Tayo Mbande with her newborn marching in the Bud Billiken parade earlier this month. Credit: Provided.

This article has been correct to say the cookout is on Sunday.

AUBURN GRESHAM — Breastfeeding can be the start of an amazing, life-changing journey for a mother and child. For some, that journey isn’t without bumps. While black mothers do breastfeed, they do so at a lower rate than their white counterparts, often because they lack the necessary support to carry on the journey.

That’s why Tayo Mbande, co-founder of the Chicago Birthworks Collective is throwing a Breastfeeding Cookout in the Dan Ryan Woods Sunday afternoon. Mbande believes a good old-fashioned cookout is a way for new and expectant mothers to talk, commiserate and learn breastfeeding techniques that work best for them.

Also, it’s a great way to kick off National Black Breastfeeding Week.

Mbande said the idea came about while sitting around with people from the collective when a member suggested it. It took off from there.

“The response was incredible. It was mind-blowing how many people reached out,” said Mbande, the mother of two.

Soon, her and her team racked up an impressive number of sponsors and organizations eager to pitch in, like March of Dimes and the PPC Family Health Center, the only free-standing birth center in the state.

Companies like Mother Love and Earth Love Organics donated necessities like nipple cream and deodorant that helps with hormone-related odors. Mrs. Patel’s lactation-boosting cookies and teas will be given out to those in need of assistance. And a lactation specialist who works with the collective will be on hand to field questions and provide support.

Saturday’s cookout is the first of what Mbande hopes will be many. And she hopes that the 100 or so new or expectant moms will keep returning long after their babies reach junior high.

“So many people out there don’t know that there’s help out there,” said Mbande, who marched with Collective members at the Bud Billiken earlier this month. “They don’t know where to go, and once they have their child, they think they’e done. But it’s not a one-time thing.”

The Black Breastfeeding Cookout is 1 p.m. Sunday, August 25, in the Dan Ryan Woods, Grove 3. For more information, click here.

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