Amanda’s work for CHAMPS intertwines with her work as Chair of NNBC. She visits communities within Navajo Nation, assesses their needs, spreads the word about NNBC, and connects families to breastfeeding resources. Now that all Indian Health Service and tribal hospitals within Navajo Nation are Baby-Friendly, Amanda’s main focuses are sustaining Baby-Friendly practices and building collaborations/a referral system between hospitals and community organizations to increase breastfeeding duration (Step 10 of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding). Her goal is to ensure families have contact with a WIC peer counselor or other support service a few days post discharge. Breastfeeding initiation rates are currently high in Navajo Nation, but at 2 weeks duration begins to drop.
When asked what dreams Amanda has for future changes related to breastfeeding in Navajo Nation, Amanda replied: “That’s a good one. I have a lot.” These dreams include: starting a breastfeeding peer counselor program not affiliated with WIC in order to increase the number of peer counselors (WIC only has 2 for all of Navajo Nation); making NNBC into a 501c3 and increasing its size so that it can support positions that are paid full- or part-time; creating a fatherhood program; and “more than anything”—transforming Navajo Nation into a breastfeeding-friendly community, which could include the elderly receiving education to become breastfeeding supporters and where “everyone works with each other for the benefit of babies.” Amanda is currently looking at the New Zealand model, which is interesting to her in part because it includes aboriginal people.
Amanda’s experiences as a WIC peer counselor motivate her to advocate for breastfeeding mothers. Amanda shares, “Some moms would be crying or on the brink of quitting because they didn’t have support. Navajo moms are quiet and don’t speak out because of issues. I would end up crying with them. I know how they felt. I breastfed my own 4 babies and have had my own hardships with breastfeeding. Support was at the hospital and at home I had no support. I want to be a voice for breastfeeding moms.”