Preserving our Breastfeeding and Birth Traditions

–> En Español <–

Hi. My name is Ambar Rivera and I am the mother of 3 boys, Amílcar who passed away at 6 weeks old, Lucas who is now 3 years old and Joaquín, my 6 month old. A birth and bereavement doula, childbirth educator, placenta encapsulator, babywearing consultant, Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA) Leader, La Leche League Leader and breastfeeding advocate, I am the creator of Holistic Birth Partner, I’m also a wife and live happily with my husband and two kids in San Germán, Puerto Rico.

I am Puerto Rican, born, raised, still living here and enjoying it. I identify myself as Hispanic, Latina and more specifically, Afro-Caribbean. I love having a strong culture with a diverse [ethnic] background.

My commitment to reclaim our breastfeeding and birth traditions came instinctively with my first pregnancy back in 2014. I didn’t know why or even how, I just felt very connected to my roots. I ended up having a homebirth and was able to exclusively breastfeed my baby.

Reclaiming breastfeeding and birth traditions is particularly important to me because this is our legacy to future generations. It has already been enough of raising our children without attachment, raising generations without breastfeeding. Young Hispanic, Latino kids need to know that birth is POWERFUL, that breastfeeding is POSSIBLE. We need to represent and model that for them so that they can do it too.

We can continue to preserve breastfeeding and birth traditions by not only reclaiming them but also by TALKING about them. Let’s have conversations about our roots, about how transcendental birth is in our community, and the strong bond we form with our babies when we breastfeed them.

Let’s have conversations about our roots, about how transcendental birth is in our community, and the strong bond we form with our babies when we breastfeed them. ~ Ambar Rivera Click To Tweet

An area of supporting our breastfeeding and birth traditions that is being overlooked is one-on-one support. We can empower women with our processes. Even if we end up not meeting our goals because of any reason, we can talk about it so that others can learn from that.

Words of wisdom and encouragement that I would give a fellow Latina sister and her family about reclaiming our breastfeeding and birth traditions is that SHE CAN DO IT. WE CAN DO IT. She can have the birth of her dreams. She can meet whatever breastfeeding milestone she sets for herself.

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Thank you, Ambar, for sharing your perspective as part of the Birth Equity Leadership Academy‘s 2018 Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month Series, “Reclaiming our Traditions on Breastfeeding and Birth / Reclamando Nuestras Tradiciones Sobre La Lactancia y El Parto.”