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First free breastfeeding clinic in La. opens in New Orleans

THE LOUISIANA WEEKLY — The New Orleans Breastfeeding Center — the only freestanding breastfeeding clinic in the state — recently opened at 2714 Canal St. in New Orleans.



By Nayita Wilson

The New Orleans Breastfeeding Center — the only freestanding breastfeeding clinic in the state — recently opened at 2714 Canal St. in New Orleans.

Strategically located along one of the busiest public transportation routes in the city, the center boasts 2300 sq. ft., which includes three lactation rooms as well as classroom space for support groups and classes on breastfeeding, childbirth, parenting and continuing education.

Co-founders Latona Giwa and Nikki Hunter Greenaway said they established the center to provide accessible and evidence-based lactation support to families in the greater New Orleans area, with a special emphasis on women of color.

Greenaway is board certified family nurse practitioner and international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).

Giwa is an IBCLC, registered nurse and birth doula; she envisioned the clinic and suggested the two collaborate on establishing it since Greenway’s role as a nurse practitioner positions her as a medical provider with the authority to bill insurance.

“This has been a dream of ours for a very long time,” Greenaway said. “We both worked on our independent projects, and we’ve always collaborated on something breastfeeding related, but we always saw deficits in everything we did.”

Among those deficits, Greenway said they frequently encountered mothers who were unaware of lactation support and who couldn’t afford the services because IBCLCs cannot bill insurance companies.

India Bush is a mother and lactation support group leader with the Café au Lait Breastfeeding Support Circle for Women of Color, which meets at various locations throughout the city each month. Bush was three months postpartum and struggling with breastfeeding when she joined the group and gained insight and support from Giwa and Greenaway.

“I was having complications. She (baby) wasn’t latching. I was nursing around the clock. She had colic. It was just a nightmare. But when I found Café au Lait, it was somewhere for me to go at least once a month to see mom’s in the same predicament as me learn the tricks of the trade.”

Now as a lactation support leader, she collaborates with the New Orleans Breastfeeding Center on offering support to more women throughout the community.

The center currently utilizes about four lactation consultants and seeks to develop new partnerships to service more families.

“We would like to partner with hospitals because this is a community effort,” Greenaway said. “This is not something that we can do alone. Our voice is much greater — our impact will be much greater if we all work together and we all speak with one voice and collective vision for our city.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black infants are 21 percent less likely to have ever been breast feed than white infants. In addition, one in four infants is exclusively breastfeed by the age of six months old.

The CDC recommends and defines exclusive breastfeeding as “only breast milk — no solids, water or other liquids.”

According to the CDC’s most recent (2015) breastfeeding report card, among babies born in La.: 67 percent were ever breastfeed; 39 percent were breastfed at six months; 20.6 percent were breastfed at 12 months; 39.4 percent were exclusively breastfed at three months; 20.2 percent were exclusively breastfed at six months; and 15 percent of breastfed babies received formula before turning two days old.

The CDC also reports that breastfeeding has benefits to both infants and mothers. Breastfed infants have lowered risk of experiencing of asthma, obesity, sudden infant death syndrome, type 2 diabetes and other conditions.

Mothers who breastfeed lower their risks of experiencing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer.

There are free and paid resources available throughout New Orleans for mothers interested in learning more about breastfeeding or receiving support.

• Café au Lait: Support groups on the first Wednesday, second Thursday, third Saturday and fourth Tuesday of each month at locations throughout the city, cafeaulait@gmail.com, (504) 535-4913

• Greater New Orleans Breastfeeding Awareness Coalition: Raises awareness about benefits of and support for breastfeeding, provides list of available resources at http://www.gnobac.org

• La Leche League of Jefferson: Meet-ups, resources, community and online resources, http://www.llljefferson.com/information

• New Orleans Breastfeeding Center: free classes, support groups and continuing education, http://www.nolabreasfeedingcener.org, info@nolabreastfeedingcenter.org, (504) 515-1243

• NOLA Nesting: Birth classes, doulas and support groups, http://www.nolanesting.com, (504) 655-1819:

• Ochsner: Warm Line for breastfeeding resources, (504) 842-5210.

This article originally published in the October 22, 2018 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

This article originally appeared in The Louisiana Weekly.


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