International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) Global Partners Program was designed to improve breastfeeding worldwide by creating linkages between organizations around the globe. ILCA would like to welcome its 22nd National—Regional Partner, National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color, an organization working to cultivate a community of diverse professional and peer lactation supporters to transform communities of color through policy, breastfeeding, and skilled lactation care in the United States.
We asked Stacy Davis, BA, IBCLC, the executive director of National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color, to share with us more about the role of the organization in breastfeeding support and why they decided to sign on to the Partners Program.
Lactation Matters (LM): Tell us about why NAPPLSC is so important to human health in the United States.
Stacy Davis (SD): Our mission is to cultivate a community of diverse professional and peer lactation supporters to transform communities of color through policy, breastfeeding, and skilled lactation care. We all know how important breastfeeding is in creating a foundation for a healthy and whole community. We also know that People of Color are disproportionately affected by health disparities. In the communities many of our members serve, we see high infant mortality rates, high rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Formula feeding increases the risk of these and many other illnesses and diseases. We also know that a lack of support is the number one reason women of color do not meet their breastfeeding goals. Having access to high quality, culturally humble lactation support from folks that live in and love in the community is essential is ensuring breastfeeding success. NAPPLSC believes that a baby’s right to human milk and a parent’s right to meet their nursing goals is essential to reducing disparities and creating a healthier world.
LM: What challenges do you face in your work?
SD: The biggest challenges we face in our work is ensuring that lactation supporters of Color have a strong voice and active representation in the landscape of breastfeeding and ensuring the national policies and procedures are reflective of the voices of our providers that work directly in the community. We also find the siloing that happens in our field creates barriers that the communities we represent are more likely to come into contact with. Infighting and competition between the varied credentials does a great disservice and by bringing all of these groups together we hope to bring a COLLECTIVE and UNITED voice to the table.
LM: Why did NAPPLSC decide to become an ILCA National-Regional Partner?
SD: Our organization decided to become an ILCA National-Regional Partners because we realize that our organization’s mission intersects and aligns with ILCA’S mission to ensure leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research. Both of our missions truly align to transform communities of color through policy, breastfeeding, and skilled lactation care.
LM: What is your vision for breastfeeding support in the US?
SD: Our vision is a world in which ALL families are given the information they need to meet their breast/chestfeeding goals. We hope to do this by providing a national voice for persons of color who act in professional and or supportive frameworks to lactating parents within their communities. NAPPLSC will do this by:
- providing amplitude for the national discourse on lactation disparities
- supporting candidates of color as they pursue careers in lactation
- serving as a vanguard for innovation and problem-solving
- standing as a resource for others who desire insights into our communities
- representing the concerns and desires of peer and professional support persons of color to the wider lactation community
- promoting our community cultures as topics of increased study and understanding in the social and biosciences as they relate to lactation
- working to decrease barriers to breastfeeding in communities of color
- promoting culturally congruent care models for communities of color among all lactation support providers
- creating published resources to contribute to the body of knowledge on cultural care
- illuminating our profession with the presence of national level leadership of color
Stacy Davis, BA, IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with a Bachelors Degree in Health Services Administration and 17 years of healthcare experience, including clinical and community-based lactation support. Her specialty is organizing and managing grassroots, community-based lactation-related programs. Stacy is tirelessly dedicated to improving the level of equity, diversity and inclusion in lactation support; she wholeheartedly believes that community-based programs provide an invaluable service as a continuity of care that bridges the gap between the healthcare provider and community, offering families the socio-cultural support to birth, nourish and nurture healthy children and communities. Currently, Davis is the Executive Director of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC) and a lactation consultant for Ascension Health System, where she assisted two hospitals in achieving Baby-Friendly Hospital designation and mentored aspiring IBCLCs of color. Stacy owns a private practice in her hometown of Detroit, MI, and resides there with her husband, Jessie, and four sons – Lawran, Devahn, Jessie, and Jace.