Celebrating! At South LA Health Projects and throughout the country, thousands of breastfeeding moms and families—maybe more–are celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week from August 25th through August 31st.
August Black Breastfeeding Week is celebrated during Breastfeeding Awareness Month, the month of August.
Theme This year’s theme is The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power.
Founders Black Breastfeeding Week, a national awareness week, was created by three women: Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka.
Reducing racial disparities The week was created to help reduce the racial disparities in breastfeeding rates among African American women.
Pre-COVID Before the pandemic, Janice Ahana, a nutritionist and lactation consultant who works in the Special Nutrition Services Unit at the Compton WIC Center, used to lead a breastfeeding support group for our Black/African American women.
Virtually She continues to counsel parents of all ethnicities regarding nutrition, by phone. And one of the many things she counsels women about is breastfeeding.
Misconception Ms. Ahana says she aims to reverse the misconception that Black/African American women don’t breastfeed. “These women do breastfeed,” she said.
Encourages When she counsels pregnant women and breastfeeding moms at the Compton WIC Center, Ahana encourages breastfeeding, and she educates.
Beneficial “Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and baby, and extends beyond providing nutrition for the baby,” Ahana stated. “Breastmilk has antibodies and live cells to protect the infant against infections, for example.”
Preventative Breast milk is a natural preventative medicine that reduces the risk of diet-related diseases such as upper respiratory infections, Type II Diabetes, Asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Childhood Obesity. Breastfeeding has reduced infant mortality rates by 50%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Black/African American babies “It is very important that African American women breastfeed to give their infants a healthy start in life through breastmilk,” Ahana said. “Research has shown that African American infants are twice and even three times as likely to die during their first year as other babies.”
Premature infants If a premature infant is in an ICU, it is important that the mother pump her breast milk to feed her baby as soon as she is able, Ahana said. “Premature babies are susceptible to infections such as Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), Sepsis, and viral infections.”
Breastfeeding services The Compton WIC Center and all our 11 WIC centers provide an array of breastfeeding services. Among these are one-on-one phone counseling for pregnant mothers, mothers who have already given birth, their partners, and others in their support systems.
Additional breastfeeding assistance Additional services include the assistance of breastfeeding peer counselors, consultation under special circumstances with lactation specialists, our Breastfeeding Helpline, and assistance with breast pumps.
Interested in applying to WIC? Read about WIC eligibility here>>
Contact us! For more information, phone (310) 661-3080.