Who we are
According to the Center for Disease Control (2017), only 73% of African American women have ever breastfed and that number dramatically reduces to 26.1% for breastfeeding to 12 months of age for infants. With this in mind, eight years ago the organization Black Families DO Breastfeed was founded by Dr. Stacy Yeager-Okosi; that organization is now a 501(c)(3) headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. Soon after the initial creation of the organization, Dr. Yeager-Okosi created the Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms on the Facebook® platform. At the time, it was the first program of its kind exclusively for Black women to get private online group support on social media with the goal to promote long-term breastfeeding, blazing the trail for additional Black breastfeeding support groups after it. This year, Dr. Yeager-Okosi has expanded to include two additional outreach programs in Kansas in the cities of Topeka and Wichita. The intent of the groups is to provide peer-to-peer, evidence-based virtual support for Black women.
Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC emphasized breastfeeding provides optimal support for both mother and baby. Those benefits for baby are a reduction in:
Type 1 diabetes.
Severe lower respiratory disease.
Acute otitis media (ear infections).
Sudden unexpected infant death syndrome (SUIDS).
Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting).
The benefits for mothers who breastfeed are a reduction in instances of:
Type 2 diabetes.
High blood pressure (Center for Disease Control, 2017)
Given The fact that the majority of these issues affect African American women at higher rates than other demographics, the creation, promotion, and proliferation of support programs become of even greater importance.
The program, Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms, is unique in that we have a four-pronged approach that has the capacity to capture women before and during pregnancy and provide best practice support resources, showing mothers to be knowledgeable prior to the delivery of their infant(s). Furthermore, the online breastfeeding group provides membership for Black women who are also support persons in the breastfeeding woman’s life such as female family members, friends, and daycare providers. The virtual support group is now serving over 100,000 black women and counting.
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.
We aim to change the lives and narratives of black families by promoting breastfeeding for our community. Through education, support and advocacy we will increase breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity.
We see a future in which every child who is able is breastfed, every family is educated about the benefits of exclusivity through 6 months postpartum, and every community supports the breastfeeding journey through its natural end.
The international recommendation of at least 2 years of breastfeeding (with complementary foods after 6 months old) is attainable together.
Let's make it the norm, not the myth.
Promote: Breastfeeding education throughout the community in accessible ways to allow lactating individuals and their support circles to better understand the journey.
Support: Prenatal care and postpartum support has been shown to improve breastfeeding initiation and duration. We also support those who seek to become lactation professionals.
Protect: Engaging in legislative action and advocacy to ensure legal protections for breastfeeding rights.