K'Lynn Mitchell, RDN CinnaMoms Project Coordinator

“I'm very passionate about nutrition and its effect on chronic health and one of the best starts in life is breast milk.” 

How did you become involved in supporting Black breast/chestfeeding in Los Angeles County and why are you passionate about it?

I became involved through my role as CinnaMoms Project Coordinator. Through my role, I help support the CinnaMoms program by supervising our CinnaMoms Project Specialists that directly serve our families, planning our in person and virtual events, and conducting research through CinnaMoms qualitative data to provide evidence-based care and support to reduce African American Maternal and Infant Mortality through Community Nutrition which is part of the CinnaMoms mission. 


What is the most rewarding part of the work that you do to support Black breast/chestfeeding?

The most rewarding part for me is getting to connect with the families while providing educational and social support. I'm very passionate about nutrition and its effect on chronic health, and one of the best starts in life is breast milk. Nutritionally, it's unmatched and made specifically for your baby to grow and thrive. So anytime we are able to get a family to reconsider the choice of breast/chest feeding as opposed to formula, if it is not medically necessary, is a win for me. I love it when our families leave our space knowing more than they thought, but most importantly having more support in their parenthood journey than they thought they had.



Do you have a personal experience or story to share about a breast/chestfeeding journey?

Prior to my position with CinnaMoms, I was a Nutritionist at our CinnaMoms WIC Centers in South LA. There would be so many times that I would have a mom tell me she is done breastfeeding and wants to transition to formula. There have been quite a few times where I would talk to mom, probe, see what's really happening, and assess if it's what she wants to do or if another problem is getting in the way to reach her initial breastfeeding goal. I'm proud to say that there have been a few instances where talking it out and seeing what's happening helped to change their mind and continue to breast/chest feed. So that was a big deal to me to be able to use my counseling skills and breastfeeding knowledge to help maintain the offering of breastmilk to the baby without stopping unnecessarily. It was also nice when I would counsel prenatal birthers that absolutely had no plan on breastfeeding, but by referring them to our breastfeeding peer counselors while also providing the breastfeeding information during my counselings, helped with them changing their minds and at least initiating breastfeeding without going straight to the bottle at the hospital. 


What do you hope to see change for the better with regard to Black breast/chestfeeding in Los Angeles County?

More lactation spaces in our communities, more media advertising, and normalizing Black breast/chestfeeding. Maybe even making Black Breastfeeding Day a holiday during Black Breastfeeding Week like we were able to do with Indigenous Peoples Day, renaming it from Columbus Day. Also, talking about breastfeeding in school — adding that to their health curriculum or at least part of their required nutrition class. I've noticed far too frequently that many people do not know much about breastfeeding/infant feeding practices until they are having the baby.

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