Creating a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers sounds so easy. Doctors and midwives encourage moms to take a breastfeeding class. In the hospital, the nurses promote newborn skin to skin contact. Moms may seek outpatient breastfeeding support from an IBCLC. Most insurance plans provide a breast pump so breastfeeding moms can return to work or school. We even have legislation that makes breastfeeding in public a civil right.
Then a new mom leaves her house with her baby and breastfeeding is nowhere to be seen ...
MilkWorks recently hosted the second Community Breastfeeding Educator course. Eleven culturally diverse women gathered to learn more about breastfeeding in order to take accurate information and support into the neighborhoods of our community. Many of the women were born and raised in countries where breastfeeding is not only the norm, but may be the only choice for mothers. Yet these women spoke about how hard it is to breastfeed once they come to America.
Why is that?
If everyone told you to wear clothes, and you had grown up seeing everyone wear clothes, but you walked outside one day and no one was wearing clothes, what would you do? Not only would you question your choice to wear clothes, but all of a sudden your clothes would begin to feel uncomfortable. Almost embarrassingly uncomfortable. Even though you remember your mother telling you to always dress properly before going out in public, now you begin to question even your mother.
This is a bit like breastfeeding in our country. We encourage and educate and even legislate breastfeeding. And then breastfeeding mothers face the real world. If you add a language barrier, no wonder that women who grow up in breastfeeding countries lose all sense of breastfeeding once they come to America.
By joining forces with Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln and the Asian Community and Cultural Center and promoting breastfeeding in all our neighborhoods, we aim to change what breastfeeding looks like. When moms and babies come out of their homes……and we all start to know what breastfeeding looks like…… on a bus, in a park, in church, on a bench in your neighborhood…….. breastfeeding will truly be the norm in our country. After all, if everyone breastfed, wouldn’t you?