National WIC Association

Former WIC Participant Cashawna Shakir Discusses WIC's Breastfeeding Support

August 26, 2021

My name is Cashawna. I am a woman who has experienced two losses moments after giving natural birth, three miscarriages, and now a mother to a five-year-old.


My experiences inspired me to start a non-profit, The Momista, where we teach mindful and conscious parenting. Educating parents on how to interact with their children who may have developmental delays, sensory processing disorders, neuro or genetic diversities, or questions about general childhood development has become a huge passion.


I was in the WIC program for all my pregnancies. I first reached out to understand the proper nutrition for a growing baby and learned what to stay away from, and then soon afterward learned about the importance and impact of breastfeeding. I learned through my WIC program that breastfeeding provided nutrition, lowered risks of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and increased cognitive abilities in babies. Plus, we can’t forget that breast milk is always ready and at the right temperature for a hungry infant!


Even with the fantastic benefits, breastfeeding isn't always easy. My daughter had difficulty latching on. I went to a lactation specialist through my medical insurance and had WIC, and I still had trouble with her staying latched. My WIC program had an innovative way of teaching babies and pregnant mothers about breastfeeding called the Baby Café. The concept was to have the babies learn with other babies and bring mothers together to learn and socialize. All of us new moms would go to a park and breastfeed our babies together, creating bonding time with our babies and each other.


Overall, I would say that WIC has been a very positive experience in our life. Still, I wish the program offered more support for bereavement after someone loses a baby. Even though I did eventually get the support I needed for my breastfeeding and healthy pregnancy journeys, I know having that support could mean the world to other mothers out there. 


Follow Cashawna on Instagram @TheMomistaLife.