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Are you passionate about supporting other families in their breastfeeding journey?

Apply to join the Breastfeeding Real Talk Virtual Support Team!

The Issue:

Human milk is a complete immunity-boosting food, critically important to the long-term health of babies and breast/chestfeeding parents. It is medically recommended as infants’ exclusive food source through at least six months of age and continued for as long as the nursing dyad desire. Yet support for breast/chestfeeding is not equitable and worsening during the pandemic. A major roadblock to breast/chestfeeding for Black and Brown low-income parents is the lack of adequate, culturally appropriate, and representative lactation support. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased isolation, reduced social connections, and heightened many mental health issues for pregnant and postpartum people. The need for culturally appropriate lactation support has grown to critical importance as a result of the pandemic.

With support from the COVID Relief Fund at the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, Nurture is piloting Breastfeeding Real Talk, a FREE virtual support program geared toward Black and Brown parents, with an emphasis on families experiencing economic hardship. Breastfeeding Real Talk participants will be referred by local providers working with parents experiencing financial challenges. The virtual groups will be led by a team of Black and Brown moderators who have received training to include The B.L.A.C.K Course and Postpartum Support Virginia’s Virtual Social Support Training. This pilot project is in keeping with Nurture’s focus on increasing breast/chestfeeding supports for Black and Latinx families and #RVAbreastfeeds goal of creating a Breastfeeding Family Friendly Community

  • The B.L.A.C.K. Course is a 45-hour class recently launched by nationally-known Black Lactation Support Providers for professional lactation education from the Black perspective. It is a full-scope lactation and breastfeeding education course made by and for Black People and folks supporting Black breastfeeding. This course is designed to be a prep course for aspiring International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and breast/chestfeeding counselors. 
  • Postpartum Support Virginia’s Virtual Social Support Training is a 6-hour training that provides an overview of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, treatment options and intervention strategies, roles and responsibilities of social support volunteers, launching and leading peer support groups, and role-playing scenarios and difficult situations.
Objectives:
  1. Establish the Breastfeeding Real Talk Virtual Support Team, whose members will help shape and run an effective, culturally appropriate, virtual lactation support program for Black and Brown parents in the Richmond, Virginia region. 
  2. Use the lessons learned from this six month pilot project to explore opportunities to increase our community’s capacity to provide lactation support for Black and Brown families in Richmond, Virginia, with an emphasis on those experiencing financial challenges. 
Program  Description:
  • Up to four individuals from the Richmond community will be selected to participate in The B.L.A.C.K Course, a 45-hour lactation support course, to take place in virtually June 21 – 25, 2021 and form the Breastfeeding Real Talk (BRT) Virtual Support Team. Nurture will pay for the cost of this training (an $800 value).
  • Each person who successfully completes the full 45 hour training will receive a $250 stipend.
  • BRT Team members will commit to working 2 – 4 hours per week for a five-month post-training period, and will be compensated at the rate of $20/hour on a contract basis. After completing the training, the BRT Team will serve as moderators for two weekly one-hour virtual support groups, each led by a team of two moderators.
  • The BRT Team will meet regularly to refine and evaluate the program.
  • Additionally, Breastfeeding Real Talk Team members will participate in Virtual Social Support Training offered through Postpartum Support Virginia at some point during the six month project.  

Nurture will actively seek funding to support this program beyond the six month pilot period, as we believe culturally appropriate lactation support is a critical component of the health of the Richmond community. 

Candidates with one or more of the following attributes are encouraged to apply to become a member of the Breastfeeding Real Talk Pilot Program: 

  • Black and Brown birthing parents or partners with current or recent breast/chestfeeding experience.
  • Individuals with strong connections in low-income Black and Brown communities in the Greater Richmond Area.
  • Individuals who are bilingual
  • Individuals willing to take a leadership role in shaping a virtual breast/chestfeeding support program that effectively conveys culturally appropriate and evidence-based information and support to parents attending the virtual sessions.

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