Friday, July 17, 2015

"RVA Breastfeeds" Social Media Campaign Launched to Raise Support for World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 - 7


The social media campaign, RVA Breastfeeds, has been launched to raise community support for breastfeeding mothers during World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 – 7. The campaign is sponsored by the Richmond Health Action Alliance, a coalition funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and administered by the Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, a division of Richmond Department of Social Services. The Richmond Health Action Alliance seeks to reduce childhood obesity through policy, infrastructure, and environmental changes that promote a breastfeeding-friendly and physically active community.

During the campaign, life-sized cutouts of breastfeeding women and families that reflect the cultural diversity of Richmond will be strategically placed throughout the area. Other campaign components include community leaders serving as “Breastfeeding Champions,” the dissemination of breastfeeding facts, and peer-to-peer support in the form of tips for expecting and breastfeeding mothers. Local retailers and restaurants that display “Breastfeeding Is Welcome Here” stickers will also be highlighted. The multi-faceted campaign will take place via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allowing for broad community participation.

The Richmond Health Action Alliance has sponsored events during World Breastfeeding Week at the Virginia State Capitol for the past three years. “Breastfeeding has profound short and long term impacts on the health of children and their mothers, yet it is often framed as a women’s issue. Given the recent passage of Virginia legislation protecting women’s right to breastfeed in public, we thought the time was right for a much broader conversation,” said Leslie Lytle, Breastfeeding Coordinator for the City of Richmond. “Women don’t breastfeed in isolation. The support of fathers, family members, health care providers, and the larger community is critically important in helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals. A social media campaign provides a vehicle to get the word out to multiple audiences that this is an important public health issue in which everyone has a role.”


“African-American mothers face particular challenges when it comes to breastfeeding, such as lack of access to culturally appropriate resources and support. This campaign allows us to highlight some of those challenges and to recognize community change-makers who are helping our most vulnerable families reach their breastfeeding goals,” said Rose Stith-Singleton, Richmond Healthy Start Initiative Project Director.

The RVA Breastfeeds team consists of the Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, Richmond City Health District, Richmond WIC, Nurture, Healthy Hearts Plus II, cBe Consulting, Virginia Breastfeeding Taskforce, VCU Medical Center, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, HCA Richmond, Anthem Healthkeepers Plus, and the Institute for Public Health Innovation, with technical support provided by The Spark Mill. RVA Breastfeeds was made possible through funding and in-kind support from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, Richmond City WIC, Richmond Healthy Start Initiative and Nurture.

The campaign can be found online at www.RVABreastfeeds.com, and on Facebook, Twitter - @RVABreastFeeds, and Instagram - @RVABreastfeeds.