Breastfeeding Symposium: Experiences of Immigrant Women

Norma Escobar, La Leche League Leader, Wilmington, NC
Experiences of Latin American Immigrant Women*

Language barriers: many of the immigrant women are not fluent in English, and are scared and alone without interpretation

Barriers to breastfeeding for immigrant women:

  • Breasts are seen as functional in Latin America and public breastfeeding is not stigmatized. (In the US, breasts are seen as sexual)
  • Mandatory breastfeeding time (one hour) from employers in Latin America. (Nothing like this mandated in the US)
  • In Mexico, there are no free supplies or direct advertising to consumers. (Here both these things are rampant)
  • First feedings are at the breast in Latin America. (In the US, it is with bottles, the formula bottles come with the nursery cart)
  • Breastfeeding duration is more extended in Latin America. (In the US, it is much shorter)
  • Birth considered a normal life cycle event in Latin America. (In the US, it is considered dangerous)
  • Breastfeeding considered safest in L.A. (Here, considered risky)
  • Breastfeeding as a woman and child’s right. (Here, a choice)
  • Fear as a deterrent in the United States–a real fear, exacerbated by recent immigration raids

*Note: I’m really happy to hear about the experiences of immigrant women, which has so far been absent from the discussions.


Add your two cents

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s