Air date: October 10, 2022
Studies have shown that a lack of breastfeeding support and education can act as a barrier to breastfeeding.
Many say it is important not only for mothers to be informed about breastfeeding, but also for their whole family, as it can make the experience better and more inclusive.
Dr. Amaka Nnamani, author of “Ziora’s Quest: Mommy’s Milk Rocks!”, pediatrician and breastfeeding coordinator for the Pennsylvania American Academy of Pediatrics, Amara Nnamani, co-author of the book, and Ola Nnamani, who inspired the creation of the book , joined us on Monday Smart talk to discuss their book and the importance of breastfeeding literacy for children.
Nnamani said most mothers start breastfeeding, but many stop when they reach the three to six month postpartum period. She said mothers face barriers to breastfeeding like racial disparities due to socioeconomic status, poor medical leave policies and lack of information. Nnamani said a child’s lack of knowledge about breastfeeding can also be a barrier.
“We know that if something is normalized for a child, they are more likely to do it,” Nnamani said. “But we know that in our culture, in this country, breastfeeding is not something that’s really normalized. It’s more normal to see a baby bottle-feeding and I’m writing this book to empower and educate not only our current moms and pregnant moms, but also our next generation of girls about the importance of breastfeeding.
The book follows a girl named Ziora as she explores the world of “Milky White”, with illustrations of moms and kids of color, and learns the true power and fun facts about breast milk.
Nnamani and her daughters are Nigerian and decided to give the main character a Nigerian name which means “teach the world”, which fits perfectly with their mission for the book, to teach the world about the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
Amara said their book is important because only a small portion of her friends know about breastfeeding.
“So judging from my school, I guess only 1 or 2 percent would actually know about breastfeeding,” Amara said. “My friends now know because I tell them. I honestly think if more people took the time and really thought about it, it could change a lot.
One of the things that Nnamani and Amara seek to change with this book is the narrative created by children around breastfeeding; so it’s not sexualized but normalized and embraced as part of how a mother supports her baby’s life.