LactPower is a community-based, equity centered breastfeeding support service program in Benton Harbor, focused on centering the needs of Black families while providing culturally responsive care by trusted providers that reside in and represent the community they serve. Black families are often unable to access unbiased care and are facing public policies that limit their breastfeeding success, including inequitable workplace, unpaid leave, and child care policies. LactPower addresses these barriers by providing direct services to families in the community through empowerment, education, and support.
Mission: To nurture and connect Black families in Benton Harbor through birth and breastfeeding education, support, and community building
Service model: Providing trauma-informed holistic birth and breastfeeding care for Black families by trusted lactation supporters who reflect and represent Black families in Benton Harbor
- Monthly classes on birthing and breastfeeding
- Twice monthly SHINE Breastfeeding support groups
- Individual consults
- Outreach and referrals for additional health care services by trusted providers
- Doula services
Successes to date:
- 2020 Community Conversations participant with 7 Benton Harbor families to learn the assets and barriers present within the local community that impact birth and breastfeeding outcomes
- Member of the 2021 CORE Cohort
- Racial Equity COVID19 Fund Awardee
- Great Lakes Breastfeeding Webinars July 2021 presentation: “Breastfeeding Fundamentals and the Workplace”
- Wrote and submitted to the City of Benton Harbor August Breastfeeding Month Proclamation 2021
- Statewide: Monthly virtual MIBFN Local Breastfeeding Supporter Meetings and Mi Milk Collective meetings to represent Black families in Benton Harbor on statewide initiatives
Tameka White, Proprietor, is an active birth and breastfeeding worker within Berrien County, a Certified Lactation Specialist (CLS) and doula, and has recently expanded her services to include childbirth education. Tameka is a trusted provider who has worked consistently within her community for years as an important advocate for families during the vulnerable time of birthing. Tameka serves as a resource for families seeking birth and breastfeeding education and support with compassion and authenticity. Tameka not only serves these families but also works to connect them with key services and resources within the community as they navigate their breastfeeding journey together. As the first Black IBCLC in Berrien County, families will benefit from an advanced scope of lactation support previously unavailable to them. Creating this opportunity for the first Black IBCLC will undoubtedly provide a pathway for other aspiring lactation providers, opening up the field of lactation support for Black professionals.
- Michigan Breastfeeding Network
- Mi Milk Collective
- Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color
- Black and Indigenous Leaders of the CORE Cohort
- SHINE of Benton Harbor
- Berrien County WIC Program
Our Vision for the Future:
We envision that every Black, Indigenous and family of Color (BIPOC) in Benton Harbor is surrounded by interconnected, trusted, BIPOC-led community based birth and breastfeeding support.
We envision government entities throughout Michigan, specifically in Berrien County writing, passing, and enforcing Policies that center, honor, and uplift BIPOC breastfeeding families.
We envision Black Breastfeeding Week celebrations every August honor the triumphs and resilience of BIPOC families who are reclaiming Black breastfeeding AND propel forward a BIPOC-led series of events to be held throughout the month of August and week of Black Breastfeeding Week.
Our Immediate Next Steps include:
- Community Conversation: For 2021, will include past participant families as well as new participants
- Outreach: A communications outreach strategy will be developed and implemented.
- IBCLC Credentialing: will expand the scope of services that LactPower is able to provide
- Fund Development: Secure equitable and sustainable compensation needed to provide classes and group support. To donate, visit mibreastfeeding.org/donate and put “LactPower” in the subject line.