MADISON (WKOW) — Multiple organizations are raising awareness about the challenges women of color in Dane County face when it comes to having access to breastfeeding resources.
Black Maternal and Child Health Week, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC), Harambee Village Doulas, African American Breastfeeding Alliance (AABA), Centro Hispano, and Roots4Change hosted a Breastfeeding Equity Open House to promote their resources and show support for breastfeeding in Dane County.
“Breastfeeding provides so many benefits to families, from reduced risk of chronic disease for the baby, protection against infections for both mom and baby, to money saved from not having to buy formula. It’s a powerful tool for families,” says Katarina Grande, the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) supervisor at PHMDC.
Despite known benefits, some families are less likely to start and continue breastfeeding. Structural racism, lack of social support, problems pumping at work, and other factors impact breastfeeding rates across racial and age groups in Dane County. For these reasons, many partners are working to reduce breastfeeding disparities.
Public health officials said in some areas of Madison, there’s no public lactation room available. In response to this, PHMDC recently installed a Mamava lactation pod in their office at 2300 S. Park St, which is available for public use and will be on display at the open house.
Centro Hispano also sees a need to support families one-on-one and in response, they partner with Roots4Change, a collective of Latina community wellness workers and doulas (promotoras de salud). They provide culturally relevant health education to the Latinx community through postpartum support groups and doula services.
“We work towards creating a healthier community as well as developing a Latinx allied health workforce to provide culturally relevant care within the community and the larger health care system,” says Mariela Quesada Centeno, the Maternal and Child Health Community Fellow at Centro.