Breastfeeding Saves Lives

Breastfeeding For Prevention

In support of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

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As a breastfeeding family for over the past 7 years, I have heard my fair share of stories and comments. Some from the least expecting people… But the best thing about all the work and commitment it takes to breastfeed is the benefits for mother, baby, and community. Yet it seems that we have lost our cultural components to a watered down reflection of modern motherhood. Now don’t attack me for this… but if there was as much commercial pressure to breastfeed as there is to subconsciously rape women of their maternal birthright, by suggestion of using formula… Therefore changing the dynamic socially and economically and this is a strategy that many don’t see. How many women do you think are in jail today for trying to feed their baby, because they could not afford formula, so out of desperation and fear for her babies life… She resorted to theft as an option over her own breast… I probably wouldn’t be entering this blog post, with one hand as my baby suckels from my breast for bedtime comfort — If things were different? I’d be writing about how many healthy Black babies were being born into the African American population and basking in the love of the closeness and connectivity of being at their mothers breast. Nor would I have such things to talk about regarding disparities in the African American communities because, we would be thriving in our indigenous cultural practices as intuitive childbearing breastfeeders. We’d be in a utopia… instead of a crisis…

Breastfeeding in Reducing Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality

As a woman of color it saddens my heart to see that there is such a cultural divide in the oldest concepts in the world and people from the African American population, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are leading the race in yet another disparity. The question is, “Why don’t more African American women breastfeed?” In our soon to be released documentary ©”Women of Color” we address these issues from a past perspective, while adding to the ideals of futuristic concepts and cultural practices. While some of the responses were different, the trending word was “demonstration.”

In my own interpretation, communities where there are more disparities and unrest, there is no one demonstrating natural concepts around childbirth or healthy postpartum behaviors that speaks to breastfeeding as the thing to do. Some of the stories I have heard within the African American community were really shockingly ignorant. But ignorance can be excused when there is no teacher there to teach via demonstration because, we learn from what we live.

“I’m not gone let my baby suck on my breast, that’s nasty.”

 

“I am not trying to be no bodies food source.”

 

“I’m scared that my breast are gonna lose shape.”

 

“My baby daddy said, “That’s what formula is for.”

Sadly enough these are all very open ended ideas around breastfeeding, but they are limited ways of thought. The first part is that each of these women were more concerned about themselves than that of their baby. Even if she was  not aware of the fact… these should not be idea reasons to reject breastfeeding as an option.

So in response to these answers I was driven to take a deeper look into the psychological issues of such responses and again I was led back to the keyword “demonstration“. I was fortunate that I had an Aunt that introduced me to the beauty of breastfeeding at the age of 9 years old because, I was not introduced to this by my own mother. I was fascinated that our bodies produced its own milk for our babies once they were born. I  had seen animals feed their babies the same way, but not until I saw this “demonstrated” by a human was this a notable reality.

So now almost 27 years later, I see the emotional and economic disparities of not knowing the benefits of breastfeeding, which leads to a normalization that did NOT use to be in the culture of the African familial structure. Yet now here in America we have such vanity and even shame that does not readily bring such awareness to mothers from vulnerable populations. Women are not given these tools early on, in prenatal care, when physicians are contracting with pharmaceutical companies about the hottest infant formula. Also the mothers are so trusting of their care providers that they seldom even question the power of their own bodies. This is a new type of enslavement… This is a new way of life… And we just don’t get it because, subliminally the desire has been taken away to be — the mother.

This is not just an issue for the developing world. The U.S. now ranks 41st in the world in infant mortality. Much of our low ranking can be attributed to our high rates of infant mortality in African American babies; more than double the rate of whites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the infant mortality rate for African Americans is 12.40 per 1,000 infants, while the rate for Whites was 5.33 per 1,000. (READ MORE HERE)

Breastfeeding as A Declaration of Human Welfare

In 1978 there was  a conference held from practicing physicians down to community health workers, for the formation of a declaration  called the Declaration of Alma-Ata. This was designed to bring equitable healthcare to every population in the WORLD. This was not exclusive to certain places or to elite populations. This was designed for the whole of humanity to make healthcare a primary issue. From my studies with, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, exclusive breastfeeding and maternity care were primary solutions to sustain even the most underserved, poor population of people.

Although the projected date of implementation was in year 2000 was devoted to peaceful aims and in particular to the acceleration of social and economic development, of which primary health care, as an essential part, should be allotted its proper share, we are still at a long stretch to accomplish such a goal.



Concluding Thought

The more aware we are of our bodies abilities and purposes within nature, the less resistance we will have. The more we learn to identify, with the beauty of our womaness, the more of an erect posture “women of color” would pose within our communities, mentally and emotionally. Thus establishing a social picture of thriving relationships and babies, even in the most underserved, undereducated populations, therefore closing the gap of infant mortality in the African American community with the simple demonstration of breastfeeding.

Want to get more information on the mutual benefits of breastfeeding CLICK HERE!



The InTune Mother Is About Intuitive Childbirth Empowerment

Here at The InTune Mother, we take on a holistic, spiritual, NON-MEDICAL approach to childbirth that empowers the mother and partner of the unborn baby from an urban, intellectually communal, standpoint.

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Do You Know Your Breastfeeding Rights in the Workplace

Understanding Your Breastfeeding Rights in the Workplace

By Kathie Marinelli

With more than half of women with infants employed, simple workplace accommodations are critical for breastfeeding success. By understanding your rights as a breastfeeding employee and learning how to plan for your return to work, you can successfully transition back to work and find the support you need to reach your personal breastfeeding goals.

Read More HERE

InCultureParent | Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums

In many African cultures it is normal to breastfeed until well into toddlerhood. It is also normal for older children under the age of six or seven to breastfeed again with their younger sibling, if the mother stopped breastfeeding because of another pregnancy. Having grown up in both Africa and Europe, I found it fascinating that what was considered to be standard practice in Africa was called extended breastfeeding  in Europe…

Read more via InCultureParent | Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums.

Get The Facts About Successful Breastfeeding

You Can’t Listen To Everybody

While cruising the web and checking my email, I came across a crazy article, which I was #279 to give it a thumbs down, and I am happy I did for several reasons.

One, as a successful breastfeeding mom, advocate, and self-directed educator, it is quite disturbing to see information floating around regarding breastfeeding that is negatively displayed. The second reason is because, my favorite numbers are 2, 7, and 9 and when they are in sequence like that, they are symbolic to me.

The number (9) is symbolic to woman and childbirth. I have seen breastfeeding from every angle, but it makes me wonder if more women are unsuccessful because they are listening to misinformation or don’t have a positive visual. This is  that is totally bias and creating a wider gap in the push for more women to jump on Mother Nature’s lactating bandwagon. I don’t ever want mothers to feel discouraged from providing her baby… and herself with the best possible outcomes that come exclusively from breastfeeding.

So I want you to go to the article and check it out for yourself. No matter what, yeah we can identify with some of the information, but this should not be the focus. As a blogger, this is a bad look for those who are considering breastfeeding for the first time. I don’t want moms to take this information and use it as supported facts because, even though these are some of the experiences “breastfeeding moms” encounter. It is in no way “hateful.” Challenging yes, but there are plenty of things to discuss more openly about breastfeeding that should bear much more concern.

The art of breastfeeding is just that. I see it as Mother Nature’s way of helping women understand the alchemy of coming into motherhood.  There are so many angles that we could address breastfeeding from a positive perspective. Yet it is still revered as this painful, arduous, and even embarrassing for some, in the event of motherhood.

Why is that I ask? People are more comfortable watching a love scene on television, rather than seeing a woman nurse her baby. Mind you they associate the act with sexual behaviors because, they do not have the right information. So they confuse mothering a baby, with jaded and perverse lenses.

And I have heard all kinds of stories while on my own journey. Some were nice, others not so nice 😦 . The saddest part is when it comes from your loved ones. Often their lack of understanding or education about the benefits of breastfeeding leads them to make indifferent comments. This is when you have to know that you can’t listen to everybody. If I would have listened to the naysayers, then I would not have continued nursing my children until they were just about 2-years. I would have stopped at 6-weeks.

Now ask me was it an adjustment? Yes! Was it painful in the beginning? Yes. But what is pain? Weakness leaving the body. It is really all about perspective. When we identify with something in a way that only we understand it, then we cancel out the opportunity to become more open and receptive to new discoveries about ourselves. And breastfeeding is the next best way to self discovery other than marriage and childbirth.

So here are (9) ways to be encouraged by breastfeeding that most will not tell you.

  • Breastfeeding your baby takes commitment and determination. Breastfeeding women need to maintain a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Moms must remember she is still eating for two. Just be mindful. No fancy diet regimens needed.
  • If applicable incorporate father/partner time with the baby. This is a sure way to give yourself breaks in between feedings, especially new moms. Fathers can lay and cuddle during feedings to maintain active bonding time with mother and baby.
  • Many mothers who choose to nurse their babies also work or go to school, and they do this successfully. The benefit of breastfeeding also builds up a babies immunity so mom does not have to take off as much because, formula-fed babies catch colds, earaches, intestinal upsets, and other illnesses more easily. Exclusive breastfeeding has also been noted to aid in the reduction of the infant mortality rate.
  • For the woman who has to breastfeed in public, there are many techniques that one can learn to be modest during feeding times. Some of these are even fashion forward.
  • Most new moms fear that they are not producing enough milk right after the baby is born. And she is right. Because she is not producing milk, she is producing colostrum. Colostrum contains the most valuable nutrients and immunizing agents, and it is all a baby needs until mature milk begins to be produced. This is roughly about 72 hours after the baby is born. So KEEP Nursing! The longer the better… At least 18-24 months.
  • Don’t worry about losing the baby weight so quickly. On an average a woman burns 300-500 calories a day breastfeeding. This is just enough to gradually lose weight in a healthy way that still supports your baby’s nutritional needs.
  • Women who have cesarean births can breastfeed just like women who birth vaginally. It is important to know the ideal breastfeeding positions to keep pressure off the incision site. This can also be soothing to women who had to have an emergency or unplanned C-section to reconnect with the bonding element of childbirth.
  • The baby will let you know if he/she/they are not getting enough milk. Look for signs of hunger, growth activity, how alert baby is, and how many diapers you go through. (This is where the value of cloth diapering comes in, but that’s a whole different post).
  • Breastfeeding is just as good for the mom as it is for the baby. Like, breastfeeding reduces postpartum bleeding and may also reduce the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Well here it is… I hope that this helps someone to be encouraged and keep up the good work of nursing your baby. Don’t listen to negative information and stay focused on the goal. You are part of the solution.

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P.S.

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