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It’s National Breastfeeding Month and I am ready to take a moment, breathe, celebrate and advocate.

Normally, when August rolls around I am ready to celebrate! Celebrate the breastfeeding journeys that mothers and babies embark upon every single day.  Each milestone (no matter the length) deserves to be celebrated, but living in the middle of a global pandemic is challenging to say the least so first, I am going to take a moment...I am going to breathe….

*deep breath*

Now let’s celebrate! Let’s celebrate the first time you put baby to the breast, let’s celebrate the first time baby gave you that milky smile, let’s celebrate that challenge that you overcame - whether it was sore nipples, a difficult latch, or the baby who never seemed to unlatch! Each and every one of those moments deserves celebrating!

But now let’s take a moment to look around and lift up and support our fellow moms who struggle to meet their breastfeeding goals.  We know that right now while 4 out of 5 U.S. mothers start out breastfeeding, less than half are still breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum.  We know that many moms want to breastfeed, but face challenge after challenge in trying to meet their breastfeeding goals. 

And most urgent, we are living in the middle of a global pandemic, so those challenges just became ever more difficult. What about our Native American sisters who are being separated from their newborns? Everyone who becomes pregnant, gives birth, and who is breastfeeding should have access to a safe, healthy, and respectful experience, even (and especially) during the coronavirus pandemic. We must work together to ensure healthy outcomes for all.  

Studies show that breastfeeding for the recommended six months can help decrease infant mortality and childhood disease among children of color.  It can also contribute to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast and ovarian cancer in mothers.  

And breastfeeding isn’t just good for moms and babies. The fact is that breastfeeding is good for the physical and economic health of our nation.  Recent studies have shown if mothers could meet current medical recommendations for breastfeeding it would save the US economy nearly $13 billion per year in paediatric health costs and premature deaths.

This August MomsRising will be shedding a light on the barriers that moms face in meeting doctors’ recommended breastfeeding guidelines during the pandemic and beyond, we will lift up our members stories - the struggles, the joys, and every moment in between.  Join us throughout the month of August where each week we will be exploring a new topic.

August 1-7: World Breastfeeding Week - Your Stories!
August 9-15: Native Breastfeeding Week
August 16-24: Spotlight on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies
August 25-31: Black Breastfeeding Week
Haven’t shared your story?  You can do so now.  Is social media your thing?  Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with #NBMRisers20  Share your story, stand up against corporate interests, and advocate for public policies that support ALL breastfeeding moms

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