Earlier today, I received an email asking for some assistance for a local unwed teen mother. The first thing I noticed about the post was that the mother was needing bottles, formula, and coupons for formula. This saddened me. Not only is breast milk the BEST food for a baby, it will help the teenage mother ward off ailments, unwanted weight, and assist with bonding–among many other good consequences. Additionally, if a teen mother is already feeling the heavy weight of monetarily caring for a newborn, infant, and beyond, breastfeeding the baby for even a few months will result in significant savings.
A common misconception is that government aid programs, such as WIC, will only help pay for formula. This is not true. WIC now factors in the benefits of breastfeeding and compensates with additional vouchers for healthy, fresh food for the mom to nourish her baby with breast milk.
I answered the email with an offer to visit the expectant mother and donate to her a breastfeeding class, assist with breastfeeding, or at least talk to her about the benefits of breastfeeding. I do hope she will consider the offer.
As a result, I began thinking, “What if every teen mother had the opportunity to have a lactation consultant, breastfeeding counselor, or doula, midwife, experienced breastfeeding mother discuss with her the benefits of breastfeeding and offer support?” What kind of savings would we see with mother and child at healthy weights, passing on antibodies and immunity, foregoing formula and bottle costs, less illness, deeper bonding, etc.?
Therefore, as my schedule allows, I will now be offering free help and support for any local teenage mothers expecting a baby. I am not a certified International Lactation Consultant, but I am a breastfeeding counselor, a doula, and childbirth educator with a decade of experience. I can be contacted by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone would also like to help with this project, please contact me and we can network a way to really make a difference in our community.
Babies deserve breast milk. Teenage mothers deserve support.