Monique Sims – Making Strides in Solano and Contra Costa Counties

August 27, 2019

Monique Sims, DrPH, RD, IBCLC
County: Solano and Contra Costa
Affiliation: WIC & A More Excellent Way Health

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

  • The revised Black Infant Health Program Curriculum
  • Black Breastfeeding Week
  • The OWH: Guide to Breastfeeding
  • Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiatives and other breastfeeding policies
  • African American Doulas, peer counselors, breastfeeding support groups and Lactation Consultants
  • A More Excellent Way Health Improvement Organization’s Community Baby Showers and Community BF PC Trainings engaging faith communities as partners to spread key breastfeeding messaging
  • Mentoring and providing scholarships for careers in lactation for Black women
  • Funders and organizations that commit to supporting efforts to promote breastfeeding in the Black community.

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

I think reminding Black women of their history of breastfeeding, using more 21st century innovative strategies to educate, link to resources, and promote breastfeeding are more effective. There is so much more that advocates can do using social media to tell black breastfeeding stories and to inform the community. Fun activities that also educate–like the breastfeeding showers–are innovative and effective. The key is doing something. Use your skills, abilities, networks, connections, and brilliant minds to think outside of the box to promote breastfeeding to Blacks.

Imagine a world where Black women and families were truly listened to, supported and invested in. How would this impact the Black breastfeeding experience?

Exactly! Listen to what the Black community says they need, want, and are concerned about to promote breastfeeding. It shows that you care and you can have more of an impact with Black Breastfeeding Promotion. Health disparities in breastfeeding would dissolve.

What can we do to ensure that all Black women and birthing individuals meet their infant feeding goals?

Listen to their concerns. Build the structural supports they need to meet their goals like BF Hospitals, clinics, and businesses. Pay attention to our organizational practices supporting Black Breastfeeding. Make sure Black women know where to go for the support and education they need or, better yet, bring it to them with innovative, culturally humble strategies.