We’ve proudly joined forces with The BLACK Collaborative, Inc. in a team effort to address the unique needs and challenges faced by Black pregnant individuals and parents in Cincinnati, OH.
We recently hosted the Black Breastfeeding Week Block Party, an event aimed to provide support, education and resources to approximately 150 Black expectant parents in the community. With a focus on promoting maternal and infant health, the block party fostered a sense of community and connection while celebrating the journey of pregnancy.
But this is just one piece of a vast community puzzle.
We acknowledge the significant racial disparities observed in infant and maternal health outcomes within the Greater Cincinnati region. Black babies experience mortality rates more than three times higher than their white counterparts in Hamilton County.
To combat this reality, our ministry has implemented targeted strategies that center equity and reimagine the approach to care delivery. We believe in taking a holistic approach to care for our communities, so we support the mind, body and spirit of our patients, friends and neighbors.
The importance of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is crucial in promoting infant health and reducing the risk of infant mortality. Racial and ethnic disparities persist in breastfeeding rates, highlighting the need for increased support and resources for Black families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while 83.2 percent of U.S. mothers initiate breastfeeding, only 24.9 percent exclusively breastfeed for the recommended six months.
Addressing health disparities
The Black Breastfeeding Week celebration provided a range of activities and services to support expectant parents. The Parent Cafe session offered valuable information on building a birth team consisting of community health team members, birth team members and lactation support. This session aimed to empower parents with the knowledge and guidance needed for a successful breastfeeding journey.
A sense of community
The block party also emphasized fostering community and connection among families. Attendees could engage in social activities such as games of spades, chess and dominos. These activities provided entertainment and encouraged bonding and support among parents.
Supportive services and resources
Various organizations and programs were present at the event to offer support and resources to Black families. The BLACK Collaborative provided maternal and child health services with resources available from Health Care Access Now, Cradle Cincinnati Connections, our ministry’s Perinatal Outreach Program, Blaq Birth Circle and Me & She Doula Support.
Breastfeeding resources were also available through AMEN, Baby Cafes, Breastfeeding Outreach for Our Beautiful Sisters (BOOBS) and the Southwest Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. Information on infant safety, managed care plans, and rewards programs were also provided to ensure comprehensive support for families.
Through ongoing initiatives and programs, our ministry continues to advocate for the well-being of Black families, ensuring that every parent and baby receives the care and support they deserve.
Learn about the maternity care services we provide at Mercy Health.