LAS CRUCES — Vivikka Peña, 32, a cosmetologist at Arroyo Salon in Las Cruces, struggled to breastfeed her now 6-month-old son Gaidge, but she refused to give up.
Peña’s son was born with infantile jaundice, a common condition in newborns that causes a yellow discoloration of the baby’s skin and eyes.
“We were in the hospital for a week and we had to give him bottles and try to flush him out, so I think because he had bottles at first it was harder for him to just want to take the breast,” she said.
Peña said that without the support of her lactation consultant, she would have given up.
“For me, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she said. “And I think the most empowering thing I’ve ever done as a woman; it’s just amazing.
For many women, breastfeeding can be a difficult task, but it is worth it for mothers and babies. Every year, World Breastfeeding Week, from August 1 to 7, celebrates the Innocenti Declaration, made by the World Health Organization and the decision makers of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Members of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force (NMBTF) will provide help and support to breastfeeding mothers through various programs and organizations. The task force is a coalition that promotes breastfeeding by improving workplace and child care breastfeeding conditions, advocating supportive legislative policies, and supporting hospitals and clinics in their efforts to achieve designation. Baby friends.
“Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need,” said Kathleen Douglas, lactation consultant at Women’s Medical Associates in Las Cruces and a member of the task force. “All major health care organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for one to two years or beyond. “
According to womenshealth.gov, the cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk protect babies against diseases such as asthma, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome and eczema. Breastfeeding also benefits mothers, reducing their risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Moms take the floor
In mid-July, several mothers from the community, including members of the Southern New Mexico chapter of the NMBTF, came together to discuss why they support breastfeeding mothers.
Tracy Alsup, 37, an NMBTF member and lactation consultant at Memorial Medical Center, said she chose to breastfeed because she felt it was the most natural and healthy way to feed her infants. .
“Wherever you are with your baby, you can always breastfeed, and it’s prepared at the right temperature and with the right ingredients for your baby at that time,” Alsup said. “The formula is made from cow’s milk and sometimes soy and vegetable oils and it’s just not species specific like breast milk is for our babies; it is what nature intended.
Alsup also sees breastfeeding as an opportunity to bond with her child.
“There’s nothing like the first time you put your baby skin-to-skin, and it’s just a very precious experience,” she said.
Ashley Wright, 24, a stay-at-home mom, said that as well as providing the best nutrition for her 15-month-old daughter, Lacey, one of the reasons she chose to breastfeed was to save money money. Breastfeeding families save up to $1,500 on formula in the first year, according to information provided by the NMBTF.
Wright said she thinks the Las Cruces community is supportive of breastfeeding moms, but she still gets the occasional stare when breastfeeding in public.
“I think society has sexualized our bodies a lot and I think that’s why people have a hard time seeing nursing mothers in public,” she said. “I think a lot of people have forgotten that this is the most natural way to feed a baby.”
Know the law
New Mexico law protects a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, “wherever she is,” Douglas said. Another state law also requires employers to provide break times and a private space in the workplace to help employees who are mothers use breast pumps to continue breastfeeding their child, it said. she declared.
NMBTF Local Chapter President Suzanne Staley said MountainView Regional Medical Center is designated as a baby-friendly hospital (meaning it meets certain breastfeeding support standards and practices) and that MMC is on its way to becoming a baby-friendly hospital. .
“What that means in terms of breastfeeding is that a lot more mothers are going to be leaving hospitals to breastfeed,” Staley said. “So what we’re doing as a task force is preparing our community for families leaving hospitals who are breastfeeding, trying to put in place supports for those families so they can achieve their breastfeeding goals.”
Women who are struggling to breastfeed or who lack support can turn to one of the many resources available to them in Las Cruces, said Malinda Vigil, NMBTF member and registered nurse at MountainView. In addition to a support group, MountainView also offers breastfeeding classes and can schedule individual appointments for additional breastfeeding support. MMC also offers a support group, as well as a public breastfeeding basics course and a neonatal clinic that offers lactation services.
“Often, mothers who choose to breastfeed don’t realize there’s a lot of help out there,” Vigil said. “(Breastfeeding) can be difficult at first. A lot of people look at breastfeeding and think, “Oh, it’s natural, I don’t need any help,” but natural and easy aren’t the same thing. There are plenty of places mothers can turn to for help so they don’t quit right away.
For more information about the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force initiatives taking place during World Breastfeeding Week and ongoing efforts to support breastfeeding, visit feedingnewmexico.org or email Staley at [email protected]
Support groups, meetings
• Mom’s Milk Club: Every Friday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the first Tuesday of the month from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Medical Center, 2450 S. Telshor Blvd., at West Annex – Piñon A. A World Breastfeeding Week party will be held on Friday 5 August. Info: 575-521-5393.
• MountainView Support Group for New Parents: Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon at MountainView Senior Circle, 3948 Lohman Ave. Ste 1. Info: 321-298-3153.
• Lunch time latch: Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Department of Health, 1170 N. Salono Drive, in WIC class 1108. Info: 575-496-3695 or WIC office, 575-528-5000.
• Southern New Mexico Chapter, New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force: Members meet the third Thursday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the First Step Center, 390 Calle de Alegra, in the First Step conference room. Information: 575-621-9464.
World Breastfeeding Week Events
• Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week: 1-4 p.m. Friday, August 5 at the Department of Health’s WIC Public Health Clinic, 1170 N. Solano Drive. For pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children/partners/families.
• The big latchSaturday, August 6, at Apodaca Park, 801 E. Madrid Ave.: 10 a.m. Women come together to breastfeed and help each other. Info: Call 321-298-3153 or [email protected]
• Breastfeeding on the Border Walk and Carnival: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 6 at Enrique Miramontez Memorial Park in Anthony, TX. Registration walks at 8 a.m.; Big Latch On at 10:30 a.m. Info: 575-528-5123 or [email protected]