No Mother Left Behind: Reducing Breastfeeding Disparities Among African American Women
Despite some improvements, lingering racial disparities still exist, particularly at the six-month and 12-month exclusivity milestones. This presentation identifies five key cultural and structural barriers to breastfeeding for the African American community as well as eight strategies for overcoming barriers, engaging with community and communicating effectively with African American women and men. Attendees will be able to better understand how current breastfeeding messaging and protocols may be disconnected from the lived experience of African American women and will understand strategies for developing more culturally appropriate messaging.
Communities are the next frontier for building a constellation of support for breastfeeding. Using a high-impact CPPR model, the First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI), a pilot project of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, combines a proprietary community assessment tool, with community-partnered curriculum development and job skills training to reduce local social stressors that are barriers to breastfeeding while creating a nationally replicable model of community accreditation. This process, being piloted in Detroit and Philadelphia, focuses on true community engagement, local messaging and community-led research and execution. The session will include outcomes and findings from the Detroit and Philadelphia projects and highlight key strategies for effectively assessing and engaging communities for breastfeeding support. 3FCI also adds to a critical body of evidence needed to explore the connections between breastfeeding support and family economic strengthening, while developing a national accreditation model that moves from “checklist” to community-sourced solutions.