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National Breastfeeding Month Events Focus on Equity

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Localities across the nation, including Dane County, will celebrate National Breastfeeding Month throughout August, and Black Breastfeeding Week during August 25-31.

In honor of both of these events, Public Health Madison & Dane County will host a showing of  “Chocolate Milk: The Documentary” on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 5:30- 8:00 p.m. at the Urban League of Greater Madison, 2222 South Park Street. This film explores how race and sex influence breastfeeding rates for Black moms through the stories of three women. 

“This screening of Cholcalate Milk will be sort of the big highlight of our celebration throughout the month,” Public Health Supervisor Katarina Grande, MPH said.

This screening follows the Breastfeeding Equity Open House which took place back in April. Grande said Public Health Madison & Dane County also collaborated with Harambee Village Doulas, the African American Breastfeeding Alliance, Centro Hispano, and Raíces para el cambio (Roots 4 Change) for the event. The screening is free and includes dinner. 

“They are fabulous partners and we are grateful to work with them,” Grande said.

At the event, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about the efforts of these organizations before the screening. Like the Breastfeeding Equity Open House, representatives of those organizations will be available to provide additional information to individuals at the screening.

“There’s going to be food. We will have some swag and resources on our table,” Grande said.

Public Health Madison & Dane County plans to increase the network of breastfeeding locations throughout the city. Grande said the parks department has been very helpful in contacting them for public events. In addition to encouraging lactation tents at community events located in parks, Grande said the organization would like to see more accessible lactation spaces at restaurants and local businesses. 

“We hope that business owners in the private sectors will start providing spaces for women who breastfeed,” she said.

Public Health Madison & Dane County also offers a microgrant and will work with local business owners to develop spaces for breastfeeding. Grande said sometimes creating a private lactation space requires a little creativity. 

“Our public health team focuses a lot on businesses that are smaller or don’t necessarily have the resources, that don’t have the space,” she said.

Grande said the grant will support businesses in repurposing spaces for breastfeeding. She said it is essential elements include an outlet for pumping and a little bit of privacy in a space that’s about ten feet. 

The grant helps businesses create a lactation/nursing space for employees and visitors, enhance a current lactation/nursing space, and/or provide breastfeeding supplies for nursing employees and visitors that may not otherwise have access. Grande said businesses could use the grant to buy a comfortable chair to be used for nursing or other items. 

“We have plenty of team members that are happy to go check out spaces,” she said.

Grande said they are working with a lot of community organizations to have businesses open up their lactation spaces to the public. Public Health Madison & Dane County has even started mapping out lactation spaces on their website.