Community Baby Shower Focuses on Importance of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding-friendly church in Pittsburg to host free event from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Aug. 3
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Pregnant African-American women and their partners are invited to attend a Community Baby Shower in Pittsburg this Saturday to learn about how breastfeeding can improve their children's health.
The goal of the event-one of many promotions during World Breastfeeding Week-is to improve health outcomes in the African-American community. In Contra Costa County, African-American babies die at twice the rate of other babies before they reach their first birthday and are more likely to suffer from asthma and other illnesses.
Research shows breastfeeding for at least six months helps reduce a child's risk of infection, chronic disease and obesity. Breastfeeding is also good for moms. It helps a woman lose the weight she gained during pregnancy and also reduces her risks for breast and ovarian cancer later on.
Breastfeeding rates among African Americans are lower than other races and ethnicities. In Contra Costa, 73% of African-African mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants in the hospital following delivery, compared to 84.5% of white mothers. The disparity is more pronounced statewide: In California, 52.1% of African-American mothers exclusively breastfeed in hospitals compared to 78% of white mothers, according to 2012 data from the California Department of Public Health.
"There is a breastfeeding gap and it needs to be addressed," said Monique Sims, the regional breastfeeding liaison for Contra Costa Health Services' Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. "The more we can educate African American women about the importance of breastfeeding, the more healthy black babies there will be."
The Community Baby Shower is being held at the Solomon Temple Missionary Baptist Church. The church recently received a grant from Healthy and Active Before 5, a collaborative project that includes Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) and John Muir Health, to set up a lactation room for church members and staff.
Pastor Victor S. Brice of Solomon Temple Missionary Baptist Church said the nursing area will serve as a natural way to engage new and expectant families and make them feel welcome. He said it will also counter the misconception that breastfeeding in public is somehow not appropriate. "Breastfeeding is natural and important to a baby's nourishment and comfort," Pastor Brice said.
Those who attend the free event will be offered information and resources to help them successfully breastfeed. Expectant mothers will receive assistance accessing prenatal and other health care services, and also be matched with peer counselors who will help them breastfeed after their babies are born. There will be workshops on infant nutrition and health for fathers, grandparents and others who play important supporting roles. While the Baby Shower is primarily directed to African-American women and their partners, breastfeeding is important for all babies and all are welcome.
Solomon Temple Missionary Baptist Church is located at 655 California Avenue in in Pittsburg. The Baby Shower, which will go from 9a.m. - 3p.m., is co-sponsored by CCHS, the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, Kaiser Permanente and A More Excellent Way, a nonprofit health improvement organization.
Additional local promotions during World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7) will take place at the WIC offices in Brentwood, Concord, Pittsburg and Richmond, as well as at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez. For more information, visit cchealth.org/services/breastfeeding/ or cchealth.org/column/
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