Milk for Thought’s Big Pink Bus showed why “the breast is best” for Kent County
Last Thursday, Milk for Thought’s “Latch On America Tour” Big Pink Bus brought together a host of breastfeeding advocates from across Kent County. Participants included area doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, La Leche League leaders and lactation consultants. The Kent County Health Department and Healthy Kent Breastfeeding Coalition provided information on the benefits of breastfeeding and various programs supporting breastfeeding mothers.
“It was a fun way to bring together our communities’ many breastfeeding resources. The event gave each an avenue to reach out to families so that more people may find the help and support they need,” said midwife, Shannon Pawson. “Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it!”
“I really appreciated the idea of coming together as a community to show there is a support mechanism for breastfeeding moms,” added Kelly Grieve, a Grand Rapids La Leche leader.
Also on hand, the “Free to Feed” campaign invites businesses to place the Free to Feed logo in their windows so that breastfeeding mothers know they are welcome to openly breastfeed in their establishments.
Speaking of openly breastfeeding, it is totally legally to expose the breast when breastfeeding. Indecent exposure laws do not apply to breastfeeding women. That’s one of the messages that Afrykahn Moon shared with the crowd. Moon was kicked off a public bus in Troy Michigan for breastfeeding her two-week-old son. The municipality has since “reminded” its 600 drivers that women are indeed allowed to breastfeed babies while on board public buses.
The Michigan Breastfeeding Network handed out flyers about Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which state that “employers shall provide breastfeeding employees with reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the workday, up until the child’s first birthday.”
Ryan Comfort, CEO of Milk for Thought, rallied the crowd at the close of the event as a big pink star was placed on the large map on the side of the bus, indicating Grand Rapids had hosted the Pink Bus. When GRIID asked him why he, a man, was involved in the cause, he said, “My hope is to serve as an example. Breastfeeding is so much more than getting nutrition. It empowers women to meet their personal goals. I provide my skills in business and technology to a cause that has such an impact on women and families. We’re here to shine a big spotlight on breastfeeding.”
Another of the many males in the audience, Josh Dunigan shared that he was breastfed and, as the son of a midwife, had learned much about breastfeeding’s benefits. “The scientific research is in. Children who are breastfed do better in school, are more likely to go on to higher education and contribute to society. Breast milk or nurturing should be important to every living human being because of the way these affect society.”
10 – 11 a.m. Saturday Aug. 6 The Grand Rapids BIG LATCH ON
This Saturday, a follow-up event, “The Grand Rapids BIG LATCH ON, will be one of many across the country setting a new record for the most mothers latching and breastfeeding simultaneously. “We have chosen Rosa Parks Circle as a venue because we felt that nursing in public was an important issue to address,” says organizer, Juliea Paige. “We feel that the more people see nursing in public, the less of a big deal it will become. More than this, though, is the idea of society learning how to breastfeed through exposure such as this. It is known that breastfeeding is far more successful among cultures where it is not hidden and widely accepted. In response to the Surgeon General’s call to action, we believe that supporting not only breastfeeding, but breastfeeding in public, could serve as a strong start in getting new mothers to establish and continue nursing their babies successfully.”
12 Top Reasons to Breastfeed:
- Always fresh, clean, safe and at the right temperature, plus it’s free.
- Most nutritious –breast milk changes overtime to adapt to a growing baby’s needs.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to develop ear infections, Crohn’s disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma, SIDS or allergies.
- Breastfed babies have higher IQs.
- Breast milk contains endorphins that suppress pain and comfort a sick infant.
- Breastfed babies have better speech development.
- Helps moms shrink uterus back to pre-pregnancy size and lose pregnancy weight, especially off the thighs.
- Reduces mom’s risk of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer.
- Can provide natural birth spacing for the first six months (with exclusive breastfeeding and no return of menstrual periods).
- Breast milk tastes better and doesn’t stain. Breast milk poop doesn’t smell bad!
- Release of prolactin allows mother to relax.
- Nights are less stressful for both mother and baby.