start making your Moves today!


Women Making Moves

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5 Comments on "World Breastfeeding Week: Highlighting the Importance of Breastfeeding"

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  1. Amos Winbush III says:

    As a father, I appreciated the dedication my wife showed during her fourteen months of breast feeding our little one.. I must say that she deserves a metal as our little one had and has a strong appetite. She takes after her poppa.

    • Thanks for the kind words Amos! My Breastfeeding journey certainly would have been more difficult if I didn’t have you as a partner. Your support was invaluable. And yes, the little one does have a strong appetite!

  2. Toya says:

    Great commentary, Tiffany! As a new mother, these resources will help me as I continue this worthwhile journey (although, it has been a struggle at times). I have done as you mentioned and supplement with formula instead of quitting during the feedings that have been a struggle. Thanks for this motivational piece!

    • Congrats again Toya on the arrival of your little one! I hope your breastfeeding journey has been positive. I can certainly relate to breastfeeding being a struggle at times. I can remember waiting to throw in the towel. Stay positive and connect with other moms who are also breastfeeding for support. Let me know if I can be a resource. Regarding supplementing, it’s a choice that you shouldn’t to embrassed or ashamed about. Here’s to your continued success!

  3. Brandis says:

    Please excuse typos, using mobile device.

    This is a great post! As a fairly new mom, 15 month old, that still breastfeeds a toddler that has never taken a bottle or cup, I can tell you it can be challenging. So many things I wish I knew before that I know now!! I encourage every mother that is physically able, barring any medical issues, to give it a try. Yes, it can be painful as baby learns to latch but you’ve probably endured worst pains. Labor in itself as an example! Yes, it’s exhausting most of the time! Think of it as a workout after all you are burning extra calories! Any new workout regime is exhausting until you get used to it! Yes, it can be time consuming. Those first couple of months are extreme but time well worth it!! You’re probably holding your baby or staring at him/her anyway, so why not nurse and cut back on tune it requires to sanitize and make bottles?! Did I mention it helps save money? I could go on and on…

    I never thought I would breastfeed my child and I surely never thought I would for as long as I have been. But from the moment my daughter latched on I knew I would do whatever I could to continue. This included a drastic change in diet to accommodate her food allergies. If a mom decides breastfeeding is not for her for whatever the reason, I encourage her to continue being a loving mother because love isn’t only equated with breastfeeding.

    You hit the nail on the head regarding how important it is to establish a solid milk supply by nursing on demand during this first 6-8 weeks. Facing stresses of everyday life for those under financial burdens increases the difficulty in successful long term breastfeeding. But, I have to ask myself, how are other minority groups that seem to have a similar financial struggle as Blacks able to do it and be successful? I still have yet to come up with an answer that satisfies my curiosity.

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