This series explores the breastfeeding journeys of six Black mothers in Detroit, Michigan. Through lifestyle photography and one-on-one conversations, each mother shares what breastfeeding has meant to her, her family and her community.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation partnered with the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) in Detroit, Michigan, to normalize Black breastfeeding and lift up one-on-one conversations with Black mothers. This Normalizing Breastfeeding in Michigan Series shares each mothers’ personal breastfeeding journey in an effort to celebrate, normalize and support breast milk as a first food for children.
In 2007, Kiddada Green was on maternity leave with her daughter. She had the revelation that her breastfeeding experiences allowed her to form a deep relationship with her child. This revelation led Green – with her mother and aunt – to form Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. As a former educator, Green is passionate about giving back to her community, and in founding BMBFA, she realized there are many ways she can do just that. “As I grew and learned, I realized there are so many other ways that you can support folks. Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association was founded; it is my brainchild.”
Shortly after founding BMBFA, Green started Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Clubs. The Breastfeeding Club is BMBFA’s signature work.
Green describes the Breastfeeding Club model as revolutionary and as word spread, communities across the country desired to start their own Breastfeeding Clubs. “It was revolutionary in a way. Not that I realized at the time, just as families don’t necessarily realize that their breastfeeding experience is revolutionary.” Green heard the need from others and saw it as a way for her to leverage her skills as an educator. She developed a manual to help other organizations replicate the Breastfeeding Club model within their own communities. BMBFA now offers an Annual Conference for organizations to learn about BMBFA’s culturally-appropriate and relevant strategies. The Breastfeeding Club model has since been replicated in Maryland and Louisiana.
As BMBFA grew, the services offered to Black mothers also expanded – in Detroit and beyond. They now provide three areas of services: direct services, education and advocacy. BMBFA’s direct services include the Breastfeeding Clubs and a Doula Training program. Green has also continued to build out framework models and manuals to help other organizations succeed around the country. BMBFA provides training in the educational programs, and Green herself works hard to develop and disseminate the materials to communities. Additionally, BMBFA’s national advocacy work, which includes Black Breastfeeding Week and Black Breastfeeding Caucus, raises awareness of the Black breastfeeding experience and honors Black motherhood. Save the Date – this year’s Black Breastfeeding Week is August 25-31, 2019.