Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BWI- Breastfeeding While Ignorant

World Breastfeeding Week is almost once more upon us. My Breastfeeding Committee is hard at work on a breastfeeding health fair that a local community clinic will host. I'm sad to report that we didn't get all the usual support and assist that we usually do with these events because this year's event is being held in a Black neighborhood. Even though I knew this would happen, I'm still disappointed. The lactation consultant on our committee had a terrible time getting other LCs to sign up to do educational seminars because they didn't want to go into THAT neighborhood (the one I just happened to grow up in). The really sad irony is that the neighborhood underwent major restoration several years ago from an influx of city dollars and is beautiful with restored parks and boulevards. The clinic itself is a showpiece with a new building and sculptured grounds. I hate fighting battles within battles. Everyone agrees that the rates of breastfeeding for African-Americans suck, but this is what you get when you try to engage folks in the problem. Last year we brought an AA breastfeeding advocate to town to speak to folks about the situation of low breastfeeding rates. But I guess her message has already been forgotten.

4 comments:

Sage Femme said...

ugh. that sucks so much.

just further compounds the theory that natural homebirth and breastfeeding is something that only middle to upper middle class white women do. (where the hell are our midwives of color? women from poor communities? oh yeah, they can't afford the $36,000 it costs for an education! midwifery really is a classist profession)

I feel so sad about stuff like this.

Laborpayne said...

Strangely enough,
Your words warm my soul. I was just talking to the program director of a hospital based teen mom support program. Her program underwrites a CNA program (that is free to the teen moms if they want to do it). I asked her about bridging that program (so the all the future midwives and nurses aren't stuck at the CNA level) and she says its in the works! That truly made my day, and speaks to your point. I'll be watching her program to see how many of those CNAs make the leap to LPN then RN and hopefully beyond. So many black women who aspire to healtcare professions only get as far as the CNA level. Those bridges need to be put into place. Thanks for your empathy, Sage.

kris said...

with my 2cd baby i tried so hard to nurse him, i wanted to so much, but i had no support. i gave up, i didn't even know where to look for it, it wasn't offered at the hospital. after i became more educated in the birthing community i wondered if it had anything to do with my lower income insurance at that time. i had read so many magazines and things that talked about lactation consultants and i thought they would be at the hospital and they would send info home with me, and come visit me to see if we were doing well. i got none of that. i had a conversation very similar to this last year with an upper middle class white friend who had all kinds of support and i thought then too, it was my income and my neighborhood. never voiced it b4 tho...

way to help bridge the gap!!

Laborpayne said...

excellent point Kris,
so many problems that beset the women I'm talking about are more economic than racial politics for sure. Teen moms get second class treatment no matter what their color- and no one expects them to breastfeed either so there's not much investment...
I'm sorry you didn't get what you needed from your healthcare facility- the exact same thing happened to me with my first baby 29 years ago. I tried so hard to nurse my baby but gave up after two weeks and cracked bleeding nipples.