What is Ecological Nurturing?
Read about our Ecological Nurturing for Perinatal and Planetary Health Awareness Campaign here.
I’m Mireya Tecpaxochitl Gonzalez, Founder and CEO of Chichihualtia (the Nahuatl word for breastfeeding). We’re a grassroots Indigenous controlled nonprofit perinatal and planetary community-health organization founded prior to the COVID-19 stay-at-home public health mandates in 2019. As a Purepécha and Nahua Indigenous first-generation Mexican-American community-health advocate and planetary-health activist, I have my distinct views on perinatal health equity and chest/breastfeeding.
As our food production and consumption patterns contribute more and more to climate crisis and environmental degradation every year, Chichihualtia advocates for the protection of Mother Earth and all of her precious resources and sacred sustenance (Karlsson,2019). This message extends to all mothers and birthing and lactating people, who nurture and feed the next generations through the sacred sustenance and habitat provided by the human body, in the womb during pregnancy and early parenting during Kangaroo Care and chest/breastfeeding. The ability for mothers and parents to provide complete nourishment and complete sustenance to their infants through chest/breastfeeding should not be undermined or discouraged (WHO, 2022).
Why is this important?
Not only does human milk provide all of the nutrients that a growing baby needs, including benefits that will last a lifetime, but human milk is also a sustainable food source. Exclusive and direct breast/chestfeeding for about 6 months mitigates the environmental and climatic impacts of food production (GIFA, 2021). Direct chest/breastfeeding is efficient in terms of reducing waste and saving water, energy and other resources (World Breastfeeding Week, 2020). Many are unaware that the production of artificial human milk substitutes or infant formula implies dairy farming that often puts pressure on natural resources and contributes to carbon emissions and climate crisis (GIFA, 2021). Many are also unaware that due to many systemic, social and environmental barriers, such as lack of access to skilled and culturally competent lactation support and education, or lack of chest/breastfeeding friendly environments in the community setting, many parents are initiating chest/breastfeeding but few are maintaining chest/breastfeeding long enough to meet personal and the national healthy people goals (USBC, 2022). The current CDC’s Breastfeeding Report Card demonstrates that although 84.1% of infants born in 2017 started breastfeeding, only 58.3% of infants were breastfeeding at six months, and 25.6% of infants were continuing to breastfeed exclusively at six months (CDC, 2021). This data exhibits a significant discrepancy between initiation rates and chest/breastfeeding exclusivity rates by six months postpartum.
We plan to help resolve these complex and multilayered environmental and perinatal health issues by providing an Indigenous-centered no-cost culturally competent chest/breastfeeding community clinic that is open to all and centers exclusive and prolonged chest/breastfeeding from an Indigenous point of view. We plan to further promote exclusive chest/breastfeeding as eco-friendly and essential for sustainable development because it meets all of the global sustainable goals and that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising future generations (WABA, 2019). We’ll also teach nutrition education to promote perinatal health and wellness during pregnancy and lactation and the introduction of solids or complementary foods when babies are about 6 months. As Indigenous farmers, we plan on promoting food justice and sovereignty, planetary health, and traditional sustainable food systems that preserve biodiversity in humanity and our planet. Help us help families restore ancestral attachments to traditional food systems that elevate human lactation and planetary health.
Protecting the Earth and all birthing and lactating people is a shared responsibility.
The interconnected nature of people and the planet requires community health action and solutions that benefit both, such as access to culturally competent chest/breastfeeding support, particularly among Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities and that are provided by BIPOC chest/breastfeeding peers, educators, specialists or consultants.
We can’t achieve climate justice and global/planetary health without improving perinatal health for all, especially among first-nation people, the original caretakers of the earth, and the first impacted by climate crisis and environmental disasters and injustices, and who continue to lack access to culturally competent and humble lactation health education, support and clinical care (World Bank, 2018). We know that a warm chain of support creates an enabling environment that empowers all parents to chest/breastfeed, and that together we can create a win-win situation for humanity and the planet (World Breastfeeding Week, 2020). The way we see it, ancestral food systems such as chest/breastfeeding and indigenous permaculture nurture the biodiversity that our planet and future generations need.
The health of our planet and humanity are interrelated.
Health begins with the harmony between earth and humanity; the fauna and flora of our earth’s soil and human microbiota.
Join us in uplifting traditional indigenous food systems that foster this harmony and optimal gut health, beginning with pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Through a matrilineal microbiome inherited during vaginal birth, immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin, and chest/breastfeeding we can help improve planetary and global health.
Help us provide culturally rooted lactation care, support and education to Indigenous identifying and historically marginalized communities by funding our projects or hosting our webinars on Eco-Lactation.
With your contribution, we can uplift chest/breastfeeding as eco-friendly, a facilitator of family and lineage resiliency, sacred first-food and disruptor of climate crisis.
You can help by hosting any of our informational presentations to help us raise the funding necessary to purchase an infant weight scale among other necessities required for hosting a monthly in-person no-cost cultural and eco-friendly lactation support gathering at our local parks.
Check out our available presentations on Ecological Nurturing below
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a collaboration.
Nurturing Sustainability, Collectivism, Relationships and Biodiversity with Ancestral Food Systems; Lessons from La Milpa and Human Lactation
After this presentation the audience will be able to:
Define the Mesoamerican Milpa food forest system
Describe the four advantages of La milpa in comparison to mono cropping
Identify the basic components of the human milk-making system as it relates to La Milpa
Identify the seven principles of the Ancestral Milpa and Human Lactation
Describe the importance of supporting grassroots lactation community/planetary health action
Lactating for a Healthier Planet
After this presentation the audience will be able to:
Identify 3 environmental health benefits of chest/breastfeeding
State how much water is used to produce one 35oz can of infant formula
State three reasons why restoring chest/breastfeeding alongside traditional ancestral foods is critical for the health of the earth and Indigenous people
La Leche Humana es Alimentación Sagrada y Sostenible
Despues de esta presentación la audiencia podrá
Describir los beneficios biológicos y ecológicos de dar pecho y de creser las comidas complimentarias para los bebés
Describir las conexiones culturales y ancestrales asociados con la tradición de amamantar desde la perspectiva Indígena-Cemanahuac
After this presentation the audience will be able to :
Describe the biological and ecological benefits of exclusive chest/breastfeeding and growing your own vegetables for making complementary/baby food
Describe the Cemanahuac-Indigenous cultural and ancestral connections associated with the tradition of chest/breastfeeding
Guardians of Lactation - Ancestral Chichihualtia
This is a community knowledge-share on Ancestral Lactation, our traditional care model and decolonial approach to lactation care in the community setting. Through our Guardians of Lactation framework, we demonstrate how to integrate Cemanahuac indigenous cultural teachings into lactation counseling and education for indigenous identifying, Chicanx, Hispanic, and Lantix communities seeking to restore ancestral cultural attachments to birth, lactation, and parenting. We use our framework to restore Ancestral Mesoamerican oral traditions in the teachings of lactation, including its physiology, anatomy, and sociological implications. This has been an ongoing anthropological and historical research project.
The ABC’s of Ancestral Lactation
Through the power of alliteration and spoken word, poet and lactivist Tecpaxochitl presents ancestral and radical perspectives to human lactation.