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.
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