Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Promoting breastfeeding awareness: Advocacy groups take to the streets

Time for an important Milk Truck update! Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about this Pittsburgh-based advocacy/art project dedicated to supporting moms who want to breastfeed in public and encouraged all of you to support the project with a small donation?

Well Jill Miller, creator of The Milk Truck, has reached her fundraising goal through Kickstarter! She's raised more than $15,000 (exceeding her goal by over $5,000) that will help her get this great breastfeeding support project off the ground.

It's especially exciting because Kickstarter follows an "all-or-nothing" model. Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded by the deadline or no money changes hands in order to motivate people to spread the word about great ideas, and ensure that donations to a $10,000 project actually go toward a $10,000 project.

So this is a huge win for moms and babies in Pittsburgh and the 405 backers who made a donation. We should expect to see the truck come to life in September at the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial. While we're talking on the subject of breastfeeding mobiles, I wanted to mention another one that has already hit towns across the country.

A few nights ago, one of our bloggers was walking the streets of Philadelphia. She stopped in her tracks when she spotted a big pink bus parked on UPenn's campus -- it was definitely not The Milk Truck. Curious, she snapped this picture with her phone and did some research at her desk the next morning.

She found out that the big pink bus she saw is actually called (yep, you guessed it) the Big Pink Bus. It's the vehicle of a different breastfeeding promotion organization called Milk for Thought.

Milk for Thought is aiming to educate communities across the country about breastfeeding during its current national tour. Milk for Thought made a stop in Philadelphia at The University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to headline The City of Motherly Love Breastfeeding Fair and Rally at Houston Hall.

There were lots of breastfeeding influencers, supporters, and moms; and free food and refreshments to help support the cause. Our blogger did a little more digging and found that Milk for Thought was created by 27-year-old Ryan Comfort and his mom, Kathy Comfort.

Kathy is an RN with 11 years of experience working with new moms and their babies. Ryan, on the other hand, has never been married and has no kids. But his entrepreneurial spirit inspired him to create a community where moms could come together to gain information about breastfeeding.

Ryan and his mom are making it their mission to get the word out about the benefits of breastfeeding. Their stop in Philadelphia was one of 30 on their 45-day, cross-country tour.

One important fact about Milk for Thought: It's a for-profit company. This is unlike The Milk Truck, which will operate solely on donations. Part of Ryan's business plan is to sell witty, pro-breastfeeding T-shirts in Milk for Thought's online store.

Two different breastfeeding advocacy movements are taking to the streets with their cause. Would you like to see The Milk Truck or the Big Pink Bus in your town?

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