The Asian Breastfeeding Task Force

About Us

The Asian Breastfeeding Task Force is a group of passionate people who are dedicated to promoting and supporting breastfeeding in Asian community.

Los Angeles County is home to the largest Asian American population in the US. Over half a million Asian Americans and 7,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders reside in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys (Service Planning Area 3). In 2015, two-thirds of babies born at Garfield Medical Center and half of babies born at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center were Asian. Hospital data shows that most births were from first generation immigrants from Asia, the majority from China.

Barriers to breastfeeding in this community include:

  • Corporate interests that promote formula as better than breastmilk
  • Lack of lactation education for physicians & clinical practices that are not breastfeeding-friendly
  • Only 6% of lactation professionals in LA are Asian
  • Almost half of Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley are limited English proficient, yet prenatal medical visits offer little breastfeeding education using language-appropriate materials
  • Parenting style is deeply rooted in Asian culture and is not always congruent with current Baby-Friendly hospital practices

In August of 2017, concerned community members, professionals from hospitals, PHFE WIC, BreastfeedLA, and LA County Department of Public Health formed an Asian Breastfeeding Task Force to address the lower rates of Asian breastfeeding identified at hospitals and local WIC offices.  The Task Force discussed barriers to breastfeeding faced by Asian families and identified potential strategies for overcoming these barriers.

Community members lead the Task Force, convening quarterly meetings and inviting new members.  Members have successfully sought funding for projects. With over 20 members, the Task Force continues to grow.

Objective:

The Asian Breastfeeding Task Force recognizes the unique cultural and educational needs of Asian and Asian-American new parents.  The Task Force seeks to decrease inequities and normalize breastfeeding in Los Angeles County’s Asian communities by improving breastfeeding education and support practices, and by removing systemic barriers that prevent breastfeeding from flourishing.

Current Projects:

Provider Engagement: Training Asian obstetric offices to provide prenatal breastfeeding education to patients

Community Engagement:  Creating a website for Asian language breastfeeding materials and Asian Breastfeeding services; establishing a social media presence with an Asian Facebook page

Public Campaign: Implementing a photo voice project funded through Birth Equity Leadership Academy with a goal of normalizing breastfeeding in the Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Valley

Future Plans:

Plan for Sustainability: Expand membership to include Asian businesses, advocacy groups and more health care facilities;  evaluate the impact of our efforts

Provider Engagement: Conduct key informant interviews to learn views/perspectives of Asian health professionals, resulting in targeted breastfeeding education and recommendations for system changes

Workforce Development: Identify current Asian IBCLCs in Los Angeles County. Create opportunities to develop more Asian lactation professionals through the BreastfeedLA Lactation Education Specialist (LES) training program.

Please see our Video Resources library.

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