Mamas and Milk Part 2
If you read my last post then you know August is National Breastfeeding month. Additionally, the last week in August is Black Breastfeeding Week (BBW). I had the pleasure of co-hosting a discussion of the documentary, "Chocolate Milk" at #Zenzele
Consignment to kick off #BBW19. This Saturday I'll be helping Mocha Milk Mamas host the 2nd annual Popsicles and Picnics https://www.facebook.com/events/488421818623869/ to bring awareness and support for breastfeeding in the black community.
Without even considering race though, breastfeeding is a highly debated topic these days. Although I am a breastfeeding advocate, I say to each her own. Doing what's best for you and your family is your decision. That being said I do believe we feel best about the decisions we make in life, when we have the facts upfront.
Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months and after that continued breastfeeding for up to age 2 or longer, supplemented with appropriate foods to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
Fact: Colostrum, often referred to as "liquid gold", is the yellow, sticky breast milk produced at the last stage of pregnancy and should be given to the newborn within 1 hour post birth.
Fact: Breast milk contains a special nature designed mix of nutrients, antibodies and white blood cells that cannot be duplicated in a lab. It helps build up babies immune systems, protects them from common childhood illnesses and decreases their risk for diseases such as obesity later in life. I remember being sick with a stomach virus while breastfeeding. I was so glad I didn't have to stop nursing or send my baby to stay with relatives for fear she may catch what I had. My body naturally did what it was designed to do and my milk transformed to produce the antibodies needed to keep my little one safe.
Fact: Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes and postpartum depression for the mother. Bonus, I dropped the baby weight just like that. Thank you breastfeeding!
Fact: There are alternatives to breast milk, but there are no substitutes.
Fact: Support is crucial to a successful breastfeeding journey. Having a supportive community that normalizes breastfeeding is key. Family and friends should offer encouragement. Online support through sites like kellymom.com are invaluable. Local peer support groups are beneficial as well.
Fact: Breastfeeding rates are lower among black mothers and infants. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only 63% of black women ever breastfed and it is usually only 6.5 weeks. Here in Huntsville, 2 black breastfeeding groups offer support and advocacy and are led by Certified Lactation Consultants (CLC). They offer solutions to latch issues, tips on how to deal with low supply and a plethora of other breastfeeding support. Check them out on Facebook for more information #MochaMilkMamas #ColoringBetweenTheLines
Fact: You can successfully breastfeed even after you go back to work. Employers with more than 50 employees, by law, must provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth..." and employers must also provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public...". Affordable Care Act. Caution though, have the discussion upfront with your supervisor so they actually know what times and why you're gone from your work station and don't abuse the privilege by taking your pumping break and then turning around and taking a 2 hour lunch.
As you can see there are many benefits and a lot of support for breastfeeding. Do your research, talk with other moms who've successfully breastfed and hear how they overcame challenges. In the end, you may still choose not to breastfeed and that's okay too because at least you made an informed decision. Good luck!
#chocolatemilkdoc #MochaMilkMamas #ColoringBetweenTheLines #BBW19 #NationalBreastfeedingMonth #Doulas #DoulasofColor #BlackDoulas #HuntsvilleDoula #DouLaSoul #AffordableCareAct #Pumping #Nursing #Breastfeeding #BreastMilk #WorldHealthOrganization #BlackMomsBreastfeed #BreastIsBest