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Guidance for parents and businesses during National Breastfeeding Month
Mom with baby
Black Breastfeeding Week is observed Aug. 25-31. (Photo courtesy U.S. Breastfeeding Committee.)

Special to the Herald


SAVANNAH -- In observance of National Breastfeeding Month in August and Black Breastfeeding Week Aug. 25-31, Healthy Savannah and other local advocates are working to underscore the need for better corporate and community support of Black breastfeeding mothers, especially those in the workplace.

Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, as administrators of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Racial & Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant; along with the Chatham County Health Department, Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, and Glow Lactation are offering several events throughout the month. All are free and open to the public:

·       The Coastal Health District invites breastfeeding moms, their families, friends, and breastfeeding advocates to join in a World Breastfeeding Week celebration on Aug. 5 from 9-11 a.m. in Savannah. This family-friendly event in Forsyth Park will include a walk for breastfeeding awareness, information on the benefits of breastfeeding, raffle prizes, and free swag bags while supplies last.

·       The Department of Health Coastal Health District hosts virtual WIC advocate training sessions on the third Friday of each month at 10 a.m. The next session is Aug. 18. To register and for more information, visit

·       Glow Lactation will offer an online Mommy Moments Breastfeeding Support Group on Aug. 21 via Zoom beginning at 6 p.m. This monthly support group was created to encourage, empower, and give Black moms a voice to tell their breastfeeding journey. Register at or text MOMMYMOMENTS to 912-758-3438.

·       Glow Lactation will host a peer advocates’ session at the Armstrong Center in classroom 105 on Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus on Aug. 29, beginning at 6 p.m. This workshop will provide information for community members to advocate and promote breastfeeding throughout the community.

 “We are tapping into the 2023 National Breastfeeding Month theme, “This is Our Why”, to help shine a light on why it is so important to center our conversation on the babies and families who need our advocacy,” said Dr. Nandi A. Marshall, an associate professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University.

“Supporting nursing parents as they return to work is the right thing to do. It benefits the family and community, including their place of employment," Dr. Marshall added.

She is leading local efforts funded by the REACH grant to encourage Savannah businesses to adopt breastfeeding-friendly policies and environments and to help them comply with a new law.

President Joe Biden signed The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act into law on Dec. 29, 2022. The legislation added several important changes to the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law passed in 2010. The original law required employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding employees to pump during the work day, but did not cover one out of every four birthing parents of childbearing age.

The updated law extends the right to break time and space to pump at work to millions more workers, including teachers and nurses. It also makes it possible for workers to file a lawsuit to seek monetary remedies if their employer fails to comply and clarifies that pumping time must be paid if an employee is not completely relieved from duty. The law also increases this accommodation from one year to two years after the birth of a breastfeeding child. Learn more at

Marshall and the local advocates are also focused on increasing awareness of the inequities that discourage breastfeeding by Black mothers and identifying opportunities to remove those obstacles, especially in the workplace.

She said the benefits to businesses often include increased retention rates, improved morale, and lower healthcare- and insurance costs. Meanwhile, the cost to employers may be little or nothing to convert an empty office or meeting room into a pleasant lactation space.

Organizations that pledge to create policies and provide spaces will be recognized by Healthy Savannah.

“Supporting parents in their nursing journey is the right thing to do, but we also know breastfed and chestfed babies often have fewer stomach and digestive issues and a lower risk for many diseases such as asthma, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and diabetes,” said Shawntay Gadson, lactation consultant with Memorial Health, Savannah, and owner of Glow Lactation Services. “Giving breastfeeding employees a safe and comfortable lactation space and adequate break time can be vitally important to the wellbeing of workers as well as their children.” 

A 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration indicated that Black infants had a significantly lower rate of any breastfeeding at age three months (58.0%) than did white infants (72.7%); and that at age six months, the rates were 44.7% among Black infants and 62.0% among white infants.

For more information on National Breastfeeding Month in August and Black Breastfeeding Week Aug. 25-31, visit USBC at Click on and click on “Breastfeeding Resources” under the “Resource” tab for information on adopting a workplace policy to support breastfeeding employees.