About the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute

Life's Most Special Journey
Pregnancy and parenthood are two of life’s most special journeys. From baby’s first step to their fullest stride across the graduation stage, we often imagine who our children will become as they grow. We spend the years envisioning what great things they can accomplish and in what ways they will continue the rich, storied legacy of our ancestors as they chart their own path. While our hopes and dreams for them may hold steady throughout the passage of time, ultimately, we center what matters most: their health and happiness.

Our Purpose; For Us, By Us
For far too long, Black families have been denied this vitality. The Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute, designed to advance community-level leadership for racial justice and maternal-child-health, is set to change that. The nine-month, self-paced virtual national program divides itself into eight modules: Leadership Development, Program Development, Fund Development, Organizational Leadership, Advocacy & Public Policy, Content Development, Communications/Messaging, and Cross-functional Team Building. Through podcasts, readings, and monthly Wisdom Circles that converge participants for live, in-depth discussion, the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute fosters the leadership skills of committed maternal health professionals with the goal of improving Black birth and breastfeeding outcomes. Participants will receive a Certificate of Advanced Leadership in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and be recognized in a virtual pinning ceremony upon completion.  

Black Families Deserve Better
The United States remains one of the most medically-advanced countries in the world, yet maternal and infant mortality and preterm birth rates are among the highest of wealthy nations. Disproportionately affected are Black women and babies. Research shows that Black women are more than two to three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white counterparts. In 2018, there were 10.8 Black infant deaths per 1000 live births compared to 4.6 for white infants and for Asian infants. Racial disparities are also evident in the breastfeeding initiation and duration rates for Black babies. Though the benefits of breastfeeding are plenty for mom and baby, nuanced cultural barriers affect breastfeeding success including misinformation, gaps in support, insufficient culturally appropriate promotional effort about said benefits, and concerns about returning to work or school while breastfeeding due to lack of paid leave and workplace accommodations. In 2019, after receiving a three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to bring forth the vision of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association’s Founding Executive Director Kiddada Green and co-founder Victoria Reese, development for the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership began. At the center? The voice of Black mothers.

Be The Change
Change isn't created in silos. It is in our coming and working together that we can advance our community, learning from one another along the way. With the Birth & Breastfeeding Leadership Institute, you can be part of something bigger than yourself.
love, learn, lead, LIBERATE!