2018-08-10 / Front Page

FREEDOM TO FEED

Breastfeeding Week promotes awareness
Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Fort Gordon Family Advocacy Program social worker, James Jenkins Jr., hands a balloon to 1-year-old Andy Traxler and his mom, Ashley, with family friend Amira Yohannes, 5, in the middle. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Fort Gordon Family Advocacy Program social worker, James Jenkins Jr., hands a balloon to 1-year-old Andy Traxler and his mom, Ashley, with family friend Amira Yohannes, 5, in the middle. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Breastfeeding is healthy, it is natural, and its benefits are aplenty, yet sometimes it ends up being the center of controversy. And as far as Ambili Alamery is concerned, so long as people are talking about it, a little debating is OK.

Fort Gordon’s New Parent Support Program teamed up with the CSRA Breastfeeding Coalition to promote breastfeeding awareness to the Fort Gordon community at the Exchange Food Court on Aug. 2 during lunch.

The event was held in observation of World Breastfeeding Week, which is organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and runs each year from Aug. 1-7. The organization is committed to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding around the world.


Kimberly Solis ties a balloon around her daughter Felicity’s wrist while sister Autumn looks on. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Kimberly Solis ties a balloon around her daughter Felicity’s wrist while sister Autumn looks on. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Alamery, LCSW, at NPSP, believes that one of the most significant steps toward achieving those objectives is to talk about them.

“We want to start conversations with people,” Alamery said. “There’s still a lot of discomfort – especially around breastfeeding in public, so we want to keep the conversation going.”

Having a presence at the Exchange afforded Alamery and fellow breastfeeding advocates an opportunity to do outreach in a way that was fun and engaging. NPSP and the CSRA Breastfeeding Coalition had a table display filled with information pamphlets, giveaways, and a wheel that patrons were invited to spin for a chance to win prizes. Alamery and staff were available to answer questions and offer support for breastfeeding families. The spectacle was a welcoming sight for mothers Ashley Traxler and Kimberly Solis, who believe breastfeeding should never be shunned.

Traxler, mom to 1-year-old Andy, said she used to feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public because her son would try to take off her nursing cover. Thanks to support she found within NPSP, Traxler no longer concerns herself with others’ discontent towards openly nursing in public.

“I can’t stand when people say, ‘why don’t you just use a cover?’” Traxler said. “You just don’t get it until you’re going through it.”

Solis said she only recently weened her 2-year-old daughter from breastfeeding. Solis received support from NPSP while her daughter was still in the womb. Currently 34-weeks pregnant, she turned to NPSP for support and with high hopes of making it through another two years of breastfeeding with her next child.

“I like that with the support group, I don’t have to worry about anything,” Solis said. “Anything that seems strange isn’t strange at support group, and they normalize breastfeeding.”

No woman should be embarrassed or feel the need to hide breastfeeding, Alamery said. And even though society has made great strides in accepting it, people have a long way to go. Alamery stills gets feedback from moms saying that people tell them to cover up.

“I think that speaks to peoples’ level of discomfort, and we really see it as just an opportunity for conversation and education,” she said.

Alamery has a few words of advice for anyone who feels uncomfortable around breastfeeding mothers: yourself in the mother’s position.

“At the end of the day, moms are just trying to feed their babies,” she said. “Trying to put them in a bathroom to do it or trying to put them in sort of a hidden space I think is kind of as ridiculous as you trying to eat in a bathroom stall.”

For all the moms who struggle with breastfeeding, expectant mothers who plan to breastfeed, and those simply curious about breastfeeding, Alamery encourages them to drop in to the NPSP Breastfeeding Support Group, held every third Tuesday of the month, from 1-3 p.m., at the Family Outreach Center.

“I probably wouldn’t still be breastfeeding if it weren’t for the women I’ve met at the breastfeeding group, because when you’re in the midst of the hard stuff at first, you don’t know that’s going to get better unless you talk to someone,” Traxler said.

Return to top