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Breastfeeding at Essence Fest? Join NOLA’s Nurse Nikki at the ‘Nursing Nook’ in the Convention Center.

Written by  IntheNOLA.com
For the second year, Essence Festival and Nurse Nikki Hunter Grenaway of Nurse Nikki Family and Maternity Services, along with Healthy Start New Orleans (HSNO), ROSE (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere), and WIC, have teamed up to provide the Nursing Nook, a safe, quiet, and clean place for mothers and their babies inside the Convention Center.
 
A certified family nurse practitioner and lactation counselor, Nurse Nikki opened Nurse Nikki Family and Maternity Services five years ago. “Nurse Nikki LLC was only supposed to be a side gig, but soon after having my first child in 2012 and experiencing postpartum depression, I noticed the lack of postpartum health services, especially lactation services available to new moms,” explained Nurse Nikki. “From that, Nurse Nikki Family and Maternity Services was born. I am able to provide prenatal, postpartum and lactation home visits, and childbirth education and parent CPR classes.”
As our editor has detailed in her column Musings of First Time NOLA Mom: Babies and boobies and The reality of post-partum depression, breastfeeding and living life with a newborn ain’t easy!

“I don’t think people truly understand the world of breastfeeding until they actually experience it,” Nurse Nikki said. “It’s hard! Despite popular belief, it doesn’t always come naturally. It takes work and patience and above all support. The flip side is that breastfeeding is one of the most awesome and rewarding experiences a mom will have.”
 
She continued, “I tell mothers that their worth is not measured by how many ounces they produce or how many months they nurse. Successful breastfeeding is more than just latch and production. There are two key ingredients for successful breastfeeding: patience and support. I encourage moms to talk to their partners, parents, friends, etc. about their decision to breastfeeding prior to birth. Everyone needs to be on team breastfeeding, so when mom gets down and discouraged, she can turn to her positive support team and they can lift her up and possibly get her the help she needs.” 
 
Whereas we see breastfeeding becoming more and more normal (depending on the day actually!), in the black community, there still seems to be a ways to go. “It is super-important that we normalize breastfeeding in the black community and the community at large. Our young moms, teenage boys, and children need to see black women breastfeeding. We need to move away from sexualizing our breasts and instead explain to our children, and especially our teens, what breasts are really for.” 
 
Nurse Nikki added, “In fact, there is an entire generation of people, and not just black people, who were not breastfed. My sister friend, Latona Giwa, the cofounder of Birthmark Doulas and fellow mama and lactation counselor, and I started a breastfeeding support group for women of color called Café au Lait, which meets at the Rosa Keller Community Center (4300 S. Broad Ave.) twice a month. Our mission is to provide a culturally appropriate environment where pregnant and nursing women of color can encourage, embrace, and educate each other.” 
 
Nurse Nikki, HSNO, ROSE, and WIC are excited to be able to provide the Nursing Nook to mothers during the Essence Festival weekend. If you’re looking for “a clean, comfortable space in the Convention Center to nurse, change diapers, and relax with your babies and small children at the festival,” be sure to stop by the Nursing Nook located in Hall F: Booths 301, 303, and 400!
Last modified on Wednesday, 29 June 2016
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