Tag Archives | African American

Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association: Narrowing the Disparity Gap

By Anjanette Davenport Hatter, BMBFA President

On May 24, 2013, Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) held our 4th National Seminar, Innovations in Breastfeeding Support in Detroit, MI, USA. The Seminar consisted of a plenary address, keynote speaker and lecture sessions from some of the most notable experts in the field of lactation. Topics were directed toward maternal-child healthcare professionals on innovative solutions that address the cultural road blocks in breastfeeding support.

seminar presenter bmbfa founding directorThe Seminar began with Beth Eggleston MS, RD of Michigan Department of Community Health offering the plenary address where current breastfeeding rates in Michigan were shared and a lively discussion was held about why disparities exist. The information provided about Baby-Friendly Hospitals was particularly interesting as it not only described the 10 steps to achieving Baby-Friendly designation but also explored realistic strategies to eliminate barriers presented by hospital administration as well as mothers of newborns. Allison Benjamin RN, IBCLC of Harlem Hospital (retired), described her instrumental role in assisting Harlem Hospital in becoming the first Hospital in New York City to receive the distinguished Baby-Friendly designation. While breastfeeding provisions are still a work in progress, Leila Abolfazli, J.D., of Washington, DC, shared that the Affordable Care Act offers insurance coverage to breastfeeding mothers for services such as breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling. Interestingly enough, breast milk is being viewed as preventive healthcare according to Leila. BMBFA’s Founding Director, Kiddada Green, M.A.T., of Detroit, MI, shared strategies necessary to organize and sustain a breastfeeding support group using a model that has proven successful as it has expanded its reach throughout the Detroit area. Other strategies for sustaining community based breastfeeding support suggested by Sade Moonsammy-Gray, B.A. and Kathleen Logan, RN, CPNG, IBCLC of Community of Hope Family Healing and Birthing Center, Washington, D.C. included education, self-efficacy and empowerment of breastfeeding mothers while utilizing evidence based interventions. Dr. Paula Schreck of St. John Mother Nurture Project in Detroit, MI, offered valuable insight into community based breastfeeding support as she compared and contrasted the Mother Nurture Project with traditional hospital-based programs. Dr. Schreck facilitated the first Physician led outpatient breastfeeding clinic in Michigan. I can’t wait to begin planning next year’s seminar. I’m sure it will be yet another stellar opportunity to provide education and resources to breastfeeding professionals.

community partner st. john mother nurture projectI’m excited to report that BMBFA has made significant progress in our efforts to support breastfeeding mothers and healthcare professionals in our community. We have increased our breastfeeding clubs from once monthly to four times per month with various times and locations throughout the city of Detroit. This expansion has enabled us to reach a far greater target population and minimized barriers to our mothers receiving necessary support. How awesome is that!

breastfeeding club mtgAnother area of significant progress is our breastfeeding peer counselor program. We recently graduated 11 women who have completed a rigorous curriculum assisted by Health Connect One, which has enabled them to provide breastfeeding counseling to women in the Detroit area with hopes of increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. Surely this will help our mothers by overcoming obstacles that may otherwise lead to breastfeeding cessation.

bmbfa bf peer counselorsWe have formed amazing relationships in the community with those who share our enthusiasm and passion in which reciprocal support is provided to breastfeeding mothers and public health professionals. These relationships include Neighborhood Service Organization Harper Gratiot Service Center, Wayne CHAP (Children Healthcare Access Program), WIN (Women Inspired Neighborhood) Network, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Focus Hope and First Beat. Our relationship with the St. John Mother Nurture Project has flourished as we forge our efforts to diversify Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) in the state of Michigan. The Michigan Department of Community Health awarded BMBFA a $117,000 grant to supplement our work to eliminate breastfeeding disparities.

bmbfa board.founding directorBMBFA has also received a $400,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The funds will be used to strengthen organizational capacity by building management systems, expanding existing programs and developing new programs, leading to sustainable growth to improve the quality of life for vulnerable, poverty stricken children, while causing social change for the greater good.
BMBFA’s community approach to breastfeeding support has been deemed innovative due to its explicit focus on narrowing the disparity gap that exists in breastfeeding rates.  In Michigan, only 50.9 percent of black children ever receive breast milk as compared to 68.5 percent of white children. Strengthening BMBFA’s infrastructure will lead to long-term increases in breastfeeding rates and work to create a monumental social impact that restores the emotional, psychological and physical health of the Detroit community.

We are looking forward to following our passion and doing incredible work in our community as we continue to answer the US Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Please visit our website at bmbfa.org to learn more about our breastfeeding programs and services. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Anjanette Davenport HatterAnjanette Davenport Hatter is the President of the Board of Director’s for Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. Mrs. Davenport Hatter has dedicated her time to eliminate breastfeeding disparities for African American families. She understands how breast-milk decreases the risk factors for developing chronic diseases and has worked extensively with organizations such as Gift of Life MOTTEP, National Kidney Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Her tireless efforts in working to improve health outcomes in her community has led to her nominations for the WEGO Health Activist  Award and the National Advisory Council on Maternal, Infant and Fetal Nutrition-Breastfeeding  Promotion. Mrs. Davenport Hatter holds Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University. She is a dedicated wife, mother and social worker.

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Reducing the Breastfeeding Disparities Among African American Women: A Commentary from ROSE, Inc.

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc. (ROSE) seeks to enhance, encourage, support, and promote breastfeeding throughout the USA, by working to reduce the breastfeeding disparities among African American women. We also seek to strengthen the health of their families through, mentoring, breastfeeding support groups, social support, outreach, education, health policies and social marketing. ROSE works with national groups to strengthen local groups that serve African Americans who breastfeed.

It is our understanding that a storm is brewing in the lactation community among International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and the several other lactation certifying organizations to gain the title of grand matron of the breastfeeding world. The African American community needs all the breastfeeding management assistance we can get in order to overcome the breastfeeding disparities in our community. ROSE is grateful for the work that you all do. We understand that breastfeeding promotion is not enough. To be successful, mothers may need hours of skilled help that is provided when needed. We are of the position that there is a need for several levels of lactation managers. There is a need for the novice, the beginner, the intermediate and the expert lactation specialist. We are of the position that EVERY informed person can help a mother to breastfeed. We are in NEED of every advocate who wishes to be involved with lactation management, to be applauded and welcomed to the table of breastfeeding protection. Everyone does not NEED a cardiologist. Everyone does not need a specialist. However, when a specialist is needed, it is wonderful to be able to refer to the IBCLC.

Becoming and maintaining the designation as an IBCLC is a complicated and expensive process. Many of us, concerned with addressing the disparities of breastfeeding in the African American community do not have the luxury of the time that it takes nor the necessary funds to be involved in this complicated process. This is what we have been told by African American health care providers and community organizers as we travel. That some sort of designation is important for the provider of direct lactation services in the hospital, is an underlying theme. We are of the firm belief that EVERY person, that has contact with and cares for mothers and babies in the hospital, should be trained to assist mothers in the hospital with skin to skin, latch and pumping when necessary. Our goal is to have every African American woman who has successfully breastfed a baby help another African American woman breastfeed her baby. Most of these women will never be an IBCLC.

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, Inc. recently coordinated a Breastfeeding Summit which involved African American healthcare providers, community advocates, organizations, and government representatives from throughout the United States. We came together to ponder, discuss and debate the breastfeeding disparities in the African American community. We also celebrated. We celebrated the many accomplishments of the breastfeeding advocates that were gathered. This was an African American “Dream Team” of breastfeeding experts. There were 49 persons who assisted with the planning and execution of the summit. Three were African American IBCLC’s. Ten were African American CLC’s. All were experts at what they brought to the table to assist African American women breastfeed their babies.

Discussions during the Summit included: reforming healthcare through breastfeeding, exemplary lactation projects, consulting with doctors on effective initiatives, samples of breastfeeding support programs, saving our babies, reclaiming our breastfeeding experience, a continuum of care from the hospital to the neighborhood which featured primary care, hospital, community and public health and bridging the gap on breastfeeding disparities. These were the concerns of the experts on the planning committee. They were confirmed to be significant issues in our community by those in attendance. The raging debate about what certifying body should reign supreme in lactation management cannot distract us as we seek to save our babies. We could, however use your help with special situations when the occasion arises. ROSE will continue to be about the business of increasing initiation rates and duration rates of breastfeeding in the African American community.

You may contact ROSE, Inc. by sending email to BreastfeedingRose@gmail.com or visiting their website at BreastfeedingRose.org.

Kimarie Bugg MSN, MPH, is President and CEO of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere Inc. (ROSE), a nonprofit developed to decrease breastfeeding disparities in the African American community. ROSE’s mission is to train African American healthcare providers and community organizations to provide culturally competent encouragement and support so that African American mothers may begin to breastfeed at higher rates and sustain their breastfeeding experience to match the goals expected by the Surgeon General of the United States. Kim has been a bedside breastfeeding counselor in a large metropolitan hospital, managed perinatal and breastfeeding projects and programs at the state level, and has served as a technical advisor to Best Start, as well as for the US Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Kim was a founding member and officer of Georgia breastfeeding task force (coalition) and SEILCA. Kim was trained at Wellstart International and has traveled throughout the United States and several foreign countries training healthcare professionals to manage lactation. Kim previously worked for Emory University, school of medicine, department of pediatrics as a nurse practitioner. She also provides the training for Georgia’s WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, a proud position held since 2005. Kim is married to Dr. George Bugg Jr, a neonatologist and they have five breastfed children.

Mary Nicholson Jackson, CLC, works in a large urban hospital as a breastfeeding consultant and is the co-president of the Georgia State Breastfeeding coalition. Mary is Vice President of ROSE She is on numerous committees and task forces that address breastfeeding and lactation management in the community. She previously worked with Healthy Mother, Healthy Babies of Georgia. Mary is married and the mother of three adult children. She has three grandchildren.

Betty Neal, R.N., MSN, is a founding member of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere Inc. (ROSE), a nonprofit developed to decrease breastfeeding disparities in the African American community. ROSE’s mission is to train African American healthcare providers and community organizations to provide culturally competent encouragement and support so that African American mothers may begin to breastfeed at higher rates and sustain their breastfeeding experience to match the goals expected by the Surgeon General of the United States. Betty has worked in women’s health for over 30 years. She completed certification as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner from Emory University. She recently retired from the State of Georgia Department of Human Resources, DeKalb County Board of Health as a public health nurse and program administration where she managed, developed and implemented numerous statewide and local public health programs. Her past experiences include instruction in a baccalaureate nursing program and mother-baby nursing in a large urban hospital. She has an passion for mothers and babies and believes we must support and ”nurture our mothers who will nurture our babies”.

Andrea Serano, a ROSE Inc. staff member, is from North Hollywood CA., and attended Mount St. Mary’s College with a major in Healthcare Policy and minor in Business Administration. During her course of studies, she participated in the Washington Semester Program- Transforming Communities at American University. She has interned at the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Service in the Office on Women’s Health and at Great Beginnings for Black Babies. Andrea has participated in breastfeeding awareness movements through the use of social media and hopes to one day establish a young women’s development center in the country of Belize.

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