( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Using Years of Experience and Wholehearted Approaches Milky Mama LLC Strives for a Progressive Well-Aided Breastfeeding Accepting World
ENSPIRE Contributor: Aishwarya Suresh
Krystal Duhaney, a Registered Nurse, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and mother of two, knew after her first child that breastfeeding difficulties were a reality that could be helped. Her own hardships with the process created a drive to help ease the discomfort felt by breastfeeding and pumping parents everywhere. It began with a recipe for milk production supporting, all-natural, cookies. After seeing the positive effects these helpful treats had for herself, the next step was to get them to other mothers who needed a boost. What started as initial ingredients for lactation treats became the foundation of Duhaney’s company Milky Mama LLC.
Since 2015 Milky Mama LLC has provided consulting services, a breastfeeding course, and a helpful advice blog alongside their breastfeeding baked goods and drinks. Parents can also stay up-to-date on Facebook and Instagram where Milky Mama LLC maintains a feed full of relevant and reliable content along with weekly live Q&A sessions with Duhaney herself. Over 27,000 mothers have found a sanctuary within the Lactation Support Facebook Group and renewed confidence every month with informational emails and certificates that build a strong sense of community and celebration at every point of their breastfeeding education.
The unfortunate truth is that many mothers face evident and passive social pressures to limit their preferred breastfeeding duration to whatever is acceptable to those around them. Peers, colleagues, employers, healthcare providers, and family members intentionally, or unknowingly, influence parents to make decisions counterintuitive to their personal choices. Black mothers specifically breastfeed the least, compared to any other race in the United States.
“In 2015, only 64.3% of black infants were breastfed compared to 86.6% of white infants that were breastfed, and 82.9% of Hispanic infants were breastfed. Additionally, studies show that Black infants are more likely to be offered and fed formula in the hospital after birth than any other race,” Duhaney explains. The obvious extreme differences in percentage are worrying, also when compared to the lack of adequate resources and educational support that is grounded emphatically in understanding the realities Black parents face during prenatal development and parenting.
Duhaney sees Milk Mama LLC stepping in to reduce the gap; by normalizing early breastfeeding education during prenatal visits. By upholding breastfeeding benefits and alleviating the stress and dolor that may come with it, breastfeeding and lactation support initiatives can create a larger widespread community of breastfeeding advocates who can actively dispel taboos of public breastfeeding.
Duhaney understands that carrying numerous different hats as a mother, especially a Black mother, does not always leave time for active prenatal and parenting training. Even the thought of undergoing searches for resources that align with the support Black mothers need, during a time of heightened anxiousness already, may feel like too much to balance. Duhaney has three main pieces of advice for any mother trying to understand what support they could have.
Firstly, “take a breastfeeding course during your pregnancy to help prepare you for your upcoming breastfeeding journey.” Secondly, “it can also be beneficial to get a prenatal lactation consultation with a lactation consultant. Lastly, “find a support group, either in-person or virtually, to build a network of support from your peers.” Milky Mama LLC and Duhaney’s professional and personal expertise is here for you in every one of those ways. No matter where you are in your journey now, it is never too late to seek out a caring and understanding network of parents and trained professionals made wiser through similar shared breastfeeding and parenting experiences.