Breastfeeding has always been a traditional practice in Native communities. We want to continue to strengthen and encourage the traditional practice of breastfeeding to improve the lives of women, babies, and families for generations to come.
Statistically, Native mothers and babies represent one of the lowest exclusive breastfeeding rates at six months of age (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) of any race or ethnicity in the nation.
For native families, breastfeeding is an important determinant of health. Native families face serious health challenges, including the highest rates of obesity and diabetes which often lead to other health problems for mother and baby.
Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for baby. Milk changes subtly throughout the day and year matching baby’s needs.
As Indigenous women, it is imperative we share this knowledge with families and other agencies supporting home-visiting. These collaborations across diverse communities allow us to build and share the resiliency held within our communities.
Breastmilk should be the main food during the first year of life and continued breastfeeding through two (2) years old or longer as desired by mother and baby. The World Health Organization suggests exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months.
Family Circle Topic: Indigenous Breastfeeding
Invite elders to share stories of traditional native practices. Provide comfortable chairs and spaces for nursing moms attending the meetings.
Consult with your tribe to determine if there are breastfeeding counselors certified by the Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition to present at a Family Circle.
AI/AN Breastfeeding Brochure. Retrieved from https://itcaonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/breastfeedingguide-nativeamerican-english.pdf
An Easy Guide to Breastfeeding for American Indian and Alaska Native Families. (2018, July 16). Retrieved from https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/family-support-well-being/article/easy-guide-breastfeeding-american-indian-alaska-native-families
Coronavirus2019 guidance and precautions. (2020, February 11). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fpregnancy-breastfeeding.html
Parents as Teachers Curricula https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/parentsasteachers/ofc/
PAT Breastfeeding PE Resources pp.1302-1303, 1316-1318
Tips on Breastfeeding pp. 1304-1305
Breastfeeding and the Working Mom pp. 1306-1307
Breastfeeding When You Are Away pp. 1308-1309
Helping Your Baby Avoid Allergies pp. 1312-1313
How Long Will I Breastfeed? pp. 1314-1315
Weaning from Breastfeeding pp. 1319-1320