2021 Growing…and Welcoming! A Year in Review

2021 has been a year of challenge and change for Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities (BFFC) and also a year of celebration. We continue in our commitment to removing disparities in maternal and infant health and breast/chestfeeding. This also has been an exciting year of growing and expanding our outreach and commitments. Thank you to all who have made this a year of celebration, of growth. Join us in this celebration of 2021…

Our Communities are…Inspiring!

Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities is honored and privileged to provide support to our communities. We celebrate their passion and energy in creating welcoming communities. From healthcare to childcare, from government proclamations to lactation support, from business awards to employer support, our communities have been non-stop in their efforts to provide education, resources, and advocacy in every aspect of community life. Why? Because families need to feel supported in all the places that they live, birth, work, play, shop, dine…

We also welcomed new communities this year, and all continue to fully commit to the vision (of)

a world in which communities make a commitment to equitable policies and practices to protect and promote the rights of all breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and human milk feeding families and to support all families to meet their breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and human milk feeding goals.

Check out their websites! (https://breastfeedingcommunities.org/our-communities/) If your community is not listed, contact us for resources to help your community get started on the journey. 

The Boardroom…or rather, Room on the Board

We also celebrate the work of the BFFC Board. Our Board welcomed new members, and we want to take this opportunity to introduce the 2022 Board.

Saisahana Subburaj

Saisahana is a third year undergraduate student at Duke University studying a self-designed major titled “Global Women’s Health in Asia: Culture, History, and Power.” Her academic and personal passion manifests in her interdisciplinary experience with global determinants of women’s health outcomes. She hopes to become a women’s health provider in the future!

Shawna Daniels

Shawna is a doctoral student in the College of Education at NC State University with over 20 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, working with children (birth to 12 years old), their families, and educators in a variety of roles.  In the last 10 years, she has focused on coaching, mentoring, and supporting pre-service and in-service Early Childhood educators in all areas related to classroom management, child development, and professional development.

Her passion for breastfeeding equity stems from her own experiences after the birth of her son in 2003. She has been an active advocate for both healthcare & lactation support access and parent education in Early Childhood centers through statewide child care provider training and technical assistance as well as the local and statewide Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care designations.

Love Anderson

Love’s role as a parent of two high-spirited boys inspires shapes and informs her advocacy efforts. Her professional background is in the areas of system analytics, physics, and education. After starting to breastfeed her two children with special needs, she began volunteering in the field of lactation support, universal access, and community support.

With a focus on the intersection of race equity and inclusive design, over the past few years she had the opportunity to view community breastfeeding support from two different perspectives as the director of a volunteer driven breastfeeding advocacy group, Breastfeed Durham, and working as a Community Health Worker for the Durham County Health Department. Love is now transitioning her focus to statewide and national first food equity projects. Believing that the creation of a breastfeeding family friendly community can start to ameliorate inequities, she works to promote avenues of support for human milk feeding families, as well as advocates for policies that protect families rights, in order that each family may meet their own personal goals.

Kathleen Anderson

Kathleen began working with the BFFC initiative while at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She was delighted to be a part of the development team for the pilot in her local community and continued to work with BFFC after retirement.

A background in teaching and early intervention has given Kathleen the opportunity to provide resources on optimal infant development to families and communities for over 25 years. She also has continued to advocate for policies and practices that support children and their families. Kathleen’s love for breast/chestfeeding and her understanding of its vital role in a child’s development began as a nursing parent, and her work in early intervention has given Kathleen a deeper appreciation of the importance of equity in breast/chestfeeding promotion, protection, and support. Kathleen firmly believes that our communities play a pivotal role in improving the health and well-being of children and families by welcoming nursing families to feed their children safely and happily in all areas of community life.

Interested in learning more about joining the Board? Please reach out!

The statement grew…our Mission continues!

The BFFC mission has always been to create welcoming communities for nursing families. What does a “welcoming” community entail? Is it just a “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” sign on the Health Department front door? Will a family feel secure to nurse their child when they see that sign? A crucial component of welcome is safety, and parents are justified in asking: Will MY family be safe nursing here?

How do we provide a safe, welcoming community? Equity is the key component. Successful breast/chestfeeding and the health of infants and their families depend on equitable and inclusive support.

The mission statement needed to better indicate this key component. The Mission Statement now reflects the importance of equity and diversity. (https://breastfeedingcommunities.org/mission-vision-goals/)  BFFC communities are an integral part of equitable, safe, welcoming support for families.

Collaborating, Expanding…A Quick Review of 2021 Activities

Raised a Collective Voice

We are excited to share that Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities (BFFC) has been accepted as a national, non-profit member of the US Breastfeeding Committee, “an independent nonprofit coalition of more than 100…organizations that share a common mission to drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States.” BFFC looks forward to continued collaboration with USBC and its member organizations to raise a collective voice in support of breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and human milk feeding policies and practices to support infants and their families.

And we were featured in the USBC Weekly Wire, May 20, 2021, State and Community News!

Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community Proclaimed, summarized from Carrboro, NC

Carrboro Mayor, Lydia Lavelle, signed a proclamation designating Carrboro, North Carolina, as a “breastfeeding family friendly community.” The local designation supports parents and childcare staff to continue breastfeeding and offering expressed milk, when returning to work or school, and supports childcare staff with on-site breastfeeding facilities or spaces.

Collaborated with Local Communities

…in Childcare

Childcare providers play an important role in supporting lactating parents who return to work or school. BFFC partnered with the North Carolina Partnership for Young Children, Breastfeed Durham, and Breastfeed Orange NC to create a webinar series – Building Blocks of Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare. Ten monthly webinars provided education and resources that align with the North Carolina Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare designation. The webinars will be available free of charge for North Carolina childcare providers.

BFFC board members also collaborated with Breastfeed Durham and Breastfeed Orange NC to create a local Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care designation. The local designation provides a format that allows a childcare provider to work on different components of the designation and to request technical assistance from local childcare consultants throughout the process. When completed, the childcare provider will have the information needed to complete the state designation.

…in Community Partner Awards

The business community can have an impact on how long parents are able to nurse their children. Businesses and organizations that sign on to the initiative publicly show that they are welcoming and safe spaces for lactating employees, customers, and members, allowing them to continue to breast/chestfeed while shopping, dining, playing, learning, and working in the community. 

Continuing in collaboration with Breastfeed Orange NC and Breastfeed Durham, we helped to create a local Community Partner/Employer award. The award provides an opportunity for members of the local BFFC teams to connect directly with local businesses.

If you are interested in learning more about the local Child Care or Community Partner/Employer designation, please reach out (contact@breastfeedingcommunities.org)! We are happy to provide technical assistance to help you create a designation in your community. 

…in a Family Event!

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in August, it was great fun to collaborate with the communities in Chatham, Durham, and Orange counties on a Family Photo event. This outdoor event took place over three consecutive Saturday afternoons with a limited number of time slots for photo sessions each afternoon to keep everyone safe and healthy, especially our littlest ones. While the event was announced throughout National Breastfeeding Month, the photo shoots took place in September to take advantage of the ever-so-slightly drier and cooler days of September in central North Carolina. 

Expanded Awareness

In collaboration with members of the Chatham, Durham, and Orange County communities, we presented a 10-minute video for the August 2021 National Maternal Health Innovation Symposium, titled “The Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities Initiative.” It was the first time that the team created a video presentation, and it was a wonderful opportunity to share information from multiple perspectives in one place. Check out the presentation on YouTube.

Last, but not least(!), sharing information about Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities nationally with new communities was another highlight of the year! We were able to get to know members of the communities, albeit virtually, hear their questions, and learn about the great work that they already were doing in their areas. Thank you! 

  • Pennsylvania Chapter of the AAP, FIrst Food & K10 Spring Collaborative, May meetings
  • Indiana State Breastfeeding Coalition, July meeting
  • #757Breastfeeds Coalition (Virginia), October meeting
Please don’t hesitate to reach out (contact@breastfeedingcommunities.org), if you are interested in scheduling a presentation.

It was an exciting year! The challenges were present; however, they were not the whole story. We had a lot to celebrate, and there is promise in 2022 for continued celebration. Thank you to all for your support, your collaboration, your time, and your commitment to creating safe and welcoming communities for nursing families.