Simplified: It's World Breastfeeding Week. Sioux Falls Simplified talked to several women in town about how they're finding support and where they could use more help.

Why it matters

  • Supporting breastfeeding moms is a matter of public health, Avera lactation Barb Giles said. Breastmilk is a living organism, Giles added, and it's responsive to the baby's needs.
  • It's also time-consuming, hard work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months, with continued breastfeeding for the first two years of age or longer.
  • Largely, women in Sioux Falls say they feel supported in their breastfeeding journey. And, increasingly, they say they're comfortable feeding their children when and wherever they need to – including nursing in public.
"Don't let a nursing mother embarrass you because it's not embarrassing," Sioux Falls mother of two Megan Figueroa said. "I'm not trying to embarrass you. I'm trying to feed my child."

How moms are finding support

Eleanor Rahn has been either pregnant or nursing since January 2018. The mother of three isn't originally from Sioux Falls, so she knew when she had her first child she needed to find a way to build a "mom support network."

  • She found Sanford Health's free breastfeeding support groups, and has used them for all three of her kids. It's through that group that she's found most of her friends who are also moms.
"The Sioux Falls community is supportive," Rahn said. "I feel like when I do nurse (in public) you get that special smile from that mom or grandma."

Kristina Johnson is about four and a half months in to her breastfeeding journey, but she said she's felt very supported both out in public and while pumping at work.

"I have not had any negative experiences of people making comments or anything like that," she said.

What resources are available

Both Sanford and Avera have free resources for people who are breastfeeding.

Sanford Health lactation consultant Emily Quissell said as a former travel nurse, she's worked all over the United States. And the resources available here are among the best she's seen.

"I love that our moms come here and get empowered," Quissell said. "Their breastfeeding journey is so beautiful."

To find resources at Sanford, you can visit

  • To speak with a lactation consultant or postpartum nurse, call their lactation support hotline at 605-328-7120.

To find resources at Avera, visit

  • Avera also has a support line at 605-322-4490 or 605-322-1529.

What moms need

While the community has supports in place, there's still a long way to go to ensure breastfeeding moms have everything they need.

Amanda Fritz, mother of three, said with her first child she had a hard time finding support for pumping at work. And when she was uncomfortable nursing in public, she had a hard time finding a private, clean space to do so.

  • She felt like she didn't have permission to feed her baby in public and said she would leave or hide if she needed to do so.
"I've been in so many weird places and on gross floors with. my first baby," Fritz said.

Her mindset has shifted with her second and third baby, but she wishes she'd had more support earlier on with her first.

It can also be hard to find spaces to comfortably breastfeed in public, said Kelsey Buelow, Sioux Falls mother of two.

  • At parks, for example, there often aren't benches near the actual play structures, so it's tricky to keep an eye on her older daughter while feeding her youngest.

What lactation consultants want moms to know

Know your rights, Giles said.

  • There are federal protections in place for many – though not all – moms who need to pump at work, and there are also protections for teens who need to pump at school.

Additionally, most insurance companies will provide a free breast pump to moms.

And, finally, help is out there.

"They’re not alone," Quissell said. "They're doing a wonderful thing by providing their babies with breastmilk, and we are here to support them."