Leimert Park Was Center Stage for Soul Food For Your Baby’s 2nd Annual Black Breastfeeding Week Walk With the AAIMM Prevention Initiative

A joyful rallying cry of supporting, protecting, and welcoming Black Breast/Chestfeeding was heard throughout South Los Angeles on Saturday, August 28, as members and friends of the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative took to the streets for Soul Food For Your Baby’s 2nd annual Black Breastfeeding Matters Walk. The walk was one of several events that took place during the AAIMM Prevention Initiative’s Black Breast/Chestfeeding Week campaign (August 25-31) which was co-sponsored by the South Los Angeles/South Bay AAIMM Community Action Team (Family-Centered Models of Care Workgroup), First 5 LA and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Event sponsors also included Black Women for Wellness and the Mu Chi Chapter Chi Eta Phi. 

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California Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System Project Releases New Information Regarding Pregnancy-Related Deaths in the State

A new report from the California Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (CA-PMSS) project was recently released, providing information on California’s pregnancy-related deaths (including those up to one year after the end of pregnancy) occurring from 2008 through 2016. This is the first report from CA-PMSS—a project of the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division of the California Department of Public Health which began in 2018. The Pregnancy-Related Mortality Ratio (PRMR) generated from CA-PMSS is becoming widely adopted as a more accurate measure of maternal deaths than the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR).

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NICU Awareness Month: September 2021

According to the March of Dimes, during 2017-2019 in the United States, preterm birth rates were highest for Black infants (14.0%) on average compared to babies of other races. In the state of California, the rate of premature births for Black infants is 12% and the preterm birth rate among Black women/birthing persons is 43% higher than the rate among all other women. The African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative is working to bring about equitable birthing outcomes for all babies and, therefore, holds this effort to help preemies thrive close to our mission. 

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Workshop aimed at destigmatizing Black mental health planned in Pasadena

Workshop aimed at destigmatizing Black mental health planned in Pasadena

By Annakai Geshlider

https://www-pasadenastarnews-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.pasadenastarnews.com/2021/08/19/workshop-aimed-at-destigmatizing-black-mental-health-planned-in-pasadena/amp/A workshop planned for Saturday in Pasadena aims to destigmatize mental health in African American/Black communities.

The workshop on Black mental and physical health will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, both in-person and via livestream.

Called “Mental and Physical Health, Wellness and Stigma in the Black Community,” the event is free, and those wanting to attend in person will receive the workshop location after registering online.

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Alameda County Program Counters Health Industry Racism Experienced by Black expectant mothers

Alameda County program counters health industry racism experienced by Black expectant mothers

By Claudia Boyd-Barrett

Krista Hayes, 32, of Oakland was delighted when she found out she and her husband were pregnant with their first child together. But she was also scared.

She’d seen statistics showing that, as a Black woman in America, she was far more likely to die in childbirth, suffer labor complications or have a preterm baby than other women. She feared entrusting the momentous process of having a baby to a medical system that she felt had often treated her, her family members, and other Black people she knew with indifference and contempt.

“There has always been bias. Whether you talk about it or not, you feel it,” said Hayes. “As a Black person you move differently and you’re treated differently.”

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California Releases Inaugural Maternal Mortality Surveillance Report

California Releases Inaugural Maternal Mortality Surveillance Report

The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division of the California Department of Public Health has released the first report from the California Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (CA-PMSS) project. This surveillance report provides the most accurate information on California’s pregnancy-related deaths (including those up to one year after the end of pregnancy) occurring from 2008 through 2016.

 

Read the joint letter from the Center for Family Health and the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics.

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Breast/Chestfeeding FAQs & Questions

What is the significance of Black Breastfeeding Week?

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. 

How does Black Breastfeeding Week tie into the objectives of the AAIMM Initiative?

In the United States, we are experiencing a Black maternal and Black infant health crisis. Black moms and babies are 3 to 4 times (and in some areas even 5-6) more likely to die during and after childbirth and during the first year of life than our white counterparts/white babies. The root cause is easy to identify: racism. The solution is not. Ending this disparity involves solutions that are comprehensive, far-reaching, and move beyond the category of a “Black problem” into where it belongs as a United States problem. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), once said, “What if governments had a proven, cost-effective way to save babies’ lives, reduce rates of malnutrition, support children’s health, increase educational attainment and grow productivity? They do: It’s called breastfeeding. And it is one of the best investments nations can make in the lives and futures of their youngest members—and in the long-term strength of their societies.” 

Black breast/chestfeeding specifically addresses the high rates of Black infant & maternal mortality. It is a tool available to us that we can (and do) use to offset the negative impact of stress that racism, experienced in this country, has on our bodies and those of our babies. It is resistance. It is beauty. It is raw. It is activism in its truest and purest form.

Facts: Breastfeeding decreases rates of ear infections, asthma, gastrointestinal infections, SIDS, Lower Respiratory infections, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity in babies/children and decreases rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, overweight/obesity, and Type 2 diabetes in lactating individuals.

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AAIMM ANNOUNCES BLACK BREAST/CHESTFEEDING WEEK CAMPAIGN FOR AUGUST 25-31

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).

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2021 Village Fund Grantee: Lydia O. Boyd, Lactation Specialist

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.

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2021 Village Fund Grantee: M. E. N. T. O. R. S.

Men Taking Over Reforming Society (M.E.N.T.O.R.S., Inc.)

M.E.N.T.O.R.S., Inc. is on a mission to provide a space of refuge for the Black community in South Los Angeles. By facilitating support services for Black parents, M.E.N.T.O.R.S. creates social networks that are healthy, safe, and informative havens of growth. Peers and experts  work together to promote better outcomes for both parents and their babies.

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