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Black Breastfeeding Week 2020

25-31 August 2020

OBS Stories

Peer Support BushraTrustee WanjaPeer Supporter ChloeFacilitator Lisa

Our First Podcast, inspired by Black Breastfeeding Week

Our Trustee Wanja sat down with our Chair Juliet to talk about their personal breastfeeding experiences and the importance of breastfeeding support that works for everyone in our very first podcast! Listen to find out more about what OBS is doing to help improve healthcare and feeding support for Black and Brown women and babies in the UK.
If you like it please let us know and we'll take what we've learned and do some more episodes. What would you like to hear more about? Who would you like hear from?

Why We Need A Black Breastfeeding Week in the UK

Why do we need a Black Breastfeeding Week in the UK? Ruth Denison explained it well in 2018

Why Black Breastfeeding Week

Recent MBRRACE reports identify shocking perinatal health inequalities for Black and Brown mothers and babies.

MBRRACE Statistics

What is needed?

Dr Joia Crear-Perry: "It's racism, not race, that puts Black women at risk." National Birth Equity Collaborative. What is needed to overcome this in breastfeeding support?

It's racism not race

We know that Black and Brown women’s voices are not always heard or respected and this can lead to serious health inequalities. We at OBS are listening and doing our work to ensure that there is equity in our service and systems for all of us going forward. We're all in this together.
Reducing health inequalities

There's no getting around the fact that breastfeeding support is provided predominantly by white women in the UK. OBS is committed to increasing the number of Black and Brown breastfeeding supporters in our community.

As Lyndsey Hookway, IBCLC of Feed Sleep Bond wrote recently in her blog post about privilege in the UK breastfeeding support world that "We need to commit to mentoring people of colour. Involve the BIPOC community in breastfeeding support, and amplify Black voices."

It is part of the OBS mission to continue to help develop an integrated network of local breastfeeding support, so that all parents can access skilled, timely breastfeeding help.

Diversity in breastfeeding support

There is a worrying lack of images of clinical conditions on Black and Brown skin in medical literature. We are excited that this is starting to change with projects like these: DFTB Skin DeepBlack and Brown SkinHealth professionals, IBCLCs, breastfeeding counsellors & breastfeeding peer supporters please watch this illuminating free presentation by Nekisha Killings for Gold Lactation.

Image resource bank
Can you help us to improve support for all breastfeeding/breastmilk feeding families in our community? Do you have suggestions to share with us? Are you interested in volunteering or working in breastfeeding support? Talk to us.
What you can do
Kimberly Seals Allers said at last year's UK Baby Friendly conference "Whatever the question, the answer is in the community." We want to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome to use our services. We want to break down the barriers and co-create solutions. We are listening. You can watch that presentation here.
Whatever the question, the answer is in the community

OBS Stories

We are proud of the difference we are making in our community and the ripples that extend even further. Bushra's story is a lovely illustration of how one very determined mother can improve the health of her wider family and beyond. Read Bushra's story.

Peer Supporter Bushra

Behind the scenes, OBS benefits greatly from the impressive skills and support of our wonderful Trustees. Here are a few words from Wanja.

Trustee Wanja Knighton

Our Peer Supporters are an invaluable part of the OBS team. They bridge the gap between the Facilitators and the families so beautifully, with kindness, empathy, knowledge and role modelling. Chloe, an experienced breastfeeding mum of two, is one of the newest members of our team, becoming accredited just before lockdown started. Read Chloe's story

Peer Supporter Chloe

OBS has been supporting breastfeeding/breastmilk feeding parents in Oxfordshire since 2006 and has always been run by our small team of Facilitators. Lisa Mansour has been part of the team since 2008, accrediting as an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) in 2011 and was Project Lead for several years before having her second baby almost exactly two years ago. You can read more about Lisa's progression to IBCLC

Facilitator Lisa Mansour, IBCLC

Looking Forward

Inequity in our healthcare systems disproportionately affects Black and Brown people. If everyone takes some responsibility for correcting this problem, we will all benefit.
As Black Breastfeeding Week 2020 draws to a close today, we hope that you will join us in our continued efforts to make access to breastfeeding support equal for all.

Close of BBW2020

We hope you enjoyed our BBW 2020 campaign. Please see our reading list, which is a work in progress, below.

End of BBW2020

Reading List (a work in progress)

Black and Brown Breastfeeding

Why Black Breastfeeding Week? Ruth Denison of 121 Doula

Reports of Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK (MBRRACE)

The Lived Experience of BAME Women in Birth & Breastfeeding Kimberly Seals Allers at 2019 Unicef Baby Friendly Conference

The breastfeeding support system in the U.K. is built on, and relies upon privilege

Afua Adom's report on Black Breastfeeding Week for The Breastfeeding Network

Black and Brown Skin Tones in Clinical Imagery

How Did I Miss That?: Breast Assessment and Non-White Skin Tones Nekisha Killings for Gold Lactation

Decolonising dermatology: why black and brown skin need better treatment

Black & Brown Skin

Don't Forget The Bubbles - Skin Deep

Brown Skin Matters

Medical student creates handbook of clinical signs on black and brown skin

Last updated August 2020

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