Cartersville blogger creates support network for breastfeeding families
by Marie Nesmith
Jul 28, 2013 | 1452 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fueled by her personal challenges and triumphs, Jacky Souders is continuing to provide support to Bartow County’s breastfeeding community. Along with operating her blog, Mummie’s Nummies, the Cartersville resident also oversees a Big Latch On event in her hometown and a monthly support group called the Breastfeeding Circle.

“Mummie’s Nummies started off as a breastfeeding support blog that I created in 2010 following the birth of our second daughter,” Souders said. “She was born November of ’09. ... I had experienced breastfeeding setbacks — [so] I found my own tricks that kind of helped the issues that I was having, the issues that my girls were having in the past — so I thought maybe I could chronicalize it all and maybe if I helped one person [it would be worth it].

“[While I was breastfeeding] I [had] a very, very supportive husband, but that was, like, all I had. So I wanted to create a place where women could go who breastfed that maybe had the issues I did and didn’t know what to do. So I thought, ‘What better way [than to] write down the tricks I found that helped me?’ And then over the years it just kind of got bigger and bigger. So now we are a community ... in Bartow County, but I have readers worldwide as well.”

To promote World Breastfeeding Week, Souders is encouraging nursing mothers to participate in the United States’ synchronized Big Latch On event. On Aug. 2 and 3 at 10:30 a.m., The Big Latch On will be conducted at sites across the world. Created in 2005 by the Women’s Health Action as one component of World Breastfeeding Week, the Big Latch On initially was organized in New Zealand.

According to the World Health Organization’s website, www.who.int/, “World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is [6] months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to [2] years or beyond.”

In Cartersville, Souders’ gathering will be held Aug. 3 at LifeSong Montessori School, 324 W. Cherokee Ave., where mothers will join others around the world, breastfeeding their infants for one minute at 10:30 a.m. While Cartersville’s first two Big Latch On events featured about 27 breastfeeding women, last year’s gathering saw an increase in attendance by those who were supporting the participating mothers.

“This event will be my third one that I’ve done,” said Souders, adding the offering also will include door prizes, vendors, food and breastfeeding resources. “Every year that I’ve done it, even before that event ended, I had women coming up to me [asking], ‘Are you going to host this again next year? Please, can you host this again next year?’

“So there’s a need and it’s not just because it’s fun, but there’s a need for local support for breastfeeding families and moms so that they know, ‘I’m not alone in this.’ Doctors are great but sometimes it helps just to have someone who has just kind of been there and done that. So that’s [why I] keep coming back to host it year after year.”

For Cartersville resident Mallory Murphy, attending the synchronized nursing event and the monthly Breastfeeding Circle, which was formed after last year’s Big Latch On, is an uplifting, supportive experience.

“It’s really nice to be around other moms who also breastfeed, especially because I have an older daughter in the breastfeeding-world realm,” Murphy said. “She’s 20 months. No one else I know outside of that group nurse that long at all. So it’s nice to be around other moms who understand and who don’t think that you’re kind of weird.

“I think that it’s healthy for my daughter. Obviously, there’s some health benefits. It’s also a comfort for her because she nurses to sleep. ... I just don’t see why I would wean her when she’s not ready to be weaned. So it’s beneficial for both of us. It’s a great bond that we share.”

While Murphy leaned on her mother for breastfeeding advice initially, she said the Breastfeeding Circle is key for those who do not have a built-in support network.

“I have three other siblings and [my mother] nursed all of us, so she was a great support. But I know most people don’t have that and that’s why I think this is a great thing, a great way to get support, to know there’s other moms who will be there if no one else is there for you,” Murphy said. “I didn’t have very much trouble breastfeeding. It is hard in the beginning for everyone, no matter what, but as long as you have support, you’ll get through it. And you will be glad you did. I don’t think there’s anyone who’s not glad that they breastfed.”

Reaffirming Murphy’s comments, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health reveals how breastfeeding is beneficial to newborns and their mothers.

According to www.womenshealth.gov, “Breast milk fights disease — The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique; formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human breast milk. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula-fed babies also have higher risks of:

• Necrotizing (nek-roh-TEYE-zing) enterocolitis (en-TUR-oh-coh-lyt-iss), a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants.

• Lower respiratory infections

• Asthma

• Obesity

• Type 2 diabetes.

“Some research shows that breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and atopic dermatitis (a type of skin rash) in babies. Breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). ... Breastfeeding can be good for the mother’s health, too — Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health problems in women: 1. Type 2 diabetes; 2. Breast cancer; 3. Ovarian cancer; [and] 4. Postpartum depression.”

Due to the aforementioned benefits of breastfeeding, Souders believes it is important to provide several resources for nursing mothers. Along with assisting breastfeeding families, she also looks to further educate the community on the advantages of nursing.

“The breastfeeding moms, I hope that they gain the knowledge that there is a group here in town,” Souders said. “They’re not alone. They can go to somebody and just either vent or just say, ‘What do you think about this?’ I just want them to know that there is a support circle for breastfeeding moms. You don’t have to hide. Every year, there’s always something in the news, something negative, and a lot of times that will just push breastfeeding moms who aren’t very confident to kind of just go back into the shadows and that’s not where they should be. You shouldn’t feel like you have to hide.

“And then for the community, I just want the community to know ... the positive effects of breastfeeding, not just for the mom or just for the baby, but for the whole family. It’s a normal process and just because someone says that ‘you have to stop at nine months or 12 months’ [doesn’t mean you have to]. I call it the breastfeeding journey and the journey belongs to the mom and to the baby. So just go with your heart, go with the way you feel that your journey should go. You shouldn’t let other people tell you how to breastfeed. You shouldn’t let them rule your own journey.”

For more information about Souder’s blog, Breastfeeding Circle — which meets the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. — or The Big Latch On, visit www.mummiesnummies.com or www.facebook.com/mummiesnummiesblog.