COLUMBIA, S.C. — A group in Columbia, Mocha Mama's Milk, is working to change the breastfeeding landscape by making African American mothers more comfortable with the practice through a new feasibility research study.
Starting April 1, 2022 and running through June of 2023, the group is starting a study involving 15 mothers from two local clinics, at 1801 Sunset Drive and Med Park 2 in Columbia.
This study will pay these mothers, their lactation consultants and peer moms through a series of educational opportunities like learning how to best prepare for breastfeeding.
"With this intervention, there’s going to be five different time points, so they will get education, but we will be getting some survey data from them during that prenatal stage, after they deliver," USC college of nursing professor Tisha Felder said. "We will also be collecting data about them through the lactation consultant and the peer moms."
Felder said a lack of consistency in breastfeeding from these women comes from history.
"Many times the enslaved women were made to breastfeed the children of slave owners and not often had the same opportunity to even breastfeed their own children. So, I often say I don’t know that it's that we are necessarily sitting down with our families and sharing that history, but it’s more of the trauma from that history," Felder said.
In this study, she’s working to address these barriers, as well as others like mothers who work outside of the home and mothers who don't have a clean area to breastfeed. Felder said she wants to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding for both the child and the mother.
"One of the most compelling benefits of breast feeding, particularly for African American women, is breast feeding can reduce the risk of very aggressive breast cancers," Felder said.
The end game is to eventually expand this study with a larger pool of mothers, and to implement a breastfeeding program at Prisma and other health agencies across the United States.
If you or another mother are interested in this study, being involved in another future study, or getting additional breastfeeding resources, you can reach out to Mocha Mama's Milk on Facebook, Instagram or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.