For mothers who are nursing, breastfeeding quickly becomes a normal part of the daily routine. No matter how frantic the day may be, many mothers understand that breastfeeding is critical to the wellbeing of their child.

To babies, breastmilk is just a delicious delicacy. However, breastmilk is much more than that. It contains an abundant source of healthy vitamins and nutrients that help them fight off viruses and infections. Breastmilk also increases babies’ chances of maintaining a healthy weight and decreases the risk of obesity throughout their lifespans.

Healthy Active Arkansas’s (HAA) breastfeeding initiative is designed to encourage breastfeeding, as its benefits are plentiful, and to support mothers who are nursing. In addition, the initiative seeks to normalize breastfeeding and does so by advocating for community and public spaces for mothers to express milk, encouraging the adoption of more baby-friendly hospitals, and developing culturally relevant campaigns to raise awareness of laws that eliminate barriers and promote the right to breastfeed.

Supporting mothers who breastfeed, especially those who work, can make a world of difference in how they perform their tasks and view their environments. ShaRhonda Love, director of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission and HAA board member, recalls when she returned to work after giving birth to her first child.

“When I had my child eight years ago and I had to come back to work, I got to work with a sign on my door…that said “breastfeeding environment”…, so everybody knew when I came in and I shut my door to my office, I was going to be there breastfeeding. That was just a relief for me,” she said. Every mother should receive the same support. Learn more about how you can assist in HAA’s efforts to provide safe and welcoming environments for nursing mothers, and mothers to be, across the state.

By Brittany Desmuke, MA
Arkansas Minority Health Commission