Advancing Health Equity In Breastfeeding

advancing health equity in breastfeeding

Announcing new partnerships to advance health equity in breastfeeding . . .

We’re thrilled to announce three new partnerships with Massachusetts based healthcare providers seeking to improve breastfeeding rates among families who disproportionately receive less postpartum care and lactation support. The program is funded by Massachusetts Attorney General Campbell’s Maternal Health Equity grant. This grant aims to reduce maternal health disparities by increasing access to culturally competent maternal health support services. Partners include two federally qualified health centers and one mobile healthcare unit serving families in the first six weeks of life. 

Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast will provide donor milk at no cost to eligible patients at Family Health Center of Worcester, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and Boston Medical Center’s Curbside Care program. Eligible parents plan to breastfeed but need short-term supplementation. The use of donor milk as a supplement, rather than formula, has been linked to higher breastfeeding rates. Successful breastfeeding has significant health benefits for both the nursing parent and the baby. These include lower rates of certain cancers, SIDS, asthma, diabetes, and improved neurodevelopmental outcomes for children. Women who breastfeed have lower rates of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  

Because every baby deserves the chance to thrive . . .

The partners enrolled in the program have existing outpatient lactation programs. They support diverse and historically underserved populations that often have lower breastfeeding rates due to structural barriers. Most of the patients served are low-income and many speak a first language other than English. Through the Attorney General’s grant, we have been able to translate educational materials into the five languages most often spoken by patients.   

Currently, babies at many Massachusetts hospitals can receive donor milk while in the hospital if needed. In community settings, if a baby needs donor milk, a family must cover the processing fees for the milk, which are too expensive for many families. 

Maternal and infant health – together we can make a difference . . .

“We are so grateful to the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Campbell for this support. And we are excited to partner with such well-respected organizations. They are committed to making sure patients have the resources and care needed to reach their own self-determined infant feeding goals. Together we can move the needle on maternal and infant health,” noted Deborah C. Youngblood, CEO for Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. 

Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is an accredited nonprofit community milk bank located in Greater Boston. We collect milk from mothers who have more milk than their own babies need; screen, pasteurize, and test the milk; then dispense it to babies whose parents do not have enough milk for them. Milk donor screening, modeled after blood donor screening, includes health history, physician or midwife approval, and a blood test. We’ve proudly kept safe donor human milk flowing to over 100 hospitals and thousands of families across the Northeast every year since 2011.

Additional information regarding our partners and programs can be found below:

Key Supporters

Maternal Healthy Equity Grant Recipient logo
Yale Appliance logo
Davis Family Foundation logo
Aria Covey Foundation logo
Massachusetts Foundation logo