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Julia Reeves on ‘Philly Loves Breastfeeding’

April 24, 2019

Breastfeeding has immense benefits for mothers and infants; however, racial disparities in breastfeeding persist — with families of color breastfeeding at lower rates. African American and Hispanic families face unique barriers to breastfeeding and receiving quality maternal care, including systemic, institutional, and interpersonal racism and stigma. During this presentation, Reeves will take you behind-the-scenes of a local multimedia breastfeeding campaign, Philly Loves Breastfeeding, that seeks to promote racial equity and connect families to culturally congruent lactation resources.

In focus groups, families have expressed feeling unsupported in their efforts to breastfeed. Driven by community voice, Philly Loves Breastfeeding shares positive representations of families of color breastfeeding on billboards, public transit platforms and news stands as well as in doctors offices to shift city norms and create a culture of support. The local response has been overwhelmingly positive with families connecting to resources and reporting that the public images signal that breastfeeding is welcome. Despite being a “by Philly for Philly” campaign, Philly Loves Breastfeeding garnered national (with organic orders from over 13 states and Puerto Rico) and international attention. Reeves will share the community-driven approach behind Philly Loves Breastfeeding and the lessons learned from its positive local, national and international response. Beyond breastfeeding, the presentation will review the broader implications of the campaign for cities striving to shift norms and promote racial justice through public messaging.

Julia Reeves is the special projects manager at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health. In this role, she leads two campaigns (Philly Loves Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep Philly) advises the coordination of the Philadelphia Fetal and Infant Mortality Review team, and supervises a fatherhood resources awareness initiative.

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