ach month, a new Children’s Health Weight CoIIN team will be featured in the newsletter!
North Dakota’s (ND) primary goal for the Children Healthy Weight CoIIN was to enhance the success of the training [Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor Training] by allowing for travel, per diem, and hotel accommodations for key stakeholders from each of the five federally recognized tribes in ND to attend an in-person meeting prior to the training. The intent of the meeting would be to initiate sustainability planning related to how the training would be utilized to enhance breastfeeding care within each community.
During the CoIIN in person learning session, January 9-10, the CoIIN team came to the decision not to host the Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor Training and instead host a key stakeholder meeting to learn from communities about current support and barriers to breastfeeding before implementing interventions.
In March, a key stakeholder meeting was held with 17 attendees from four of the five tribal communities and two of the three ND communities with urban American Indian populations. Professionals who attended represented a variety of areas including WIC, Healthy Start, Home visiting, Public Health, Doula, College, Clinic Nurse and North Dakota Breastfeeding Coalition (NDBC). Monthly networking calls were coordinated to continue the conversations started at the in person meeting. During the May networking call it was shared there would be an Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor Training in June 2018 in Bemidji, MN. Five individuals from ND attended the training.
On the networking call following the training, attendees shared they felt the group should be led by tribal communities. The role of the CoIIN team shifted at this time from leading efforts to offering a higher level of support to these communities. Work was put on hold to allow the communities time to determine where our support was needed most.
This also allowed time to reevaluate and better define roles moving forward into the second year of the project. A major lesson learned was we had too narrow of a focus which did not allow the communities to be creative or flexible enough to meet their unique community needs.
In the upcoming year the ND team plans to develop mini-grant applications in line with the CoIIN focus: establish new policies or practices addressing social and ecological barriers to breastfeeding, but allows each community the flexibility to develop a plan that meets their community needs.