By Travis Parker
The Wellness Coalition is spotlighting some amazing breastfeeding mothers in the community and community partners that advocate for breastfeeding with the launch of our life-size breastfeeding cut-out campaign. This campaign helps to normalize breastfeeding in communities by creating spaces where our people of color are represented in direct relation to the topic of breastfeeding.
The cut-outs will be on display in various organizations in Lowndes, Macon, and Montgomery counties and include breastfeeding brochures attached with helpful resources. This action will help to normalize breastfeeding and educate mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding.
BREASTFEEDING MOMS IN OUR COMMUNITY
Choosing local mothers who are breastfeeding was an exciting task. We had so many mothers share their stories about their breastfeeding journey. We asked mothers to share their reasons for choosing to breastfeed their baby, and here is what they had to say:
Adiliah: “Overall, breastfeeding was the best option for my baby’s health and growth and development. Also, it was beneficial for both the babies and me because we now have a lower chance of developing chronic illnesses.”
Caprecia: “Breastfeeding provides us with an indescribable bond. Breastfeeding gave me a chance to reclaim the Black Body.”
Sophia: “In the community with women of color, we face more health issues than other races, so it’s essential to give our babies the best start in life we can.”
Tonia Price: “My son, Oliver, was diagnosed with Cri Du Chat (Cat Cry) Syndrome around ten months old due to his developmental delays. It is a chromosomal deletion disorder affecting the short arm of the 5th chromosome and is characterized by a high-pitched cat-like cry. There is a broad spectrum of different intellectual and developmental abilities. Nursing Oliver allowed us to bypass expensive and
harsh formulas that would have worsened his GI issues. My breast milk deterred most viral or bacterial illnesses, which led to fewer hospital visits. Nursing also allowed Oliver to gain the proper amount of weight for a child with his condition without searching for alternative methods.”
Latifah Warren: “I chose to breastfeed because it’s not so common in the community of women of color, and it would be a new experience. With the pandemic at an all-time high, I wanted to provide my baby with the best nutrition. Breastfeeding also provides the ultimate bonding opportunity with my baby.”
WHY I CHOSE TO BE A MODEL FOR THE LIFE-SIZE BREASTFEEDING CUT-OUT
Normalizing breastfeeding will always take a community effort. There are many creative ways to normalize breastfeeding, including the promotion of clothing with breastfeeding logos, breastfeeding accessories, and breastfeeding art. Placing life-size breastfeeding cut-outs of local mothers in various organizations around the community is a great way to express art. Many people may embrace the beauty of seeing a life-size breastfeeding cut-out sitting in their hairstylist’s waiting room area, and others may question why a mother would want to model while breastfeeding.
Here are some of the reasons these mothers chose to model for the campaign:
Caprecia: “I would love to model as a representation of a proud woman of color. After attending the breastfeeding webinar hosted by The Wellness Coalition this past summer, I have been in full support of all efforts by your organization to encourage more women in our community to breastfeed.”
Tonicia: “I chose to be a volunteer model for the breastfeeding campaign because I want women of color to see that we DO still breastfeed our babies. We CAN exclusively breastfeed, we CAN tandem breastfeed, and we CAN breastfeed for however long we choose. I want mamas who have a desire to breastfeed to know that they have support and resources available to them that will allow them to have
a beautiful and rewarding breastfeeding journey.”
Adiliah: “I live by the motto “What they see is what they will be,” so if more moms see other black moms breastfeeding, then they will likely choose to do the same.”
LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS ALSO SUPPORT BREASTFEEDING
Although some mothers frequently experience breastfeeding barriers, there are organizations in our community who provide support. We have partnered with many organizations to help place the breastfeeding standees at their site for the public to see. Of course, each partner has their reasons for becoming a host site. Here is what some of them had to say:
Resurrection Catholic Church:
“Breastfeeding is normal. It is a natural way to feed a young baby, and it has so many benefits. We are visual people, and having the cut-outs will normalize something that shouldn’t need to be normalized.”
Agape of Central Alabama:
“We believe that knowledge is power. At Agape, we walk with women throughout their pregnancy as they make a plan to parent or make an adoption plan. Since 80% of our clients choose to parent, we desire to give them all the tools necessary to make the best decisions for themselves and their child. There is so much misinformation and/or stigma around breastfeeding that many expecting mothers may not see it as a feasible option. It is our hope that the life-size cut-outs will be a conversation starter with our clients to explore all the possibilities in caring for their child.”
Cope Pregnancy Center:
“Participating in The Wellness Coalition life-size breastfeeding cut-out campaign will open the door for COPE Moms and Dads to learn and become aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Through education and support, we can work together to continue to make a difference in the lives of Alabamian families.”
The life-size breastfeeding cut-out campaign will spark lots of conversations. We are thankful to have a team of mothers and partnering organizations to play a massive role in making these conversations happen. We hope that many moms choose to get educated and breastfeed their babies.
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