New campaign aimed at breastfeeding

Posted at 6:41 PM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 07:26:10-04

Mom A'Jai Jackson plans to breastfeed her daughter Madison until she's two-years-old, maybe longer.

"It got easier as we finally learned how to do it correctly, but in the beginning I had the roughest time," she said.

But, Jackson pushed forward thanks to help from friends, family and healthcare professionals.

"I still had to do it myself, but it was really supportive, like I felt more confident," she said.

The Ingham County Health Department says not enough moms are finding that confidence, leading to fewer and fewer women breastfeeding, especially in the African American community.

"Culturally, the African American population has not embraced it. We think there's a lot of historical perspectives from that, which we are really trying to research ourselves and we're starting to have focus groups and talk to moms," explained the Health Department's Director of the Maternal Child Health Division, Regina Traylor.

Jackson told Fox 47 News she thinks it's a lack of support, the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in public and not enough education.

"They'll think the babies not latching on correctly, so they'll think oh she doesn't know how to do it or something like that," Jackson explained. "Instead of looking at it as a challenge, they see it as a barrier, and give up completely."

That's why she wanted to be a part of the campaign, which is trying to push moms to not give up and letting them know help is available form places like the Willow Tree Family Center.

Executive Director, Nicole Greiter, explained, "It's nice because you have other experienced moms there who can share their experience and help moms know that what they're experiencing is normal and they're not alone."

As they work to grow strong, healthy babies like Madison.

The Federal Government's goal is to have 75% of women breastfeeding.

Right now, only about 55% of African American mothers do. That drops to 20% three months after the child is born.

The Ingham County Health Department and their partners, the Willow Tree Family Center and Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition, created the website to offer resources and more information on the campaign.