The rates of breastfeeding among African American women in DC are significantly lower than the rates of all other races. This is in spite of the fact that the majority of African American women initiate breastfeeding which has clearly demonstrated medical, psychological and economic benefits. Children who are breastfed have fewer infections, lower rates of obesity, autoimmune disease, immune system cancers, and a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Birthing people who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The DC Breastfeeding Coalition (DCBFC) was established in 2004 to increase the breastfeeding rates of all infants living in the District of Columbia. Working in partnership with maternal and child health professionals, community health organizations, and mother-to-mother support groups, we seek to promote, protect and support culturally-sensitive programs and activities that build awareness and understanding of the preventive health benefits of breastfeeding and also those that advance diversification of the lactation workforce and health systems changes to increase support for families. Through our breastfeeding research, advocacy and educational activities, we are working to reduce health disparities -- particularly among the most vulnerable infants and children living in our communities.
We need your financial support to maintain and grow three of our programs that we developed to achieve this goal:
-the East of the River Lactation Support Center which provides free breastfeeding classes and support to all families that want help achieving their breastfeeding goals has been 100% grant funded since 2010 and is in need of help to sustain and expand it;
-the Carol A. Ryan Equity in Lactation Scholarship that offers competitive scholarships to cover exam expenses for individuals seeking to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) who have a commitment to serving underserved populations and women with limited access to professional lactation support; and
-the Lactation Certification Preparation Course & Study Group which seeks to increase diversity in the IBCLC field through a 45-hour educational course that is deeply discounted for those from groups that are underrepresented in the profession.
We hope we can count on you!