National Breastfeeding Month: Breaking down the stigma – Week 1

August 1, 2019

Thursday, August 1 through Wednesday, August 7, 2019 is designated as “World Breastfeeding Week” and the month of August is “National Breastfeeding Month.” Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the process of feeding a mother’s breast milk to her infant, either directly from the breast or by expressing (pumping out) the milk from the breast and bottle-feeding it to the infant. Breastfeeding and breast milk provide an infant with calories and nutrients, including macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).1

According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding is beneficial to both a mother and her infant and also offers an important opportunity for the pair to bond. Yet, many mothers terminate breastfeeding as a feeding choice because of the discomfort they experience from those who are uncomfortable around a breastfeeding mother. Hopefully this column will support the increased awareness of breast milk’s health benefits and efforts to make breastfeeding in public socially acceptable. The majority of the resources this month will be derived from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Breastfeeding suggests that women who don’t have health problems should exclusively breastfeed their infants for at least the first six months after birth, and if possible, a woman should try to continue breastfeeding her infant for up to 12 months, while adding other foods, because of the benefits to both the mother and the infant.2

A regular, well-balanced diet should provide all the vitamins necessary for both nursing mothers and their babies. However, pediatricians recommend that mothers continue taking a daily prenatal vitamin supplement to ensure the proper nutritional balance for both mom and baby. See more information published by the American Academy of Pediatrics at regarding breastfeeding.

Beloved, I must go there because when it comes to breastfeeding in the pew, most likely if a mother attempts to breastfeed in most churches, she is hurried off quickly by a well-meaning usher or nurse to a parent’s room or the bathroom. There are still many who think breasts have no place in the pew. Interestingly, in January 2018, Pope Francis at an annual baptism ceremony where he baptized 34 babies, encouraged mothers to feed their babies if they were hungry during the two-hour long service in Catholicism’s holiest place, the Sistine Chapel. While the attitude is changing regarding public breastfeeding, women still are subjected to embarrassment and even stares when breastfeeding in public. The only way to break down the fear, guilt and stigma surrounding public breastfeeding is knowledge. Join me this month as we not only celebrate National Breastfeeding Month but also to provide information to hopefully begin breaking down the stigma associated with public breastfeeding.


1Ballard, O., & Morrow, A. L. (2013). Human milk composition: Nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 60(1), 49–74. Retrieved June 21, 2016, from

2American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 129(3), e827–e841. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Next Week: Continuation

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