A group of women will meet at Fairview Park, north Minneapolis, on the last Saturday of August. Some of them will bring their babies, others won’t. But they will all be there to celebrate Black breastfeeding families at sixth-annual Chocolate Milk Day.
LaVonne Moore is a nurse practitioner midwife span styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>, certified lactation consultant. Chocolate Milk Day, which is an annual event of the Chocolate Milk Club, a group that focuses on normalizing breastfeeding in the Black community, was the brainchild.
Moore stated that breastfeeding is a great option for mothers and babies. It creates happy, healthy children. It’s a valuable tool that has been overlooked .”
Moore knew about the benefits of breastmilk from an early age, but she realized the importance of it when she was completing her doctorate in nursing practice (DNP), at St. Catherine University.
Moore said that it was during the crack cocaine epidemic in her community. She stopped short of learning about the neuroscience behind breastfeeding and how breastmilk can help repair and rewire damaged pathways within babies’ brains.
span style=”font weight: 400 I was speechless. Moore stated that this is a tool we can use for good and a tool we should be making use of. She also knew breastmilk is good for all babies: “Breastfeeding can heal all our children’s bodies. It is something we can all do for our children.
Moore started a campaign to encourage Black mothers to breastfeed their babies. She is a well-respected healthcare provider and activist in her neighborhood of north Minneapolis. She has been focusing on the benefits breastmilk can have for infant development and maternal health.
As a resource for Black mothers, she founded the Chocolate Milk Club. The group meets monthly, offers virtual lactation support, and even provides at-home visits to mother-baby couples in severe need of nursing assistance.
Moore stated that the club was a tool to encourage breastfeeding in the Black community. It’s also a way for people to know that they are not the only ones. It’s a way to normalize breastfeeding in our community and reclaim breastfeeding as a culturally important practice.
Building community support
Moore’s attention on Black mothers and babies becomes more pressing when she considers that African Americans have one of the lowest rates for breastfeeding. Moore sees the Chocolate Milk Club in her personal campaign to change this statistic.
Moore stated that one of the club’s goals is to educate people about the effects of historical trauma on breastfeeding perceptions. Black mothers have proudly breastfed their children for centuries. Our goal is to encourage people to return to this practice. To do this, the Chocolate Milk Club is a vehicle. We offer support to women and educational activities so mothers can breastfeed for as long as they want.
Moore views her breastfeeding advocacy to be a way of narrowing health gaps and giving Black children a advantage in lifespan styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>. She said that breastfeeding is a great way to reduce health disparities.
Moore advocates for lactation support at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center where she focuses her obstetrics practice. Thanks to her efforts, the clinic became one of the first breastfeeding-friendly clinics in the state.
Moore shared her experience with the volunteer chocolate milk council of her organization. Moore stated that she has seen more women start breastfeeding through her work. At NorthPoint, Moore added, “We now offer lactation rooms.” We have also added lactation consultants to our staff.
Moore stated that a culturally specific approach to breastfeeding education and support is essential. Many Black mothers are not equipped to breastfeed. She is determined to change this. She said that many Black women are influenced by past traumas and have difficulty breastfeeding. People want to breastfeed, but they also need support and education from people like them.
Moore stated that being connected to other Black mothers who are breastfeeding and to a Black lactation consultant makes this part of motherhood more accessible. Moore offers home visits for members of the Chocolate Milk Club to help them gain knowledge and support during their baby’s first days.
span style=”font weight: 400 The first two weeks of breastfeeding are crucial for both mom and baby. They shouldn’t have to go to a lactation clinic in sub-zero weather if they are experiencing a problem. They should be seen in their own home .”
Sierra Dillard is a breastfeeding expert. After learning about the benefits breastmilk in pregnancy-education classes, Sierra Dillard became a mother to six children ranging from eight months to 22.
Dillard was 16 when her first child was born. She recalled that she learned about breastfeeding during her pregnancy through a group of teen mothers. That’s what drove me to it. “I knew that it was the best thing for your baby.” She had lots of support from her family.
Dillard was able to breastfeed all her children because breastfeeding worked the first time. Hennepin County WIC breastfeeding peer counsellor, doula, and childbirth educator.
Face to Face Clinic
She was planning to move to St. Paul.
Black Breastfeeding Week
When she first learned about the Chocolate Milk Club, she threw a party.
Dillard stated that she knew a lot about Dr. LaVonne, and what her work was. Dillard felt the Chocolate Milk Club was the right fit for her. “I thought it would provide a great opportunity to meet her and support Black women in our community,” Dillard said. She started by volunteering to help at an event and later joined the club’s organizing committee.
span style=”font weight: 400 I think the Chocolate Milk Club is an excellent opportunity for like-minded individuals, to come together to learn and celebrate breastfeeding,” she stated. It allows mothers to meet their children and other mothers.
Dillard said that she believes breastfeeding has helped her children be “less sickly and have less need to see a doctor for things like ear infections.” Dillard said that her children are able to reach their milestones faster. She also noted that as they get older, Dillard continues to see benefits in her older children, which she attributes to their early years of life.
Dillard stated that the development and growth of her children was different from what she had seen in formula-fed babies. “They are becoming adults who are wise beyond their years.”
The sixth annual Chocolate Milk Day will take place on Saturday, August 27, from 3-5 p.m. at Fairview Park, 621 29th Ave. N. in Minneapolis.