–This post is part of our 10-year anniversary series “Breastfeeding is…” When we initially curated this series, we planned for 10 weeks, but breastfeeding is so many things that we just couldn’t fit it all in, which means we have two bonus weeks in our anniversary series.–
Breastfeeding is ours. Breastfeeding belongs to us.
For decades, the 55 billion dollar formula milk industry has positioned itself as an ally to parents.
Through conniving tactics, like the distortion of science to legitimize their claims, the systematic targeting of health professionals to promote their products, and the undermining of parents’ confidence in breastfeeding, the industry impacts the survival, health and development of children and mothers, disrupts truthful information– an essential human right as noted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, disregards the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and exploits the aspirations, vulnerabilities and fears at the birth and early years of our children solely for commercial gain. (WHO/UNICEF, 2022, p. x) [More at WHO report exposes formula milk marketing, offers steps forward]
Far before the advent of formula milks and their subsequent marketing campaigns, breastfeeding sustained the human species. When breastfeeding wasn’t possible, wet nursing was the primary alternative feeding option. [Stevens, et al 2009]
For generations, cultures across the globe have honored breastfeeding as a central part of their identities, and now they’re reclaiming these traditions after being challenged by the formula milk industry and other forces.
HealthConnect One’s program manager Brenda Reyes, RN, CLC describes that reclamation of Latino/Hispanic birth and breastfeeding traditions in Reclaiming Latino/Hispanic birth and breastfeeding traditions for instance.
In It’s Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Week: “Reclaiming Our Tradition”, To-Wen Tseng covers just what the title suggests.
Navajo Breastfeeding Coalition/Dine Doula Collective, Amanda Singer, CLC discusses the revitalization of Indigenous breastfeeding in Honoring Indigenous Milk Medicine Week: “Nourishing Our Futures”.
Hispanic Health Council’s Breastfeeding Heritage and Pride (BHP) Program manager and lactation consultant Cody Cuni, IBCLC, BS reminds us in Hispanic Health Council’s Breastfeeding Heritage and Pride (BHP) Program heals, empowers and celebrates through peer counseling model that breastfeeding has always belonged to the people.
Cuni offers commentary on her and her colleague’s responsibility to help facilitate breastfeeding without capitalizing, claiming and dominating. She sees her role as an empowerer.
Without diminishing the need for larger structural supports, let us also remember and celebrate the innate power we hold as individuals who can nourish and nurture our young and ourselves through breastfeeding.
Our 10-year anniversary giveaway has ended. Thank you to everyone who participated!