(Courtesy photo)

Soul Food for Your Baby (SFYB) in partnership with the Black Infant Health Program (BIH) at The Children’s Collective, Inc. (TCCI), will launch breastfeeding support groups for African American families starting Monday, January 13th. The groups will be held from 11 am to 12:30 pm on the second Monday of the month through June 2020 and possibly beyond at TCCI, 3701 Stocker Street, Suite 302 Los Angeles, CA 90008.

The meetings offer culturally relevant support to the African American community, which consistently has lower breastfeeding rates compared to other groups, making it a public health concern. Lower breastfeeding can contribute to health disparities, including higher risk of infant death, obesity, and diabetes.

“We’re excited to launch this important intervention in South Los Angeles to reach families in the communities we serve and to address practical, social and even, cultural challenges they may face when trying to breastfeed,” said Elizabeth Woods, SFYB Interim Executive Director. “We also look forward to collaborating with Black Infant Health at The Children’s Collective to promote breastfeeding with the mothers they work with.”

SFYB exists to promote breastfeeding in the African American community to bolster support and mitigate health disparities in the Black population. SFYB’s focus groups found that Black women don’t initiate or stop breastfeeding early for a number of reasons, including pain, lack of support from family, time constraints, public criticism, and need to return to work.

In addition to the support groups, SFYB seeks to raise awareness about breastfeeding through community outreach at local schools, farmers markets, and Nursing Meet Ups. It will also launch online support groups for mothers who cannot meet in person.

The BIH Program is designed to reduce the high infant mortality rate and maternal mortality among African Americans through culturally sensitive case management, support, and empowerment workshops. These efforts have greatly improved health and birth outcomes for Black women and infants under one year of age.

SFYB is grateful for the funding for the support groups, which came from an award from the Barclay-Giel Seed Grants program funded by the Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health (COF) to support community-based public health programs. SFYB was one of 15 organizations selected nationwide for the inaugural distribution of the award. The Barclay-Giel Seed Grants program is named after the late Martha Barclay-Giel, a retired Captain of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service who dedicated her life’s work to advancing the health of Americans. After retiring, she generously supported COF through considerable charitable donations.

“We are honored to be selected for this award and to be able to use these funds to reach our community with needed breastfeeding services,” Woods said.

To keep posted on the launch of breastfeeding support activities, visit SFYB’s Facebook or Twitter pages (@SFYB) or www.soulfood4yourbaby.org.

 For more information about the next funding cycle of the Barclay-Giel Seed Grant in February please visit www.phscof.org/seed-grants.