BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (PIX11) – Access to maternal care support during pregnancy and postpartum can be difficult, depending on your area.

The Brownsville neighborhood is trying to change that as they observe Black Breastfeeding Week, a time to highlight the racial disparity in breastfeeding rates.

Zahirah McNatt is the assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Brooklyn Neighborhood Health with the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“The data shows us that Black women and birthing persons often are not encouraged and connected to lactation counselors, and those referrals aren’t made,” McNatt said. “We also know that they’re often in the hospital setting more likely to be given formula rather than have the breastfeeding support experience.”

At the Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center, resources are available to encourage breastfeeding initiation and at least six months of breastfeeding.

If you’re a mother facing challenges, you can meet with a lactation consultant like Ashlee Lyte, who says they help mothers with latching or improving positioning.

“Whether you’re going to use a football hold or whether you’re going to do a lying pose, whatever works best for you and baby,” Lyte said.

The center also provides additional support throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period, such as car seat safety, a farmer’s market to learn about nutrition, painting to relieve stress, and new clothes for the new addition to the family.

Lorenzo Glaspie is an expecting father.

“My fiancé is 30 weeks pregnant,” Glaspie said. “She’s out there on the line getting vegetables and I’m back here looking through some newborn [clothes], trying to pick out a few outfits.”

Sonya Minnis is eight weeks postpartum and interested in information on breastfeeding.

“This is amazing,” Minnis said. “Definitely something that the community needs. I’m in full support. I love it,” Minnis added.

One mom with twins is no stranger to the center.

“From the time I was pregnant, they were giving me diapers, wipes, clothes, [and] doula resources,” she said. “I actually got my doula through them. They’ve been amazing ever since my whole birth journey.”

The center also offers resources beyond maternal care, including a dentist and adult medicine services, so that the whole family can get year-round help.