Aug 25, 2017

Detroit’s First Lactation Lounge & Mother’s Empowerment Hub Opens Tuesday, August 29th

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Noon at the Matrix Center 

Henry Ford Health System and Medela USA key supporters in innovative community effort to reduce Detroit infant mortality 

On August 29th at 12pm, the First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI) will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of “The Mother’s Room—a place to nurse and nurture,” Detroit’s first community lactation lounge and mother’s empowerment hub to be located in the Matrix Human Services center located at 13560 E. McNichols in East Detroit.

The milestone-opening event, taking place during the 5th annual National Black Breastfeeding Week, is the culmination of a three-year pilot project in the Osborn community funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Last summer, nine local moms were trained to design and execute interventions that they determined would help better support breastfeeding in their community. They participated in a 4-week paid internship to work in their community implementing their ideas. Among their wish list: a community lounge for breastfeeding.

“I am proud to see the vision of Detroit’s own community moms come to fruition,” said Kimberly Seals Allers, director of the 3FCI project and a national infant health advocate who spearheaded The Mother’s Room effort.

The ceremony and tour will be hosted by 3rd District Councilman Scott Benson and include representatives from Henry Ford Health System, a key sponsor of the room along with Medela USA, as well as representatives from the Department of Health, Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) and Mommy Friendly Detroit.

Detroit has one of the country’s highest infant mortality rates in the U.S. and increased breastfeeding can help reduce that. “We are transforming the infant and maternal health narrative in Detroit, from the community up,” said Seals Allers, an author and former senior editor at Essence. “We are grateful for the support of Henry Ford Health and Medela USA to make such an important statement in the community,” she said.

Henry Ford Health System is sponsoring the cost of the room and Medela USA has provided a hospital-grade breast pump and other ongoing supplies. The Mother’s Room will also be used to host parenting classes, health screenings, support groups and other activities.

“Mothers in Michigan have a legal right to nurse anywhere and everywhere, but they also deserve a clean, welcoming space to nurse privately if they choose. Knowing they can breastfeed easily in their community helps breastfeeding continue longer and increases the health benefits to mothers and babies,” says Kiddada Green, founding executive director of Detroit-based, Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association.

“We’re excited to support healthier moms and babies in the Osborn community by providing this space,” said Ken Brown, director of the Matrix Center. The room will be open 9am-7pm, on weekdays and 9am-4pm on the weekend.

The milestone event takes place during national Black Breastfeeding Week, a weeklong awareness campaign, now in its fifth year.

“I am proud to see the 3rd District lead the way for all of Detroit to become First Food Friendly and more supportive of breastfeeding for healthier moms and babies,” said Councilman Scott Benson.

About The First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI):
3FCI is an innovative pilot project, in Detroit and Philadelphia, to create a national accreditation model for breastfeeding supportive communities in areas with high infant mortality rates. Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 3FCI redefines who is the “expert” in solving the infant and maternal health challenges in the black community and believes that communities have the innate ability and experiential knowledge to save themselves. The project hires and trains local moms to determine which interventions might work best in their neighborhoods and then offers a paid internship experience, along with job skills training and support, for them to execute those plans. In Detroit, the 3FCI community change agents, secured commitments or put “Breastfeeding is Welcome Here” signage in 43 local businesses, including restaurants, businesses, child care centers and other places local moms frequent. See the Detroit work here. 

About the Sponsors:
Founded in 1915, Henry Ford Health System is a not-for-profit corporation committed to improving the health and well-being of Michigan’s diverse community. One of the nation’s largest group practices, comprised of hospitals as well as medical centers, Henry Ford Health System is the fifth-largest employer in metro Detroit—employing 30,000+ employees.

Medela offers award-winning and mom-favorite breast milk feeding products to meet the needs of every mom. Every year, more than one million mothers in the U.S. rely on Medela’s technology. For more than 30 years, Medela has focused on providing the best in research-based breast milk feeding products and clinical education to support moms’ breast milk feeding journey. Medela’s US-based manufacturing and development facility is headquartered in McHenry, Illinois with an additional facility in Elgin, Illinois.

About Kimberly Seals Allers:
Kimberly is an award-winning journalist, author and internationally recognized advocate and speaker on infant and maternal health. A respected thought leader in the field, she has presented at Congressional hearings, for the National Medical Association and the First Lady’s Partnership for a Healthier America, among others and is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. As a consultant, Kimberly develops strategic messaging and communication initiatives with organizations to improve the programmatic outcomes of their infant health initiatives. A former writer at Fortune and senior editor at Essence magazine, Kimberly’s fifth book, The Big Let Down—How Medicine, Big Business and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding was released by St. Martin’s Press in January.  Learn more at 

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

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