While breastfeeding seems to be an instinctual act, many first-time moms are surprised at the challenges that accompany it. One inspiring woman successfully utilizes music to teach new mothers how to breastfeed.
Tanefer Camara is well versed in breastfeeding. As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and breastfeeding advocate, Tanefer taught many women how to breastfeed. While she was successful at teaching one-on-one, she began to shine while teaching breastfeeding classes to groups of women at WIC. Noticing the difference that she was making in the lives of mothers and babies, Tanefer wondered how she could reach even more women.
It was then that she wrote the lyrics to “Teach Me How to Breastfeed.” A play on Cali Swag District’s “Teach me How to Dougie,” Tanefer amazingly fit an entire breastfeeding class into a three-minute rap song.
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“Teach me How to Breastfeed” is filled with evidence-based breastfeeding tips. From the topics of colostrum to baby’s first poop, this song covers it all. Tanefer’s lyrics even dispel some breastfeeding myths, teaching that the size of the breast does not impact milk production.
“If he’s on right, it shouldn’t hurt you.
Don’t worry if the other side squirts too.
When you feed her, don’t watch the clock,
Cuz Baby girl knows just when to stop.”
Tanefer is no stranger to breastfeeding struggles. Upon having her first child, she experienced firsthand the difficulties that arise when learning how to nurse a new baby. Tanefer created the video to tell a story and to challenge the negative perceptions that sometimes surround breastfeeding. Her goal was to empower women and to challenge the objectification of women’s bodies and sexualization of the breast.
For Tanefer, “Teach me How to Breastfeed” is so much more than a song, it’s her gift to the world. Understanding the health disparities and low rates of breastfeeding that impact the African-American community, Tanefer felt a calling to help.
“People in my family and community had high rates of diabetes, asthma, obesity, heart disease, and infant mortality, just to name a few. When I found out that breastfeeding was a preventative and protective factor, I knew that this is what I was called to do. In my studies, I learned that Black women had low breastfeeding rates. I set a goal to change that, to impact my community and the world. Teach me how to breastfeed was my gift to the world,” Tanefer told Mothering.
With close to 1.7 million views on YouTube, the response to “Teach Me How to Breastfeed” has been astounding. The video has been viewed globally by women as far as Europe and South Africa. Hospitals, doctor’s office, and WIC offices regularly utilize “Teach Me How to Breastfeed” to assist in their breastfeeding education efforts.
“I’ve had mothers say that they are breastfeeding because they saw my video. I have had women message me on social media and tell me how the video helped them to get through the tough times. One day I had a whole family dancing to the song. I’ve even had Fathers reach out to me to tell me how much they learned from the song and that they were able to teach their partners,” Tanefer said.
The project had no funding, but with the help of videographers Paola Laverde and Colin Franklin, Tanefer was able to make it happen. “We had no money and no budget. Just a song, community, and a whole lot of love.”
Photo Credit: Teach Me How to Breastfeed