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This article is the author’s final published version in Societies, Volume 12, Issue 1, February 2022, Article Number 28.

The published version is available at Copyright © Duncan et al.


(1) Background: Critical gaps in the U.S. healthcare system perpetuate adverse reproductive health outcomes for Black people. Grounded in reproductive justice and trauma-informed care, Breastfeeding Awareness and Empowerment (BAE) has developed a program titled BAE Cafe to directly address these gaps by providing community-based lactation and perinatal mental health support. A literature review identified key programmatic gaps, namely, access to knowledge relevant to troubleshooting breastfeeding, peer support, community support and healthcare system support, and system-level factors that impede families and communities from accessing lactation support. (2) Methods: This paper describes BAE Cafe through a group process observation and participant survey. (3) Results: The observation of groups highlighted the core elements of the BAE Cafe model: knowledge, support and mental health support in a peer driven format. Participant survey feedback was overwhelmingly positive and highlighted the critical importance of lactation support for Black women by Black women and BAE’s role in participants’ decisions to continue breastfeeding. (4) Conclusions: BAE Cafe is a replicable, scalable, peer-driven and low-barrier intervention that has the potential to improve outcomes for Black families. Additional research and investment are now needed to assess large-scale implementation to reduce disparities and address health inequity across different contexts and settings.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.