Helping Our Community! -Silex

When babies are born less than 32 weeks or 1800 grams, they qualify for donor breastmilk acceptance. According to a study by The Connecticut Human Milk Research Center, African American women with babies in the NICU give permission for their babies to receive donated breast milk 47.4% of the time, while white women accept, 71.8% of the time. We, team Silex were commissioned in January 2017 to find a solution to combat the low acceptance rate of breast milk from the african american community along with bringing awareness to the importance of the health benefits of breast milk to in infant, regardless if it’s the mother’s own  milk or not.

We first came up with the solution of submitting racial diverse and informative instagram post to The Mothers Milk Bank Instagram when our teacher was talking about how social media is a great way to reach a greater audience. With this in mind, we went to the Mother’s Milk Bank’s instagram page and saw the lack of diversity. We immediately thought of creating posts to send to the MMB that included facts about breast milk and testimonies from African-American women who have accepted donated milk. In addition, we are currently working on an educational presentation  containing the importance of accepting donor breast milk that can be displayed to mothers during their crucial time of deciding whether or not to accept donor breast milk. According to a clinical research article by The Connecticut Human Milk Research Center, non white mothers are at a higher risk for non consent for the main reason “it’s someone else’s milk”.Throughout the study, an education program was implemented. Each year the program continued there was a 48% reduction rate for non consent. The statistics from the study proves that education increases acceptance rates which will help us know that our presentation will be beneficial to our problem.

We have experienced many setbacks such as having to change our solution multiple times. Originally, we were going to hold a meeting inside of the hospitals to help educate the mothers on the importance of accepting donated breast milk (specifically African-American mothers). We then realized that this wasn’t a realistic situation since we would have to figure out transportation for us and the mothers with babies in the NICU. We would also have to find a place to host the meeting inside of the hospital which would be incredibly difficult. Since we were not able to be physically present, we decided to make a presentation and share it with hospitals and MMB.  As of right now we are working on our new solution which is social media posts.We are looking to find African-American mothers who are will to share their stories of donor milk acceptance, meanwhile we are developing questions to discuss with them. We will incorporate this information into a caption and take a picture of the mother for the post. We are also working on another presentation to present to a panel of medical professionals.

We will know that our solution actually worked if the acceptance rate of African-American women accepting donated breast milk increases. We will be contacting lactation consultants to discuss the mothers’ choices that have hopefully increased the acceptance rate. We will also see if the posts that we made receive quite a few likes. If the posts get lots of likes, we will know that we are reaching a bigger audience and are spreading the word to African-American women. In addition, we will contact the social media coordinator at the Mothers Milk Bank to see if they have observed a curve in social media activity specifically in the African American Community.

We plan to have our presentation sent to Ms. Updegrove by mid May and we plan to have around 5 to 10 instagram posts submitted to the Mothers Milk bank social media coordinator by late May.

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