Chocolate Milk Mommies promotes breastfeeding among black women.
Breastfeeding offers a host of benefits for both mom and baby. According to the most recent CDC data, around 80 percent of Hispanic women initiate breastfeeding, as do 75 percent of white women. However, breastfeeding initiation rates for black mothers lag behind, at around 59 percent.
Potential culprits include a lack of education and a lack of support. According to a Chapman University study, black women are nine times likelier than white women to be given formula while in the hospital. Some also cite the stigma surrounding breastfeeding among some members of the black community.
However, the local group, Chocolate Milk Mommies, is out to change that.
In August 2017, local mom Angel Warren posted on Facebook in hopes of gathering a group of black mothers for a photo shoot to commemorate Black Breastfeeding Week. The photo shoot was a success, and participants continued to lean on one another for support, advice, babysitting, and more—and Chocolate Milk Mommies was born.
Their goal, says co-founder Charity Moore, is to educate black women about the benefits of breastfeeding in hopes of encouraging initiation and continuation rates within the community.
“We want to combat stereotypes and eliminate health disparities amongst the population by offering support, counseling, and peer-to-peer advice—all backed by evidence-based research to dispel any myths, rumors, or miseducation,” Moore says.
In an exciting turn of events, Chocolate Milk Mommies has attracted more than just local attention. A goddess-themed photo of the group, organized by Angel Warren, quickly went viral and was featured in People Magazine and several other online publications from BET.com to the Huffington Post. “The article in People actually helped our group to grow quickly,” Moore says, “and it’s led more people to our social media platforms where we post informative videos, infographics, and event details.”
The six founding members organize and host events for local moms, and the group is now a
whopping 129 members strong. Their latest event was the group’s first annual Community Baby Shower: an event designed to connect low-income pregnant women and new or soon-to-be parents with maternal and early childhood resources, food, and friendship.
“The Community Baby Shower was amazing,” Moore says. “We were able to help about 20 families with new and gently used baby and breastfeeding essentials. The support from our sponsors helped us to create the impact we wanted.”
Next on the agenda: a Mother’s Day brunch and bimonthly playdates that empower other local moms-to-be to connect with one another.
According to Moore, Chocolate Milk Mommies welcomes new members with open arms. “Our goal is to help as many women as we can, especially with all the misinformation out there,” Moore says. “The more, the merrier!”