Black Breastfeeding Week is Observed in Savannah Area

Efforts are underway to build a breastfeeding-friendly community in Savannah and Chatham County.
 
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Aug. 19, 2021 - PRLog -- (SAVANNAH, GA) In conjunction with National Breastfeeding Month in August, Black Breastfeeding Week is being observed August 25-31 with photo displays featuring images from the Savannah H.O.P.E. Photovoice projects which highlight barriers to breastfeeding for Black/African-American Women in Savannah and Chatham County, Ga. These displays will be located in the lobbies of the Eisenhower and Midtown locations of the Chatham County Health Department. Local advocates are also drawing attention to the barriers that Black mothers often encounter that discourage them from breastfeeding.

Marshall recently facilitated the "Savannah H.O.P.E. Photovoice Project," a photo book documenting the personal experiences from local Black mothers using a combination of photography and storytelling. The project's purpose was to help identify social, cultural, and physical barriers that discourage breastfeeding by Black mothers in Chatham County, as well as opportunities to remove those obstacles.

National Breastfeeding Month is an annual advocacy and outreach campaign hosted by the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee that invites agencies and individuals to participate in online action and conversation about the policy and practice changes needed to build a "landscape of breastfeeding support." The national observance culminates with Black Breastfeeding Week August 25-31. The theme of the 2021 observance is "The Big Pause," honoring Black breastfeeding and the power of collective rest for collective power as a revolution for communities.

Marshall contends the obstacles to breastfeeding lead to significant disparities, such as those identified in a 2019 CDC report "Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration," that indicated Black infants had a significantly lower rate of any breastfeeding at age 3 months (58.0%) than did white infants (72.7%); and that at age 6 months, the rates were 44.7% among Black infants and 62.0% among white infants.

To help kick off the month-long observation leading up to Black Breastfeeding Week, a photoshoot to honor Black moms was held on July 24 in Forsyth Park. Presented by Glow Lactation and supported by YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah through funding from the Centers for Disease Control's Racial & Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant, organizers presented the event to bring increased awareness to the disparities that discourage breastfeeding by Black mothers in Chatham County and help identify opportunities to remove those obstacles. The Savannah photoshoot event was further supported by the Chatham County Health Department and Georgia Southern University.

For more information about the Photovoice Project, the Breastfeeding Friendly Community initiative, or for information on receiving assistance to create a workplace lactation support policy, please contact Dr. Nandi Marshall at 912-478-3307 or nmarshall@georgiasouthern.edu.

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