During Latino-Hispanic Heritage Month, HealthConnect One is excited to celebrate our breastfeeding traditions through online and real-life conversation and support. This is the 8th guest post in our blog series, “Celebrating our Breastfeeding Traditions,” featuring individuals who identify as Latino/Hispanic who are breastfeeding leaders, advocates of breastfeeding support, and members of breastfeeding families.
My deep love for breastfeeding began when my son was just a newborn baby and I was on the brink of depression. As a single mother, it felt lonely and impossible to raise a child on my own. But breastfeeding felt like my ray of hope, and ironically my name is Esperanza. I felt like, although I was struggling, at the very least I knew I was providing the best nutrition for my baby without even trying, and that’s what pulled me through the sadness.
I believe I’m one of the rare cases where breastfeeding was actually easy for me. The milk flowed plentiful and I never had any challenges – at least where breastfeeding is concerned. I also felt like I couldn’t relate to other moms because they had partners and their breastfeeding support group revolved around breastfeeding struggles. I craved a space where all types of families would be present and we could celebrate breastfeeding. So I create those spaces now for other moms and parents.
I’m proud to be the Mamas Justice Organizer at Young Women United, a community organizing and policy project by and for women of color in New Mexico. I’m blessed to work alongside powerful women and people of color on birth and parenting justice everyday, with breastfeeding justice being a central component. Breastfeeding justice means advocating for access and support to breastfeeding, as well as honoring and celebrating breastfeeding for all families of color, including single, queer, trans*, young parents and more.
I work to uplift mamas and parents who are breastfeeding so they can know they are loved and incredible. As women and people of color, we live in a society where the toll of racism, classism, homophobia and transphobia impact our bodies and our milk. The one thing we can do is at least show our sisters and brothers of color love in their breastfeeding journey. For Hispanic Heritage Month, I hope you join me in celebrating ourselves and other breastfeeding families because we all deserve it!
Esperanza is a New Mexican Hispanic mama to an 8 yr old son, Julián and works at Young Women United in Albuquerque, NM.
TWEET WITH US on October 7th at 2:00 p.m. ET, for a #WellnessWed Twitter Chat about Breastfeeding in Latino/Hispanic Communities. Share your voice with hashtag #DandoPecho!