Challenges: How Our Communities are Moving Around or Through or Over Challenges.
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, implementation team members from our Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities were approached for insights into the challenges and celebrations, the current tasks and goals, that are a part of building a welcoming, equitable community for breast/chestfeeding families. These thoughtful responses revealing the hard work, humor, resourcefulness, and uniqueness of each BFFC community. We hope that the information will inspire your community to begin the journey to become a Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community.
The first question of this four-part series of questions was about Challenges: How have you moved around or through or over your challenges?
It is not surprising that the most pressing challenge right now is COVID-19.
“Our biggest challenge has been COVID-19. So, it’s been a tough two years but we are now making headway.”
Restrictions on in-person contact impacted the work of connecting with community agencies, organizations, and agencies – businesses, childcare programs, healthcare providers, governments. The importance of in-person contact was made more apparent as implementation teams worked virtually to reach out to the community organizations and businesses, and team members saw a lack of engagement within their communities.
“Not being able to do much in-person contact with child care programs may be leading to a lack of engagement with them locally.”
Cancelled events due to COVID-19 also were a challenge, and implementation teams needed to sustain energy and enthusiasm to continue preparations of these events in anticipation of a time when they can take place.
“The [event] was ready to go for the 2020 season, which unfortunately was canceled due to COVID. Our event in August is celebrating three things: August and World Breastfeeding Month, the partnership between State WIC and the local baseball team, and the much awaited kick off of our BFFC designation project. Then the fun starts of outreach.”
The challenge of COVID-19 also was seen as an opportunity.
“In some ways, COVID has allowed us to take a step back, so hopefully we can take a step forward in the year to come. Our board and staff completed an 18-month action plan last year, and breastfeeding support and advocacy are a key component of that plan. We’re trying to learn how to work smarter, not burn ourselves out.”
Always a contender in the area of challenges is time, or rather, not enough time! Moving through or around this challenge is more difficult, as there always is more work than we are able to accomplish.
We are grateful for the tenacity and perseverance of the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities to continue the work while meeting the challenges.
In the next post, it will be all about Lessons Learned and what the communities are working on right now.