About Birth and Breastfeeding Leadership Institute
The Birth and Breastfeeding Leadership Institute, created by Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), is a pioneering model that builds community leadership at the intersection of racial equity and maternal-child-health with a special interest in birth and breastfeeding outcomes. In 2019, BMBFA received a three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to bring forth the vision of its Founding Executive Director, Kiddada Green, in providing support for emerging, evolving, and established leaders in maternal and child health.
The Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute is led by a multidisciplinary national group of healthcare, public, community-based and private sector professionals, focused on improving the health and mortality of Black mothers and babies in the United States. The Institute uses a racial equity and systems change approach that focuses on the social ecological factors that influence birth and breastfeeding outcomes for Black families namely: individual, interpersonal, community/organizational, policy/macro-system, and socio-historical/socio-cultural context.
BMBFA recently published a white paper, Advancing Black Community-level Leadership for Birth & Breastfeeding, describing the significant importance of a virtual leadership institute designed and influenced by a cross-sectional team of Black leaders to activate community-level leadership to influence positive Black birth outcomes.
Impact of COVID-19 on Black Breastfeeding and Lactation
COVID-19 has forced the disruption or discontinuation of evidence-based interventions for Black breastfeeding support, including those recommended in the Surgeon General's Call To Action, such as peer-led support and community-based interventions. Studies show that breastfeeding is the first preventative medicine. Breastfeeding is also the safest and most reliable form of infant feeding during a crisis. This pandemic is devastating Black communities, leaving community organizations stretched for both human and economic resources. The burden of providing breastfeeding education, promotion and lactation support is necessarily shifting to online spaces through groups as well as healthcare providers. Now, more than ever before, it is critical that Black communities be equipped with the leadership needed to repair the harms to breastfeeding norms among Black families, regain momentum in reducing racial disparities and to, ultimately, meet the goals of Healthy People 2020: 81.9% breastfeeding initiation and 60.6% duration at 6 months.