Detroit’s Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) is bringing renowned journalist and breastfeeding advocate Kimberly Seals Allers to Detroit to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week was started 20 years ago and runs Aug. 1 through Aug. 7 annually. In conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, the BMBFA is having an event at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Saturday, August 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. where Kimberly Seals Allers will be presenting Black Breastfeeding 360 (BB360), which is described as a “comprehensive multimedia library of resources, perspectives and voices of the black breastfeeding experience.” Allers is also a lead commentator for the United States Breastfeeding Committee’s “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” federal campaign and author of several books on pregnancy and breastfeeding, including The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy (Amistad/HarperCollins) and owner of the Mocha Manual website and series of books. Kiddada Green, founder of the BMBFA states, “Kimberly has a lot to bring to Detroit and to share with the audience from personal and professional standpoints and help energize the community to move the movement forward.” Green believes in the power of peer support and having women learn from others who are like them and may share similar experiences and circumstances. “It’s not enough to hear that breastfeeding is healthy, it’s also important for black mothers to hear and [learn] from other black, breastfeeding mothers.”
Established in 2007, the BMBFA is a local non-profit organization that promotes and supports breastfeeding, with particular emphasis on bringing awareness and encouragement to black mothers. Among the participating drafters of the Surgeon General’s “Call to Action,” the BMBFA is necessary in a community where the breastfeeding success rate is far lower than among white mothers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in their Health, United States 2010 national data collected for 2002-2004, 79.1% of white mothers breastfed at birth compared to 44.4% and 76.5% for black and Latina mothers. Comparatively, for the same years sampled, at three months post-partum, 57% of white mothers were still breastfeeding compared to 30.1% and 58.2% for black and Latina mothers respectively. In CDC data compiled in PRAMS Data on Breastfeeding for breastfeeding trends in Michigan, in 2008, 73.4% of all mothers initiated breastfeeding at birth, but by one month post-partum, only 57.5% of all mothers were still breastfeeding. Such statistics emphasize the critical need for continual education about breastfeeding both before and during pregnancy and adequate post-partum breastfeeding support to improve breastfeeding success rates overall, and specifically within the black community.
World Breastfeeding Week and the Black Breastfeeding 360 event are among such community education efforts, because, as Afrykayn Moon (founder of Breastfeeding Mothers Unite and organizer of its Lansing, Mich. rally held July 18, 2012) says, “It is important to get more black women breastfeeding and educate them on breastfeeding, because from my experience, a lot [of mothers] don’t realize the dangers involved in not breastfeeding.” She goes on to say, “It’s not just a mother issue, it’s a family issue—a community issue.”
Men are welcome to attend the Black Breastfeeding 360 event, which includes a panel discussion after the viewing. Moon states that “It is important for men to show their presence, show their support—not just the dads, but the grandfathers, uncles, cousins. It’s important for as many men as possible to stand along and say ‘I support breastfeeding.’” Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum is also the perfect venue for Black Breastfeeding 360 because “[it] is where we think about and learn about our history, and while [black women] have a complex history with breastfeeding, we have a rich history, so it’s great to be in a place where we can think about our past, reclaim our history and think about our babies and strengthen awareness that breast milk is the most optimal nutrition for them,” says Allers.
Black Breastfeeding 360
Saturday, August 4, 2012 1-4 p.m.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
Free and open to the public.
A panel discussion of BMBFA will follow after the viewing of BBB360.
Advanced registration through the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association is encouraged.
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