Los Angeles, California (August 24, 2021) —The African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative announces the activation of a weeklong campaign geared toward spreading awareness of Black Breastfeeding Week, which was officially recognized by the LA County Board of Supervisors in June 2021. Co-sponsored by the South LA/South Bay Community Action Team (SLASB AAIMM CAT) and the LA County AAIMM Prevention Initiative,“Support/Protect/Welcome Black Breast/Chest Feeding Everywhere” is the theme for the week with supporting sub-themes around breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and pumping. This campaign is also made possible through the support, guidance, information, and resources provided by partners BreastfeedLA, CinnaMoms and March of Dimes.
The terms "breastfeeding" and "chestfeeding" are used interchangeably and together to describe the action of feeding an infant human-milk. The term "chestfeeding" is offered as an alternate term for lactating persons that prefer not to use the term "breast" when referring to their own bodies. This is the AAIMM Prevention Initiative’s commitment to caring authentically about the well-being of all individuals and to inclusivity (adapted from BreastfeedLA).
Black Breastfeeding Week was originally designated in 2013 by nationally recognized breastfeeding advocates and Black maternal health trailblazers Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka. Since its inception, the campaign has been held annually from August 25-31 with the intention of raising awareness and empowering breast/chestfeeding persons within the Black community. Black Breastfeeding Week’s purpose is to close the racial disparity gap in breastfeeding rates while encouraging folks in the medical field to provide lactating mothers and birthing persons with the support and resources that they need to begin and stay the course throughout their breast/chestfeeding journey.
AAIMM’s Black Breastfeeding Week campaign will primarily consist of a digital and social media campaign, sharing images of Black breast/chestfeeding persons taken in iconic Los Angeles locations—including Nappily Naturals, South LA Cafe, Pucker Up, and Grocery Outlet—that are well-known within the African American community. These images will serve to normalize the feeding of babies in public places and encourage others to share their own breastfeeding journey using the campaign hashtags. Campaign hashtags include:
Additionally, grassroots efforts will be made to spread the word about the campaign via virtual and in-person events hosted by AAIMM Community Action Teams located in South LA/South Bay, Antelope Valley, San Gabriel Valley, and Santa Clarita/San Fernando Valley; a website hub that will host articles about breast/chestfeeding; and will culminate in a Breastfeeding Matters Walk on Saturday, August 28.
AAIMM’s campaign objectives are to:
- Increase safety around breast/chestfeeding in public spaces
- Reduce barriers to safety—including psychological safety/belonging/inclusion around breast/chestfeeding in Los Angeles (images will represent the South LA area)
- Increase awareness and comfort among Black families in Los Angeles County
AAIMM looks forward to continuing its efforts to bring racial equity within the birthing and lactation community in Los Angeles County. The public can follow @blackinfantsandfamilies on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter throughout the campaign for updates and visit blackinfantandfamilies.org/blackbreastfeedingweek21. All media inquiries should be directed to Melissa Franklin at [email protected].
About the AAIMM Initiative
The Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Initiative is a coalition of the Los Angeles County Health Agency (Departments of Public Health, Health Services, and Mental Health), First 5 LA, community organizations, mental and health care providers, funders, and community members. We are united in one purpose: to address the unacceptably high rates of Black infant and maternal deaths in Los Angeles County and ensure healthy and joyous births for Black families. Through a series of comprehensive coordinated strategies, we aim to reduce the county's gap in Black/White infant mortality rates by 30% by 2023.
The Initiative launched in 2018, spurred by the LA County Department of Public Health’s 5-Year Plan to address the Black-White infant mortality gap, and in partnership with First 5 LA. A fellowship funded by the Pritzker Foundation also seeded the effort, informed by emergent research and focus groups of over 100 Black women.
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