Updated: Sep 23, 2018

National Breastfeeding Month (#NBM18)

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month where we take the time to acknowledge and highlight the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for moms and infants alike. Breastfeeding improves the health and well-being of women and children throughout the nation.  August is a time to really focus on the benefits and challenges of breastfeeding, and take the time to educate our communities of the importance in something as natural as breastfeeding

Tree of Life Collage of me breastfeeding my 4th child, 2016

According to

  • Breastfed infants have a reduced risk of infections, asthma, obesity and SIDS compared with formula-fed infants;

  • Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression compared to mothers who don't breastfeed; and

  • It's estimated that $13 billion in health care costs would be saved per year if 90 percent of U.S. infants were breastfed exclusively for six months.

(Aug, 1, 2018) National Breastfeeding Month

Black Breastfeeding Week 2018 ( #BBW18)

This year marks the 6th annual Black Breastfeeding Week, from August 25-31.  So, what is Black Breastfeeding Awareness Week, and why is it a thing?  There’s always someone lurking in the shadows asking "WHY?" Why is there a "black" anything, including BBW18.  I’m hear to tell you that whenever there is a disparity between one group of people from the general population there will always be a need recognize and address issues such as black breast feeding.

According to these are just some of the reasons we NEED a BBW:

  • the high black infant mortality rate

  • high rates of diet-related disease

  • lack of diversity in the lactation field

  • unique cultural barriers among black women

The mortality rate of African American babies is twice the rate, (even three times in some areas), of white babies in America. According to the CDC an increase in breastfeeding could decrease the infant mortality rate by nearly 50%. These statistics are mind blowing.

This almost magical first-food has been proven to decrease the risks of upper respiratory infections, Type II diabetes, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and childhood obesity. These diseases occur at a high rate in the African American population.

You may have heard the phrase, "representation matters." This idea can also be applied to the lack of African American expert presence in the lactation field.  This field is predominately led by White females, and although well meaning, they sometimes lack the cultural sensitivity or relevance needed to help black breastfeeding mothers over-come some culturally unique challenges.

There is a whole complicated history of breastfeeding stemming from our role during the days of slavery, when slave women were forced to breastfeed and nurture their master's children while, setting their own children aside.  In addition, there is a lack of representation from role models who look like us, a lack of family and multi-generational support for some Black breastfeeding mothers, and other inherent negative stereotypes within our own communities.

But no matter what the color of your skin we all need support and education to help establish successful breastfeeding relationships with our babies.

Here's a few myths and facts about breastfeeding. 5 Breastfeeding Myths

  1. Formula is a good as breast milk. There is currently nothing on earth that can replace breastmilk. Breastmilk is composed of water, fatcarbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and white cells. Over the course of a feeding, breast milk changes from foremilk, high in water and lactose, to hindmilk, high in fat and calories.

  2. Adding cereal to a bottle will help baby sleep better. Cereal provides no nutritional value to your baby. The reason why breastfed babies awaken frequently through the night is because breast milk is easily digested. In fact, cereal is considered a solid which is not recommended before 6 months, and can pose a choking risk to infants. 

  3. I didn't breastfeed and my kids turned out fine...We now know more of the short and long term benefits of breastmilk, and as we continue to learn more it is proven the breastmilk is the BEST nutrition for infants in all stages.

  4. Breastfeeding is a reliable form of breast control.  Lactational Amenorrhea Method is an actual form of birth control, but it is only 98% effective, and only if you are exclusively breastfeeding and infant under 6 months old. IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO BECOME PREGNANT WHILE BREASTFEEDING. In fact, it happened to me!

  5. Breastfeeding is rude to other people, and they shouldn't see that. You should NEVER feel ashamed to feed your hungry baby. If you wish to have privacy then that is fine, but you are allowed to breastfeed, uncovered, in public wherever you are allowed to be, and that is the LAW.

5 Breastfeeding Facts

  1. Breast milk also contains antibodies, and white blood cells that help your baby fight against infection. During times of sickness your breast milk changes to meet you child's needs.

  2. 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they intend to.  How long a mother breastfeeds her baby (duration) is influenced by problems with latching, concerns with infant nutrition and weight gain, concerns about medications mother may be taking while nursing, lack of support withing the family or work place, and unsupportive hospital policies.

  3. The amount of breast milk you are able to carry or produce has nothing to do with size of your breasts. 

  4. Breastfed babies can smell you and recognize the unique scent of your milk.

  5. Breastfed babies tend to be healthier than formula fed babies.

~If you are interested in breastfeeding your baby you can find support with your local WIC office or health department. Need a carseat? Get a Graco Seat 20% off here, from SweetPeasPages Blog Sources: CDC

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