Sessions by Track

Track A: Innovation & Technology

Explore high-tech, low-tech and no-tech innovative solutions to improve MCH outcomes.

A1. “An Experiment: Co-Design within MCH”

Whitney Robinson, BS – The Reneé

What does it look like to design new systems within Maternal & Child Health (MCH) as opposed to focusing solely on dismantling current systems? Furthermore, how do we break out of the research loop to create products/services that people will use and enjoy?  Co-design is one way to facilitate thoughtful conversations and create doable next steps. In a world where we are questioning disparities and less than optical outcomes, co-design provides an opportunity to shift focus from traditional stakeholders placing the highest importance on designing as and with people with lived experiences. This rapid design session will cover 3 different topics that will help participants think through ways to address problems within MCH.  We’ll cover who should be doing this work, what we know about the current state of MCH, and ways to address gaps that prevent people from optimal experiences and/or outcomes within MCH.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the needs of people as it relates to MCH.
  2. Identify how people who are impacted by less than optimal outcomes and/or experiences within MCH would create a new concept for themselves.
  3. Conduct a rapid co-design session to generate ideas and prototypes.

A2. “BMBFA B’Right Hub: The Virtual Community for Parent Clubs”

Kiddada Green, M.A.T.

Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association’s signature work, Black Mothers Breastfeeding Club has run without interruption since 2008 serving as a safe space for 1000+ Black pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to come together for fellowship, sisterhood, parenting and breastfeeding support. Peer and mother-to-mother parent groups are an evidenced and effective strategy to prevent disease, promote health and improve breastfeeding rates. However, according to a needs assessment conducted by BMBFA, 70% of group administrators surveyed shared that they are unsatisfied with their current data collecting and reporting methods. 98% are interested in collecting data for maternal-child health outcomes. 88% are interested in collecting member demographic data and group data (i.e. retention rate, attendance, # of gatherings, etc.). Most impactful are the ways that group administrators wish to use their data including; program improvement (98%), to communicate successes/opportunities with stakeholders (83%), and to leverage funding opportunities (78%).  

BMBFA B’Right Hub, the virtual community for parent clubs was developed based on the results of the needs assessment along with 13 years of experience hosting Black Mothers Breastfeeding Club in 3 different states, consulting experience, and an internal analysis of BMBFA’s private-labeled “Breastfeeding Club Data System” built in 2014. The BMBFA B’Right Hub is a mobile and web-based community platform for parent clubs and their members. It is an interactive tool used by parent clubs to enhance their program service and delivery. Designed with “birth rights” in mind, B’Right Hub connects families with parent clubs that are committed to improving birth and maternal health outcomes. As a model for emerging Black innovators in the Black birthing space, BMBFA will share the story of the path they forged to move this technological innovation from ideation to impact.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To list key strategies used to create innovative and technological solutions to transform Black maternal child health.
  2. To explain how technological innovation and data collection tools designed by Black leadership can drive clinical and/or non-clinical practices and policies.
  3. To explain how the BMBFA B’Right Hub, a virtual community for parent clubs, is used as an effective tool to inform program service delivery and positively impact breastfeeding and other maternal-child health outcomes.

A3. “It Could All Be So Different: Addressing the Chasm of Image Diversity in Lactation”

Nekisha Killings, MPH IBCLC

Brown breasts should be the default. Of the nearly 8 billion people living on our planet right now, the overwhelming majority are some shade of brown. Yet if you thumb through any lactation textbook,you quickly see that something isn’t adding up. Why are 90% of the images of white skin? How are practitioners to learn about the ways in which conditions present on clients of color if they do not see examples during training? How can people of color trust their practitioners to know and understand how conditions present on their skin if the first time they encounter them is in the moment of care?

This session will illuminate the various harms that are caused by a lack of diverse imagery in lactation supporter education. It will chart a promising path forward, citing solutions ranging from local to systemic in their approach. This talk will explore inclusive solutions, wherein the communities that would most benefit from increased diversity in images can participate in and even lead the quest for change.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the impact of lack of diversity in images in lactation education.
  2. Identify examples of different presentations of breast conditions on fair and deeply pigmented skin.
  3. List three actionable solutions to close the gaps in image diversity in lactation.


Track B: Communications

Understand how to use messaging, imagery, and content creation to advance breastfeeding advocacy, support and practice.

B1. “Maternal-Infant Health Gone Digital: The Importance of Educational Content that Engages and Educates” 

Mercedes Thomas, CPNP, IBCLC

There’s no secret that Black maternal-infant mortality and breastfeeding rates in the U.S. are shameful. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic left even more birthing parents to find for themselves and to lean on social media for support and “Dr. Google” to find the answers to the problems that plagued them. 

What if maternal-infant health professionals and healthcare providers could help turn the negatives of social distancing into positives? What if part of the solution to the dismal infant mortality statistics and breastfeeding rates for Black babies was dissemination of quality digital health content online? 

This presentation will explore the use of content creation as a means to engage, educate and advocate for marginalized families. It will also, taking a dive deeper into the health disparities that exist and the high stakes involved for families who lack resources and support. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the leading causes of infant mortality in the United States.
  2. Explain how digital health content and engagement tools can potentially lead to improved maternal-infant health outcomes.
  3. State the current Healthy People 2030 measures related to breastfeeding and infant health.

B2. “Reimagining Black Families”

Belen Redeit, BS 

CinnaMoms is a motherhood and breastfeeding support program located in Los Angeles, California created by and for Black women through Heluna Health’s PHFE WIC Program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). Since 2015, the breastfeeding support circles have been providing a safe space to discuss life, health, and the unique challenges Black mothers face, all while celebrating their birth and breastfeeding journey. Since 2017, CinnaMoms has been capturing positive imagery of black families at community events and support circles. These powerful images were then translated into social media posts and featured on our CinnaMoms website. These stunning images have been requested by families and community members to replace stock photos they see in the WIC centers, handouts, and websites. In 2018, CinnaMoms launched on all social media platforms, forming a village where black mothers can stay connected and feel heard, seen, and included while removing the stigma of being a WIC participant. CinnaMoms also uses culturally tailored text messages to reach over 3,000 Black pregnant and postpartum women every month. Thanks to pioneers in the black breastfeeding movement, CinnaMoms has been able to use images of our families, social media platforms, and text messages to reimagine Black birth and breastfeeding.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify ways to use social media channels to uplift Black families. 
  2. Identify the use of imagery and social media to reimagine black breastfeeding.
  3. Identify at least one strategy to strengthen Black breastfeeding support in their WIC agency or organization.

Track C: Leadership

Activate, strengthen and advance maternal-child-health leadership inherent in all black communities.

C1. “Advancing Black Community-level Leadership for Birth & Breastfeeding”

Victoria Reese, MPA and Kiddada Green, MAT 

Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association has designed the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute, a virtual national leadership development program for emerging, developing and established leaders.  The Institute builds community leadership at the intersection of racial equity and maternal-child-health with a special interest in birth and breastfeeding outcomes.  The Institute hosted regional community conversations from each of the 5 United States regions with a diverse group of Black maternal child health leaders.  These conversations helped to inform the core competencies and topics for the Institute’s curriculum. BMBFA has also published an overview of these conversations in a publicly accessible document.

Learning Objectives:

  1. State the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the landscape for the Black maternal-child-health community.
  2. Explain regional trends and points of pride for Black maternal-child-health communities.
  3. Describe how the curriculum for the Birth and Breastfeeding Leadership Institute was informed by centering the community voice. 

C2. “Breaking the Silo Cycle”

Renae Green, IBCLC & Nasheeda Pollard MPH, IBCLC, CLC

Within the Black Breastfeeding Caucus (BBC) the Direct Service subcommittee has been researching and developing various priorities to aid in elevating Black lactation professionals while uplifting Black breastfeeding dyads. We are looking to collect data in an innovative way by conducting brainstorming sessions in a focus group style workshop to understand the impact of community-centered collaboration to support the breastfeeding dyad. 

Based on NACCHO’s Weaving a Lactation Care Safety Net, establishing a lactation ecosystem in communities of color where gaps in human milk feeding exist will lead to improved outcomes for the parent/baby dyad. Continuity of care, consistent messaging, and building relationships among community stakeholders, clinical providers, etc. are crucial to supporting Black lactating families during their most vulnerable moments in parenthood. The goal of this session is to yield strengths-based needs and solutions to creating a lactation ecosystem within any respective community/city region. 

As members of the Direct Service Committee, we invite you all to partake in this innovative effort to assess and design strategies to improve engagement, collaboration, and cohesively maintain support for Black lactating families. 

Our end result is to utilize our findings to contribute to our current BBC Direct Service Committee briefing and commence a national challenge for communities to participate. The engagement of participants in this workshop will be credited for the contribution.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Assess how community stakeholders are currently working in partnership to ensure breastfeeding families are supported throughout multiple agencies/associations. 
  2. Identify barriers to building relationships that limit community stakeholders from working together.
  3. Obtain solutions to prevent working in silos, thus supporting families in a lactation ecosystem. 

Track D: Peer and Clinical Breastfeeding Support

Learn about breastfeeding peer support models and clinical practices to best educate, support, and manage the breastfeeding dyad.

D1. “The Mourning Moms”

Nicole Riley & Elizabeth Bayne, MPH, MFA

This is a conversation with Nicole Riley, founder of The Mourning Moms.

D2. “Making Connections: Breastfeeding Peer Support in Community, Clinical, and Virtual Spaces”

Erica Davis, BA, CHW, CLS 

Breast/Chest/Body-feeding Peer Support can be provided in a variety of settings for desirable breastfeeding outcomes. When community partnerships are cultivated more families have access to breastfeeding education and support. Peer Counselors integrated into clinical maternity-care models improve breastfeeding rates. Additionally, when community partnerships are achieved other professionals are able to convey breastfeeding information and identify available resources. While COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many barriers to breastfeeding peer support, innovative and engaging virtual support options have created new opportunities to reach families to support breastfeeding.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain ways in which peer breastfeeding support is an integral part of the prenatal care model.
  2. Describe how to cultivate partnerships between community-based organizations and clinical settings.

D3. “Sharing is Caring: My Experience with Informal Milk Sharing”

Rita Little, IBCLC

Rita will provide information on how breast surgery can affect milk production and breastfeeding. She will also share her experience with informal milk sharing and why informal milk sharing is somewhat taboo. Furthermore, learn tips and tricks to obtaining human milk and how to screen donors if a mom decides to go that route.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the impact of breast surgery on breastfeeding and milk production.
  2. Express the value of informal milk sharing as a means of breastfeeding.
  3. Identify the challenges of informal milk sharing and explain ways to be more confident in finding a milk donor.

D4. “Yoga Therapy for Moms-To- BE”

Elizabeth Crenshaw E-RYT 500, YACEP

The holistic focus of yoga therapy integrates the mind, body, and spirit and utilizes a wide range of therapeutic modalities focusing on the whole mom-to-be. Prepare for a more mindful approach to labor and birth, while finding focus through balance and the breath.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how to breathe deeply and effectively to support overall health and prepare for the challenge of birth. 
  2. Learn positive affirmations to use during pregnancy and labor. 
  3. Learn about bandhas or pelvic floor exercises called Kegels for expectant mothers and postpartum. 

D5. “The Golden Hour” 

Ashli Burney, CBD & Robena Hill, CBD

Ashli and Robena will be discussing the Golden Hour, Skin to Skin, Baby Carrying and allowing fathers to help with breastfeeding.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain the practice of skin-to-skin and state how it impacts breastfeeding behavior. 
  2. List ways to encourage families to practice skin-to-skin post-delivery.
  3. Demonstrate how to use baby carriers when practicing skin-to-skin.

D6. “Check Your Research: Teaching Moms How to Self-Advocate When Encountering Outdated Medical Advice”

Khadija Garrison Adams

Breastfeeding is natural, but it surely does not come naturally. Black Mothers in the U.S. face an uphill battle in initiating and maintaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship. Unfortunately, nursing parents often encounter unhelpful to sabotaging advice from the most ironic of sources – their healthcare providers! During this session, we will discuss the benefits of lactation education and evidence-based support during the prenatal and postpartum period. We will suggest methods of self-advocacy in the face of outdated or inaccurate lactation-related advice from medical professionals caring for mother and child. We will also identify green light, yellow light, and red light indicators in the language of care providers (i.e. the difference between a breastfeeding-friendly provider, a breastfeeding-tolerant provider, and a breastfeeding-hostile provider).

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe unhelpful breastfeeding advice often given to mothers by medical professionals.
  2. Discuss the benefits of access to knowledge regarding lactation prior to delivery.
  3. Suggest methods of self-advocacy in the face of unhelpful, inaccurate, or sabotaging advice regarding lactation from medical professionals.

Track E: Breastfeeding Groups

Learn about cultural, local, state and national breastfeeding groups.

E1/A2. “BMBFA B’Right Hub: The Virtual Community for Parent Clubs”

Kiddada Green, M.A.T.

See A2 for the full description.

E2. “The Importance of Black Centered Lactation Support”

Takisha Miller & LaShanda Dandrich & Jillian Faulks

Chocolate Milk Café is a national network developed by Black Lactation Advocates and Professionals to provide culturally congruent care to families that are part of the African Diaspora across the United States. During our presentation, we will discuss the importance of our organization and how our presence provides a solution to combating the disparity rates within the community.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Viewers will be able to find resources to join our national network.
  2. Participants can identify the need for culturally congruent care within their community.