Breast-feeding: Taboo topic? Not for long

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“It’s all too often that breast-feeding is frowned upon in society, when in actuality, it should be praised,” said Rene Drake, Ramstein’s Mom2Mom program coordinator.
This month is National Breast-feeding Awareness Month, the first week of which is World Breast-feeding Week. Several organizations around the KMC are coming together to support the cause by offering events that are open to all.

Breast-feeding Awareness Month was designed to support new and expecting mothers and also help the community gain knowledge of what is commonly considered a taboo subject. Several organizations in the KMC are pushing to make breast-feeding a more comfortable topic.

“At the Women, Infants and Children Office, we are doing everything we can to make moms feel more at ease with breast-feeding,” said Jodi Ashbrook, 86th Mission Support Group registered dietician. “We offer counseling for new and expecting moms and we also have a lactation room here in our office open from 7:30 to 4:30 p.m.”

Various groups are also petitioning to open a lactation room in the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center, allowing mothers to feel more confident while breast-feeding in public.

“The best thing is to be aware, reach out and use the programs offered,” Ashbrook said. “We are here to help, so don’t be afraid to get involved and meet other moms who have gone or are going through the same thing.”

The World Health Organization recommends infants should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life or beyond to achieve the best possible health and development.

“There are so many wonderful benefits to breast-feeding,” Ashbrook said. “The human body creates ingredients that cannot be produced artificially. In the breast milk there is immunoglobulin, live cells and antibodies. Also, the bond between mother and baby during breast-feeding is great for the baby.”

Drake said that in some cases, breast-feeding can be a challenge for new mothers.
“With the Mom2Mom support group, it’s easy to meet other mothers who have had similar experiences,” Drake said. “It’s so important to build a support system. The first few weeks after delivery can be a very vulnerable time for moms, and being surrounded by the right people can help a ton. We have mentors of all types ― active-duty moms, mothers of multiples, and more.”

“Being educated on the benefits to breast-feeding is extremely important, so take advantage of what is offered,” Drake said.

Mom2Mom is also sponsoring a photo-shoot fundraiser for pregnant or breast-feeding mothers Saturday. MPH Photos is offering two professionally edited photos for just $15.

The second annual Mom2Mom Family Picnic will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Donnelly Park pavilion. There will be more than $800 in prizes and a bouncy castle for the children.

There are also many other resources in the KMC:

» The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center has a lactation consultant who provides breast-feeding classes from 6 to 8 p.m. every first Thursday of the month. For details, call 06371-86-5081.

» The New Parent Support Program has a breast-feeding class every third Monday of the month. For details, call 06371-46-2098.

» The Mom2Mom Breast-feeding Support Group holds meetings from 9:30 to 11 a.m. every second Wednesday of the month. Call Rene Drake at 0151-2356-1549 for more information.

» The WIC office offers a support group at 11 a.m. the third Tuesday every month, beginning Sept. 20.