The Cherokee Nation held an open house May 4 for its new breastfeeding center. While the Cherokee Nation Women, Infants and Children program has been helping new and expectant mothers for several years, it now has it's own site in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
“We want our breastfeeding moms to feel special,” coordinator Brenda Carter told The Cherokee Phoenix. “They’ve chosen to breastfeed, and we want to make sure they have the support they need. That’s one of the big reasons for people to continue breastfeeding, the support.”
At the opening house, the Cherokee breastfeeding services group showed new and expecting moms where they can come for assistance, information and peer counseling from other breastfeeding mothers.
The center’s design aesthetic and environment create a calming atmosphere: neutral paint on the walls, photos of mothers and their babies and a nursing room with a rocking chair, ottoman, subdued lighting, mural of a tropical beach on the wall, calming music.
“The mural is another way of relaxing so that moms cannot feel tense,” WIC Nutrition Coordinator Pam Wedding said. “That’s counterproductive to the support. It’s a place with a comfortable chair where it doesn’t feel really clinical and medical.”
Read more on Indian Country Today Media Network about the surgeon general's push for new mothers to breast-feed, the health benefits of breastfeeding and about Native moms who have become breast-feeding advocates: Breast-feeding's Role in Taking Back Native Culture.