Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Native women must make their own choices about breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is one of the most sacred things parents do for their children, but so is the decision not to breastfeed. For low-income women who cannot or do not want to breastfeed, their safety net assistance via Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are at stake.

While the rationale for increasing the food package for exclusively breastfeeding mothers and parents is understood, it does not acknowledge the nuances of indigenous breastfeeding.

There is an increase in programs, coalitions and events that are developed by and for indigenous people, like the Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition. Young Women United launched the first ever #1stSacredFood Twitter chat in 2015 by and for Native moms and people, so we could have a conversation with indigenous people worldwide about breastfeeding. We had a more successful Twitter chat this year. Native women-led coalitions, like the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, are blossoming all over Indian Country. It is efforts like these that are showing us, indigenous people, that breastfeeding is a way to reclaim our identity, by incorporating our cultures and languages into teaching about breastfeeding, and feeding our families as a whole.


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