Lydia O. Boyd is a Lactation Specialist who provides breast/chestfeeding support and education to expectant and current breast/chestfeeding families in Los Angeles County. In addition to supporting new parents during the early post-pregnancy period, she also provides care for the transition back to work or school after maternity leave, when weaning, and in the event of a pregnancy loss. Although she serves all families regardless of race, the focus of her work is with Black-identifying families belonging to the African diaspora.
Boyd’s 13 years of research and experience in counseling, coaching, and teaching other Black women throughout the breast/chestfeeding journey has made her especially qualified to speak to racial disparities within the birthing community and provides her with a unique perspective and position to support Black mothers, giving them a space where they feel centered and supported. “We are the mothers in the Black community,” Boyd stated, speaking of Black women. “We understand first-hand what we need.” Her work strives to provide a reconnection to the honor and pride of breast/chestfeeding that has been lost from years of oppression.
Boyd has built a collaborative partnership with Black women who head community organizations, are birth workers and lactation professionals, and work within L.A. County’s public health community, to ensure that her families have the necessary resources available as they raise their families. Boyd has worked with organizations including the AAIMM Doula Project, Kindred Space LA, and BreastfeedLA. Most recently, she co-founded The B.L.A.C.K. Course with three other Black women — a full-spectrum lactation training course designed to ensure that Black families are supported by professionals who are equipped to meet the very unique needs of the Black community. Additionally, Boyd has extended her services and network to include mentoring the next generation of lactation specialists.
Lydia O. Boyd and The Village Fund
"Now is not the time to wean," says Boyd. “This is a statement that I make often during COVID-19. However, I say this with the understanding that my breastfeeders are tired, overwhelmed, and touched out.” Boyd plans to use funding to expand her virtual offerings to ensure that families will have professional lactation support while Safer-at-Home orders are in effect, and afterwards for those who need it.
Through funding, families will be engaged via:
Robust social media campaigns and advertisements
A user-friendly website
Relatable media and marketing materials
Support groups, classes, webinars, one-on-one phone and virtual connections, and safe home visits
Connections are made prenatally, during the antepartum period, postpartum, and beyond, to provide families with needed information to make educated feeding decisions in favor of breast/chestfeeding. Prenatal and postpartum offerings will be available at no or low cost. The overall goal is to bring families back to self-reliance, create healthy and normal human bonding practices, and allow families to experience connections that prepare them for their journey through parenthood.
Currently, Boyd is running a series of email blasts and streaming commercial ads with KJLH radio station in Los Angeles. “Families within LA County and beyond are hearing about the benefits to babies who are breastfed for the first six months of their lives. I've received feedback from as far away as Atlanta about the messaging,” said Boyd. The advertisements are spreading the word that lactation support within the Black community is a healthy and positive option for families.
“Additionally,” Boyd shared, “the AAIMM Village Fund has provided culturally-relatable...lactation support to Black families within LA County as well as with the AAIMM Doula Program. Families are receiving phone, virtual, and in-person lactation support for issues such as milk supply, painful latch, oral anatomy abnormalities, and more. The families who have been supported through the AAIMM Village Fund comment that they would not have had a doula or this level of lactation support if this program was not made available to them.”
Boyd hopes that expectant families will take the next step by signing up for her prenatal breast/chestfeeding class to ensure that they are prepared for breast/chestfeeding in the early days after delivery. The next class is being offered virtually on Saturday, September 11 from 10am-1pm PST via Zoom. The cost is $100 per couple. Additional information on how to register can be found on Boyd’s website at www.LydiaOBoyd.com.
Email: [email protected]