Amanda Reyes chose to breastfeed her children despite the stigma her family associates with it.
Reyes, a Filipino American and resident of Porter Ranch, received scorn from her mother because in the Philippines only low-income mothers breastfeed their children. It was a question of status.
Mothers who had money were expected to buy formula, but Reyes said in a phone interview that she felt pressured to breastfeed her two children, both born premature.
“Both of my sons are so strong, and I think it’s because of breast milk,” she said.
However, she wasn’t always so confident about breastfeeding.
When her 6-year-old son was born, she didn’t know how to produce milk and felt discouraged because she had no support, Reyes said. Not knowing where to turn, Reyes joined several Facebook groups and then found the Asian Breastfeeding Task Force in Los Angeles.
Now, she has joined 16 other mothers as models for a photo exhibit organized by the Asian Breastfeeding Task Force in Downtown LA and Temple City, which opened on Wednesday, July 31 and Saturday, August 3, respectively.
As part of National Breastfeeding Month, the exhibition will run for a month and aims to normalize breastfeeding in Asian families by depicting its beauty, coordinator To-wen Tseng said in a phone interview.
Los Angeles Arts District resident Iren Siosan, another Filipina mother who participated in the exhibit, also felt family pressure against the practice, but ultimately chose to breastfeed her children because there is fewer health risks for premature and breastfed babies, she said in a phone interview. .
Social stigma, coupled with a lack of resources, has hampered Asian mothers’ ability to breastfeed successfully, said Tseng, a San Diego resident.
According to the Asian Breastfeeding Task Force, nearly 50% of Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley have limited English proficiency, and less than 6% of breastfeeding professionals in Los Angeles County speak English. Asian language.
The photo exhibit was supported by grants from the HealthConnect One Foundation’s Birth Equity Leadership Academy and the office of Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez.
Tseng said the task force hired a professional photographer who had creative power over mothers and their children.
“When we were organizing this project, the sites were concerned about how the public would see the images,” Tseng said. “So we are aware that the stigma is still there.”
Siosan said the photos reflect a natural tone.
The working group has also created 17 videos, Tseng sai, to accompany the photos that will be released periodically throughout the month. The videos present the reasons why the participating mothers chose to breastfeed their children and the obstacles they faced.
Siosan did not feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, noting an example at Bistro Na, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Temple City.
She said the people at the table next to her were furious when her husband intervened: “What’s wrong man, he’s eating like you,” she reported.
If you are going to:
Or: 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles (LA City Hall Breezeway) and 10144 Bogue St., Temple City (Live Oak Park Community Center)
When: from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day in August
Cost: To free