Devona Robertson: A Holistic Approach to Breastfeeding Support in Riverside County

August 26, 2019

Devona Robertson, IBCLC
County: Riverside
Affiliation: Riverside University Health System Public Health WIC Program – Sistah Connection

What programs are working to increase breastfeeding support and awareness in Black communities?

Sistah Connection is a WIC program that provides breastfeeding support to Black families within the WIC program. Through monthly support groups, hospital visits, home visits and phone support. We often find that our clients turn around and support individuals in their life who do not have access to the services we provide. Clients will call and ask for advice or double check with us before offering breastfeeding support to a friend or family member. This an important part of that ripple effect that we must continue to create. Each one help one.

What does it mean to innovate and liberate the Black Breastfeeding experience?

There are so many ways to liberate and innovate the black breastfeeding experience. One is simply growing more Black women in the field of lactation.

Imagine a world where Black women and families were truly listened to, supported and invested in. How would this impact the Black breastfeeding experience? What can we do to ensure that all Black women and birthing individuals meet their infant feeding goals?

We all need to be listened to, supported, and invested in. So just like those are huge benefits for all other relationships so it would be for the breastfeeding relationship. It shows respect when on the front end active listening is taking place. Assumptions are not being made and the individual gets to do the informing of their infant feeding choice and goals. Which should give guidance to the support person to give education accordingly.

I always find my way to give breastfeeding education even when an individual has plans other than breastmilk, and 99% of the time it’s well received. Some even come back later with a change of mind and seeking the support that I offered in a previous conversation. Expressing that my investment in them as a mother was very clear. And for that reason they are willing to give breastfeeding a try.