Yoselin: Reclaiming Latina Traditions in Breastfeeding and Birth

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My name is Yoselin, and I was born in Chicago to Mexican parents. Before I got pregnant, I never thought about pregnancy at all. I thought that the only option was to have babies in the hospital and breastfeeding was the best thing.

The more research I did, I realized that the birthing process is a natural process that the female body goes through and works together to alleviate the stress of giving birth. In our old traditions, we knew it to be true. I think breastfeeding and respecting our birth traditions is important in our Latino community, to keep them known for future generations.

To me, I believe breastfeeding is the best way to raise our children, whenever possible. Breastfeeding gives babies many antibodies that they need and are not born with. I always looked up to my family in terms of breastfeeding and birth. I would see my aunts breastfeeding their kids when I was a kid. They all gave birth vaginally and I just assumed that it was the only option.

By having other women sharing stories of why this is important, we can continue to preserve our traditions.

We have a lot of programs in our community – like the birth center – but people don’t know about it or don’t have time to go see it and learn about it because of their work or their families.

Birth is a beautiful and natural process. The way the female body works to push out another human being is very powerful. The strength it takes to give birth is amazing and every woman can do it because it is in our nature.

The words of wisdom I would give to another Latina sister and family about our birthing traditions and breastfeeding: Do as much as you can to breastfeed and have a natural labor. Sometimes it might seem like you just want to give up because it is too hard, but the hard part will pass quickly and the rest is easy. All you have to do is believe in yourself.

Thank you, Yoselin, for sharing your perspective as part of our 2017 Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month Series, “Reclaiming our Traditions on Breastfeeding and Birth / Reclamando Nuestras Tradiciones Sobre La Lactancia y El Parto.”