Virginia Department of Health to host screening of ‘Chocolate Milk’

Virginia Department of HealthBreastfeeding is good for babies and moms – it is associated with reduced risk of asthma, obesity and ear infections in infants, and with lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancers in moms. It also promotes mom-baby bonding.

Despite the benefits, not all women breastfeed or breastfeed exclusively for the recommended minimum of six months.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will host a free screening of the film “Chocolate Milk: The Documentary” on August 28 in Richmond in recognition of August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the Commonwealth. The 90-minute film examines why black women breastfeed at lower rates than their peers.

The screening will be at 6 p.m. in the Richmond Public Library auditorium at 101 E. Franklin St. A discussion with filmmaker Elizabeth Gray Bayne will follow. To register go to:

“I believe the film will be a great catalyst for a dynamic community conversation about access to human milk and lactation support,” said Jarene Fleming, VDH state breastfeeding coordinator.

“VDH takes a multifaceted approach to support human milk feeding in the Commonwealth. Initiatives include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as WIC, which supports a breastfeeding peer counselor program in all 35 health districts,” Fleming said. WIC also provides eligible clients with lactation supplies such as breast pumps.

VDH outreach includes raising awareness of state law that protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.

Bayne said when she started the film project her intent was to make a short public service announcement.

“I learned that the issue was as much about teaching mothers to breastfeed as it was about creating a community of support,” Bayne said. “The family, the health provider, the employer and the public also need to understand the importance of supporting mothers who choose to breastfeed.”

VDH breastfeeding resources:

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