Breastfeeding: The Traditional Way is a program whose goal is to improve the length of time a mother breastfeeds her baby for Native American women in Wisconsin. Breastfeeding was known as traditional, once openly accepted as the natural, healthy, and best way to feed and nurture our babies.

Modern society has changed many Tribal people’s thinking that bottles and artificial food known as “formula” is an acceptable way to feed our babies. This thinking has negatively affected the health and well-being of both mothers and their babies.

Mothers who breastfeed have lower rates of cancer, stronger bones, miss less work because their babies are healthier, and lose pregnancy weight faster. Babies who breastfeed have significantly reduced common health issues such as colds, ear infections, and digestion problems but also long term illness such as type 1 diabetes, celiacs, and Chrohn’s disease. There is also a reduced incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in breastfed babies.

The program seeks to bring back breastfeeding as the “The Traditional Way” by reminding families that mother’s milk is a gift from the Creator.

Activities include:
  •  establishing breastfeeding support groups, circles, text, social media
  •  conducting a culturally congruent promotional campaign
  •  hosting educational workshops and community events 
  •  promoting breastfeeding within families and Tribal worksite
  •  Offering Lactation Specialist training for workers in Tribal communities 

The program is proudly funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and was instrumental in forming “Native Breastfeeding Coalition of Wisconsin” which meets quarterly at different Tribal locations.

Breastfeeding: The Traditional Way services all eleven Tribes in the State: Bad River, Forest County Potowatomi, Ho-Chunk, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Menominee, Oneida, Red Cliff, Sokaogon, St. Croix, and Stockbridge Munsee.

Program Coordinator: Jennifer Ledferd 715-588-1091


Native Breastfeeding Coalition of Wisconsin

Northwoods BF Coalition

Wisconsin Breastfeeding Coalition


©2019 Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council INC.
2932 Highway 47 N.
P.O. Box 9
Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538
Phone: 715-588-3324
Fax: 715-588-7900

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