Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week 2022: “Telling Our Own Stories. Elevating Our Voices.”

AANHPI breastfeeding week 2022Editor’s Note: New Beginnings spoke with Wendy Fung about Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Breastfeeding Week 2022. Wendy is a registered dietitian and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has been with PHFE WIC, a program of Heluna Health, for six years, and works as a Regional Breastfeeding Liaison and Breastfeeding Services Manager. Wendy has been with the Asian & Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Task Force (APIBTF) since the beginning, and we are grateful for Wendy’s time to provide us with information about the 2022 celebration, “Telling Our Own Stories. Elevating Our Voices.” She also shared insights into how to advocate for breastfeeding success within the AANHPI community.

Wendy Fung: The goal for this week is to increase awareness that AANHPI families DO breastfeed. Often, we hear from others that AANHPI families do NOT breastfeed. That is totally a myth. AANHPI families often show a high initiation breastfeeding rate; however, it drops down dramatically subsequently.

New Beginnings: Last year, we learned about the beginnings of the Asian & Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Task Force. Could you update us on the task force’s work over the past year? What are some highlights of the work you’ve been doing? What plans do you have?

WF: As readers might remember, API Breastfeeding Task Force is based in Southern California with a group of breastfeeding activists from community programs, hospitals, and breastfeeding coalitions. During the pandemic, we had a few new projects (National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO] grant with MyPlate and Dede Diner) this past year. For the upcoming year, we are planning to conduct strategic planning and focus on member reengagement.

2022 AANHPI bfw

NB: AANHPI Breastfeeding Week is an opportunity to celebrate and advocate for the breastfeeding success of those of AANHPI descent. What is the best way to do this? What challenges are there?

WF: AANHPI Breastfeeding Week is a week designated for the AANHPI community. This week is dedicated to celebrating AANHPI families’ breastfeeding successes and advocating to others that AANHPI families DO breastfeed! The best way to do this is definitely to share YOUR breastfeeding success story: “Telling Our Own Stories. Elevating Our Voices.” We need more voices to be shared and heard. There are many challenges. Just to name one – the lack of culturally appropriate practices in clinical care. As a Chinese American immigrant, I was shocked to see cold water/juice/salads served at the bedside table during meal time. I don’t consider myself a Chinese woman who practices traditional medicine; however, I know that consuming cold foods after delivery is not advised [in traditional Chinese medicine]. After labor and delivery, many Chinese women would prefer to have hot foods and drinks, such as hot/warm water/soup. Another challenge is the lack of language appropriate education. Many handouts in breastfeeding education have limited AANHPI languages available. AANHPI communities are people with ancestry from the continents of Asia and the Pacific Islands from over 50 ethnicities who speak over 100 different languages and dialects.

NB: Not only does AANHPI Breastfeeding Week acknowledge challenges, but this week is also a time to celebrate the AANHPI community. What has brought you joy over this past year when you think of the work of the task force? What are you looking forward to?

WF: I am happy and excited that the APIBTF is engaging with the community via social media. If you are not already following us on Facebook and Instagram, please follow us! We have a few projects this year. One of our task force members, Judy Li, has been working with a NACCHO grant for updating MyPlate nutritional materials that are targeted toward AANHPI families. We also have had the DeDe Diner open and have been providing virtual consults for the last 18 months by Kat Conchada and Lynette Bellow. As we are looking forward to the new year ahead, we are currently focusing on completing the strategic planning.


Asian & Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Task Force

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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