The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many new and expecting moms to get the support they need in person for things like breastfeeding. But there are options available for them - virtually.
Organizations focused on moms and babies, like Birthing Beautiful Communities, say it's important to connect now more than ever so they’re expanding their reach.
Brianna Dennis is mom to five kids, including 1-year-old Mal’akhi.
“He's a very calm child and I think a lot of that comes from our closeness,” Dennis said.
She attributes that closeness to the time Mal’akhi spends breastfeeding, but it wasn’t always easy.
“I think it took about six weeks before he would latch completely.”
Dennis got the help she needed from Birthing Beautiful Communities. It's an organization made up of African-American doulas who provide support for women during and after pregnancy.
Back in 2017, they started a lactation program.
“Our curriculum has always been to make sure that the women feel empowered to breastfeed, that they have real information and real knowledge around it,” India Robertson, Director of Expansion and Training for BBC, said.
Typically, Robertson - who is also a board-certified lactation consultant - would lead classes in person, teaching women everything from how to get their babies to latch to if their babies are getting enough milk. But now, she’s holding classes a couple of times a week on Zoom.
“We were afraid that a lot of women wouldn't be able to connect, which is not true. they're still able to connect to us. They're still getting the information that they need,” Robertson said.
Mom of 7, Yukeana Stallworth, attends the Zoom classes to get breastfeeding support for her 7-month-old son, Darrien. It's been an adjustment, but she’s grateful.
“I miss seeing the ladies face to face. I love that face to face interaction,” Stallworth said.
She’s encouraging new and expecting moms to join their now virtual community.
“Just having another relatable person who said I've been where you are, I know what you're going through," Stallworth said. "I know how you're feeling is just so pleasing to the ears to hear.”
Birthing Beautiful Communities also has a 24/7 hot line that moms can call when they need help: 216-402-0924. Moms can also visit their website for more information on how to receive servces and attend classes.
The Ohio Department of Health has also launched a new 24/7 breastfeeding hot line: 1-888-588-3423