FICA is a community initiative dedicated to increasing the number of lactation professionals of color to increase breastfeeding rates while reducing infant mortality rates in underrepresented Black and Brown communities.
Black women are three to four times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy, compared to white women. Their babies suffer an infant mortality rate that more than doubles that of white children. These babies need breast milk the most. Black women breastfeed their babies at lower rates than white women, according to a new government study. Boosting breastfeeding support is imperative for black women and their children because it can improve mortality rates in the U.S.
Breastfeeding disparities among Black and Brown families persist due to many systemic factors such as lack of culturally sensitive support, access to adequate health care and hospitals, poor and discriminant hospital policies and practices such as predatory marketing of breast milk to new mothers and insufficient local state and national policies that address social determinants of health that impact breastfeeding rates.
FICA believes encouraging these same mothers and persons in our communities or community advocates who have experienced and overcome some of the aforementioned challenges by becoming breast/chest feeding peer counselors and to continue their training to obtain a license to become an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
Currently, less than 2% percent of the IBCLCs in the US identify as Black and FICA aims to increase those numbers by encouraging candidates to consider the field of lactation. We support those in training by connecting them with educational and professional development opportunities through continuing education, lactation lectures and conferences, career opportunities, professional development webinars and more. FICA will service communities through direct services such as prenatal breastfeeding or chest feeding classes and pairing mothers and birthing persons with peer counselors and lactation educators for ongoing support.
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.
Our mission is dedicated to repairing and transforming the historical trauma of systemic oppression placed on Black and Brown mothers and babies breastfeeding their babies by increasing the number of lactation consultants in Black and Brown communities to help mothers reclaim their bodies and their breast milk.
We recognize the intersections of gender and sexuality with breastfeeding families. We work to build and bridge communities that have been affected by systems of oppression that marginalize Black mothers and birthing persons by welcoming and affirming people to be their whole selves, honoring their multiple identities and life experiences.