Milk Like Mine
MIBFN and Milk Like Mine began collaborating in 2019 with Milk Like Mine presenting at the MIBFN Quarterly Network Meeting in Kalamazoo. Since then, the collaboration has grown with Milk Like Mine securing seed funding through MIBFN 310 Connect Calhoun County to support Milk Like Mine and Sistah 2 Sistah annual efforts. Milk Like Mine also served on the 2020 Community Conversations Advisory Council. Most recently, MIBFN and Milk Like Mine partnered on a joint fundraiser. MIBFN is grateful to have the opportunity to serve alongside Milk Like Mine as they work to serve and support families in the Battle Creek area.
Milk Like Mine is a coalition that is dedicated to addressing disparities in their community, educating families, and empowering community in order to improve maternal and infant mortality throughout Battle Creek.
The networking opportunities facilitated by Milk Like Mine are monthly coalition meetings with families of color and community members to come together to address disparities, how to overcome breastfeeding barriers, what support is needed in our community, and event planning.
Direct support for breastfeeding families includes the monthly Sistah to Sistah Breastfeeding Club for women of color who are pregnant or breastfeeding as well as individual consults. Sistah 2 Sistah creates an opportunity to speak freely with other mothers about anything and everything breastfeeding related. Lactation support on common issues and breastfeeding supplies are also provided during breastfeeding club. Individual consultations are also available from skilled lactation professionals offered by providers that reflect the families they serve.
Milk Like Mine also works on community advocacy to address the larger issues of health disparities in Battle Creek, specifically breastfeeding rates and infant mortality, through normalization of breastfeeding with hospitals, employers, and community members.
Leadership, Partnerships, and Members:
Milk Like Mine was established under the leadership of Rickishia Williams, CLS and Stephanie Freeman, CLC. The leadership team currently includes:
- Rickeshia Williams – Co-Founder and Facilitator
- Stephanie Freeman – Co-Founder and Facilitator
- Lacretha Perkins – Chief of Marketing and Media
- Desiree Bannister – Photo Documentarian
Additional Current Members of the Milk Like Mine include:
- Jazimien Clark
- TraVonna Smith
- Rayven Felix
- Shanequa Clark
- Talena White
- Jessie Reyes
- Keona Ackely
- Tenisha Craft
Joint Fundraiser with MIBFN:
Yes, it’s true. Women of Color breastfeed too! In collaboration with Milk Like Mine, breastfeeding onesies, totes, shirts, and more are now available for purchase in our online storefront. In addition, we are excited to announce we have Zoom backgrounds available for download! Proceeds from the store and the Zoom background downloads will be split 50/50 with Milk Like Mine to support Milk Like Mine’s work of providing lactation support, coalition meetings for Women of Color Monthly, and mother-to-mother support groups for pregnant and breastfeeding women. MIBFN uses our portion to strengthen our policy advocacy efforts. Thank you for your support!
Vision for the Future:
- We envision that every Black, Indigenous and family of Color (BIPOC) in Battle Creek is surrounded by interconnected, trusted, BIPOC-led community based breastfeeding support.
- We envision government entities throughout Michigan, specifically in Calhoun 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.
Immediate Next Steps include:
- Secure equitable and sustainable compensation for group leaders
- Establish a co-owned meeting space
- Obtain 501c3 designation
- Breastfeeding supplies and PPE equipment for in-person peer and professional breastfeeding support and education
- Birth and Breastfeeding virtual support with families who birth at Bronson Hospital
- Continue weekly Sistah to Sistah virtual support group in partnership with Southeast Michigan IBCLCs of Color
- Continue monthly Milk Like Mine virtual coalition meetings
- Provide free telehealth lactation consults for families across Battle Creek
- Establish school-based breastfeeding support and education program at schools in Battle Creek
- Expand to offer services at local pediatric and obstetric provider offices
- Continued partnership with WIC to obtain referrals in order to provide culturally relevant, skilled lactation support
- Establish avenue to offer virtual support to mothers that may be alone in the hospital settings