Medela Moments Moms Behind the Scenes at Donor Milk Screenings
Answering a call for volunteers on Medela’s Facebook page, Medela Moms, Gaby Calvalcanti of Seattle, WA and Whitney Canales, of Olympia came out to take professional photographs at Medela’s recent screenings of Donor Milk: the Documentary. Meet the mom-photographers.
Both breastfeeding mothers, Gaby and Whitney felt strongly about the film and offered their photography services.
Whitney Canales is currently nursing her daughter Austen Rose, who is 11 months old. Whitney was moved by the film and has expressed an interest in donating milk herself. She was thrilled to be able to support the screening with photography services. In her community, she said, breastfeeding is very common and she was pleased other women could be encouraged by seeing babies of all ages being breastfeed openly.
When preparing to breastfeed her children, Whitney said she looked to her own mother, who breastfed her children, the longest for 2 ½ years. “She was the biggest influence on me,” Whitney recalls. “I remember my sister being breastfed; now she is 14 years old.”
One of Whitney’s friends who was expecting gave her some surprising advice; she told her that breastfeeding, though natural, sometimes doesn’t come that easily and she offered books Whitney could read as well as ongoing counsel. “It was good to always have her as a trusted friend and resource if I needed help.”
Gaby Cavalcanti is currently nursing 1 year old daughter, Amanda, but her first experience with breastfeeding was very challenging. She wanted to breastfeed her first daughter, Bianca, right away but while she did well that first day, after that she stopped. Gaby considered giving her daughter formula, but decided she would just pump because she felt that strongly that breastmilk was best for her baby. She continued to try feeding her daughter at breast, but unsuccessfully. She worked with multiple lactation consultants, and then after 3 ½ months she was able to establish a latch and breastfeed successfully. Gaby was persistent and did not give up on her goal of breastfeeding. During the most difficult times, her husband Daniel was a pillar of support for her.
“I continued to pump when I went back to work, but pumping during those early weeks allowed me to fulfill a dream of breastfeeding my baby. She was exclusively breastfed to 14 months”.
Gaby feels strongly about the benefits of breastmilk for the benefit of children’s health and feels that in the US, “…we still have a ways to go before breastfeeding is culturally well-accepted.” She also feels that if people really understood the benefits of human milk, there would be more than acceptance of breastfeeding, but an appreciation for it.
Medela would like to thank both Gaby and Whitney for donating their photography for these recent screenings. Another screening of Donor Milk: the Documentary will be held in Madison, Mississippi on Thursday, October 4, 2012. More details here.