Minnesota Breastfeeding CoalitionHmong Breastfeeding Initiative
Pub niam mis yog yam uas zoo tshaj rau koj thiab koj tus menyuam.
Breastfeeding is best for you and your baby
The Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition's shared vision is to see all mothers in our state have access to information and support which enables them to give the healthiest start in life to MN’s newest citizens, regardless of race, culture, or economic status.
The Hmong video project is underway! Work groups have been meeting and filming will be taking place in September and October, 2019. Interested in participating? Have a breastfeeding story you'd like to share?
May 10th, 2019: Announcing the winners!
We held a photo and art contest to highlight breastfeeding in the Hmong community. Fan favorites on Facebook won $100 cash, random drawing awarded 2 $25 gift cards.
March 5th, 2019:
The initiative held a day-long Equity Action Lab. The workgroup developed messages and identified activities to pursue during a 100 day sprint, including a photo contest and video project. Stay tuned!
Contact us for more information or to participate in the 100 day sprint.
Birth Outcomes and Breastfeeding among Minnesota's Hmong Women
Increase access to education about and practical support for breastfeeding for mothers, family and the community
Look beyond the mother to the people and systems that support her, such as prenatal care and education, doula support, hospital
maternity care, and workplace, community, social, and family supports
Educate family members, breastfeeding-friendly work sites and childcare, peer support groups (Baby Cafes) and others
Social Determinants in our work
MN has diverse communities with different cultural perspectives of breastfeeding practices
Access to competent, culturally appropriate prenatal and postpartum healthcare can help with breastfeeding
Healthcare providers’ training on breastfeeding
Role of formula companies in undermining breastfeeding and disproportionate distribution to communities of color
Minnesota through Hmong Eyes
The Hmong people are an ethnic group from southern China and Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the Hmong in Laos were recruited by the United States CIA and served as guerrilla fighters to combat the spread of communism in Asia. After the United States withdrew from Southeast Asia in 1975, many Hmong fled to Thailand to avoid government persecution due to their alliance with the United States. Many Hmong temporarily lived in refugee camps, and later returned to Laos, or immigrated to nations that accepted them. The first wave of Hmong refugees immigrated to the United States in 1975 and the last wave arrived in 2004. Today, the Twin Cities metropolitan area hosts the largest Hmong population in the United States, more than the next two largest (Fresno and Sacramento, CA) combined (Vang, 2008). In St Paul, one in ten residents is Hmong, the highest density of Hmong residents in the United States.
The first Hmong MN refugee families settled in North Minneapolis in 1975. Many Hmong refugee families also settled in St. Paul. Today, the Twin Cities hosts the largest concentration of Hmong in America.
Hmong elders, adults, and children gather together at traditional ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and religious events. Many Hmong also annually gather at the Hmong New Year celebration usually celebrated in late November-early December. The Hmong Freedom Festival is another popular annual event, hosted in July, that draw local and out-of-state Hmong populations.
Local Hmong businesses and centers in Minnesota are popular places of gathering for local and out-of-state Hmong people. A few hot spots include Hmong Town and Hmong Village Shopping Centers, Long Cheng - Hmong Livestock & Meat Processing Plant, and the farmer's market (Hmong vendors).
Local Hmong Organizations:
Local Hmong organizations in Minnesota communities provide support and resources for Hmong men, women, and families. The Hmong American Partnership (HAP) and Hmong 18 Clan Council are two of many prominent local Hmong organizations in Minnesota.
Workforce (American FactFinder, 2016):
Educational services, and health care social assistance, 23%
Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services, 12%
Retail trade, 9%
Farming and gardening plays an important role in the Hmong community. Before immigrating to the United States, the Hmong tilled, planted, and harvested their own food. Today, many Hmong Americans continue farming and gardening at local community gardens or on private property. Many Hmong Americans also sell their fresh produce at the farmers market, to restaurants, etc.
General Vang Pao: Served in Secret War; viewed as father figure by many Hmong
Senator Mee Moua (DFL): first Hmong American to serve as a senator in the Minnesota Legislature
Senator Foung Hawj (DFL): currently represents District 65, East St. Paul
Sophia Vuelo: first Hmong American judge to serve in MN
How we are planning the next stage of our work:
Identify stakeholders to share perspectives/experiences on breastfeeding
Identify stakeholders, particularly those from the Hmong community, to participate in planning breastfeeding support projects
Tapping into strong oral tradition
Uncover champions and passions in Hmong community to lead breastfeeding initiatives
Strong connections with Hmong resources (health professionals, health coalitions, community members and leaders), Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition, local coalitions, the University of Minnesota and non-Hmong healthcare providers
Already active in addressing breastfeeding disparities and improving supports and access to skilled care for new mothers
Breastfeeding support approaches are different for each cultural group in MN – need cultural awareness and understanding of other factors that contribute to disparity
Strong kinship and community connectedness in the Hmong community elevate resilience
Tell us about the factors that influence Hmong decisions around breastfeeding
Share your wisdom from living or working in the Hmong community
From Hmong communities in other states: what have you found and done to support families in your communities?
Assistance with outreach and education efforts
Technical assistance with grant writing
Share data and educate Hmong community and healthcare providers about the importance of breastfeeding and impact of low breastfeeding rates
Establish models for improving health outcomes that is community identified, developed, and implemented with as much contribution from the Hmong community
Develop creative approaches to distribute information to the community
Hmong Health Care Professionals Coalition
University of Minnesota Community Health Initiative
Linda Kopecky Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition
Linda Dech WIC Program Peer Coordinator
Tiffany Pao Yang UMN, Twin Cities Graduate Student
Marcia McCoy WIC Program Research Scientist II
Mary B. Johnson WIC Program Breastfeeding Coordinator
Pa Houa Shasky Ramsey County Public Health SHIP Program