Introducing: CinnaMoms Crenshaw

CinnaMoms, a motherhood, breastfeeding, and parenthood brand within the PHFE WIC program, welcomes you to CinnaMoms Crenshaw!

In June 2023, CinnaMoms launched a nontraditional WIC Center using the CinnaMoms model. The CinnaMoms mission is to create a cultural space that promotes empowerment and self-transformation for Black/African American women. We come together to share and advocate for breastfeeding/chestfeeding, parenting, and health for the entire life course.

CinnaMoms Crenshaw serves as the first of its kind; a physical location focused on re-introducing the WIC program to the community by providing a safe space designed by and for Black/African American WIC participants and the community around the Obama Blvd WIC center (Crenshaw Blvd and Obama Blvd).

We renovated 1400 square feet of the WIC center with funding from Heluna Health. The purpose of the space is to provide prenatal and postpartum mothers, birthing people, and their families an environment to rest and nest, access community resources and further connect with WIC and one another.

The values and mission for CinnaMoms Crenshaw are guided by three (3) pillars: Rest, Nest, Connect

  1. Rest: We are guided by Tricia Hersey and her Rest is Resistance Manifesto. CinnaMoms Crenshaw is a space for prenatal wellness support, postpartum self-care, and rest!
  2. Nest: We understand that nesting during pregnancy is an instinct that finds moms-to-be preparing their homes (aka their “nests”) for their baby’s impending arrival. At CinnaMoms Crenshaw we will offer prenatal support in preparation for delivery and the postpartum journey: prenatal yoga, OB appointment support, access to doulas, healthy foods, first foods, and lactation support.
  3. Connect: The foundation of CinnaMoms is connection. At CinnaMoms Crenshaw we will have in person:
    1. Prenatal and postpartum support groups and classes
    2. Wellness classes (yoga, cooking demos)
    3. Culturally relevant lactation support
    4. Access to WIC Registered Dietitians, Lactation Consultants, Peer Counselors, CinnaMoms Team, and outside community resources

CinnaMoms Crenshaw Soft Opening on June 15, 2023 showcased the space via guided tours and guests shared in the excitement of its opportunities.

Those in attendance included representatives from LA City Mayor Karen Bass’ Office, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Community based organizations, Kaiser, LA Care, Heluna Health and PHFE WIC leadership, and from Sacramento the California WIC Association and California Department of Public Health WIC Division. We heard stories from CinnaMoms WIC participants, honored those involved in spearheading and renovating the new space, and shared in a beautiful tribute to the late colleague and WIC pioneer Ms. Sharen Anthony.

Stay tuned for 2023 events coming during Black Breastfeeding Week August 25-31!

CinnaMoms Team w/ PHFE WIC Executive Director Kiran Saluja.

#cinnamoms #cinnamomscrenshaw #phfewic

Remembering Sharen Anthony’s Legacy

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. In honor of this theme, we are highlighting Sharen Anthony, a friend, colleague, advocate, and public health champion who recently passed away in February of this year.

Sharen Anthony worked with the Public Health Foundation Enterprises Women, Infants, and Children (PHFE WIC) Program for over 31 years. During her tenure at PHFE WIC, she was a WIC site supervisor, a WIC program senior manager, project coordinator, leader on the PHFE WIC Council on Racial Equity, and a WIC representative to many Los Angeles County health and nutrition programs.

She was not only a support for other organizations but a true cheerleader for everyone.

In the early 90s, Sharen conceptualized the extremely successful WIC Empowers Teens program aimed at combating the huge teen pregnancy problem. She selected, trained, and motivated 40 Teen Facilitators, all WIC staff and many of whom had been teen moms themselves.

She was passionate about prevention and a key trainer who took the Beyond 9 CA State-funded Preconception Health Care training program on the road to nearly every WIC program in the state.

In 2006, Sharen spearheaded and later became coordinator of the Health is Wealth PHFE WIC
Employee Wellness Program for more than 500 employees. She recruited a committee and
continued to magnificently lead the employee wellness promotion activities throughout these
past 17 years.

The PHFEWIC Health is Wealth Program served as a model for the California WIC Association’s (CWA’s) WIC Worksite Wellness Program. Sharen served in an advisory capacity for the California WIC Association (CWA) WIC Worksite Wellness Program and was instrumental in establishing PHFE WIC as one of the pioneering WIC Worksite Wellness Certified Programs.

Sharen had a heart for her community as she shared her expertise through her studies in receiving her Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC). She provided internal training and specialized assistance in challenging situations such as child abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness.

In the recent past, Sharen was a liaison with the Los Angeles County (LAC) Nurse Family

She also participated in many local initiatives such as:

  • LAC Department of Public Health Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Project,
  • LAC Healthy Weight for Women of Reproductive Age Learning Collaborative
  • LAC African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative
  • LAC Perinatal and Early Childhood Home Visitation Consortium
  • Served as a co-chair of the Los Angeles Adolescent Health Collaborative Steering Committee

Sharen participated in numerous workgroups and roundtables focused on teens:

  • InterAgency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect’s (ICAN’s) Task Force on Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents
  • The Community Network Council
  • The Orange County Teen Collaborative Network

Sharen had unique talents to engage, teach and train. She was a certified True Colors trainer and trained all staff including every newly hired PHFE WIC employee on True Colors encouraging strong team dynamics, honoring individual strengths, and building cohesiveness.

Her early interactions with new employees made for the perfect welcome during the onboarding stage. In addition and more recently, Sharen was pursuing a guaranteed basic income pilot to further support African-American and Black pregnant WIC mothers, actively worked on advancing health and racial equity, and boosted employee engagement activities.

Her compassion, kindness, fun-loving spirit, and commitment extended to every individual and part of the WIC Program from WIC families and participants, within PHFE WIC, across many, many California local agency WIC programs, and the California Department of Public Health WIC Division.

She will forever be missed and we here at PHFE WIC and CinnaMoms will continue the hard work and foundation she created.

#womenshistorymonth #phfewic #sharenanthony

CinnaMoms Virtual Summit June 22′

After 3 long years, the CinnaMoms annual summit returned!

On June 16th, CinnaMoms hosted our first ever virtual summit. It was filled with inspiring speakers, informative breakout rooms, and incredible moments. We kicked off the summit with a special welcome from our executive director Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN and danced our way into breakout sessions led by the CinnaMoms team.

Thank you to the amazing partners from Black Infants and Families Los Angeles, Davion Mauldin and LeHenry Solomon, as well as our very own Ruben Lopez, RDN we were even able to hold space for a fatherhood oriented breakout session. Then, following some fun and games, 10 “SuperCinnaMoms” received recognition from our team and Senator Sydney Kamlager for their dedication to the CinnaMoms community.

All of the excitement, camaraderie, and support left attendees feeling Strong and Empowered!

Here are some words that families shared about the summit.

Click here to see all that we did and learn how you can refer families to CinnaMoms.

#cinnamoms #phfewic #virtualsummit #africanamericanfamilies #supportfamilies #june2022

CinnaMoms Summit 2022: Strong and Empowered

You’re invited to the annual CinnaMoms summit happening virtually this year.

They will have breakout rooms that focus on prenatal, fathers, lactation and postpartum care. From amazing facilitators, raffles, instructor-led dancing and endless amount of knowledge. ⠀

You don’t want to miss this! 😍

Click here to RSVP

For more information about CinnaMoms click here:

#cinnamoms #virtualsummit #2022

Black Breastfeeding Week

This August 25 -31, we celebrate the 9th annual Black Breastfeeding Week.

This year’s theme is The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power.

As we honor Black breastfeeding and the power of rest, we want to use this opportunity to highlight and acknowledge all of those involved in WIC’s sister program CinnaMoms. They have made a positive impact on Black parents and families and been part of our community’s breastfeeding support system.

CinnaMoms has been creating a safe space and community for Black/African American families since 2015. Twice each month, members come together in virtual support circles to learn and share their experiences with breastfeeding, chestfeeding, parenting, and health.

CinnaMoms support circles are hosted on Zoom on the 1st and 3rd Thursday every month. Click here to learn more and join our next support circle.

In celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, Diversify Dietetics nominated PHFE WIC’s Dr. Toncé Jackson, Ed.D., MPH, RDN, CLE for their RDN Spotlight.

Toncé is the Senior Health Equity Manager at PHFE WIC in Los Angeles County and Co-founder of CinnaMoms. In these roles, she been able to help change the Black/African American families experiences in breastfeeding, by creating a safe space for families to come and just be themselves.

Click here to read more about her journey in the Dietetics world.

Dr.Toncé Jackson

#cinnamoms #phfewic #blackbreastfeedingweek #bigpause

Black Breastfeeding Week Event Aug 25th

In honor of National Black Breastfeeding Week, PHFE WIC is partnering with SGV African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Community Action Team and the Pomona Wellness Community to hold a Fresh Produce and Baby Item Drive-Thru Giveaway Event on Wednesday, August 25 from 12-2pm.

Baby items, breast pumps, resource materials and fresh produce will be given to registered individuals.

Click here to register by Monday, 8/23 at 11:30 a.m.:  

Participants must register and provide proof of registration upon arrival to receive the breast pump and baby items. Families may show the confirmation email on their phone or bring a printed copy. This will be used to match the registered family with their items.

Fresh produce will be available for all families (no registration required, however, supplies are limited. First come, first served). 

Click here to register!

#blackbreastfeedingweek #phfewic #pomonavalley #AAIMM

Donor Human Milk Zoom Event

On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, PHFE WIC hosted a live Zoom event with community organizations from San Jose Mother’s Milk Bank, Eisner Health LA, Emanate Health, and Mighty Little Giants.

They shared information about the Milk Banks in the community. Pauline Sakamoto, MS, RN, PHN of San Jose Mother’s Milk Bank presented the history of Milks Banks and the process of donating milk. She shared that participants will go through a simple health screening before they drop off their milks for donation. 

Jessica Wade, NS, CLES, Certified Doula, CEO and Founder of Mighty Little Giants shared her own experience receiving donor breast milk with her son. While, Magdalena Estrada, MPH, CHES, IBCLC, LCCE of Eisner Health LA Milk Depot and Annette Benavides, MSN, RNC-OB of San Gabriel Valley Milk Depot introduced their Milk Depot and the Milk Collection Events.

We were so thrilled to learn from all of our speakers and excited for the future of milk banks.

Check out more information about the organizations here; Eisner Health, Emanate Health Family Medicine Residency Program, Mighty Little Giants, and Mothers’ Milk Bank San Jose.

Click below to check out the recording of the event.

Upcoming Milk Collection Events

The Eisner Health LA Milk Depot will be having a Milk Collection Event on August 28, 2021.

The San Gabriel Valley Milk Depot will be hosting a Milk Drive & Health Fair on September 17, 2021.

Both events will include gifts and raffles.

Thank you to all our speakers and those who joined the event!

Some additional information about our speakers.

#phfewic #mothersmilk #esinerhealth #emanatehealth #mightylittlegiants #milkbank

WIC Staff Profile: Jessica Estrada, IBCLC

Written by: Jocelyn Cortez, PHFE WIC Dietetic Intern

It’s common for a new parent to be worried about breastfeeding or chestfeeding. Parents may wonder if it will be painful, question their body’s abilities, or wonder where to go for immediate support.

Parents in traditional cultures lean on aunts, cousins, and neighbors for help. Support systems are critical for new parents. WIC is committed to being part of our community’s support system. PHFE WIC counselors include Certified Lactation Educators and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) with the training and experienced to provide expert individualized breastfeeding support and guide and encourage parents through their feeding journey.

We are here for you!

In honor of Breastfeeding Month, one of PHFE WIC’s lactation consultants, Jessica Estrada, IBCLC sat for an interview with dietetic intern Jocelyn Cortez to talk about her career journey, WIC insights, and her advice for expecting parents.

Jessica Estrada, IBCLC

About Jessica Estrada, IBCLC

Jessica started her lactation support career in her role at WIC as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor in 2010, providing nutrition and breastfeeding education to clients during their pregnancy and hands-on support once the baby was born. She then earned her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential through UC San Diego in December 2019 and continues to share her breastfeeding and chestfeeding expertise with WIC families today.

Jessica’s passion for her lactation career has grown throughout her journey in WIC. As a mom herself, the challenges of being a first time mother and her experience with breastfeeding have called her to be a guide to other parents. She knows that there is misinformation on the internet and not having the proper guidance can contribute to falling away from one’s breastfeeding goal. Jessica continues to teach breastfeeding classes and serve clients with common breastfeeding concerns like latching difficulties, breastmilk production, using a breast pumping, monitoring babies’ weight gain, and hand-on support to help parents meet their feeding goals. She is also involved in a Physician Rotation Program at WIC where she teaches medical students about baby behavior and breastfeeding feeding patterns along with recommendations that teach the visiting medical interns about the breastfeeding world.

What does a Lactation Consultant do?

JE: A Lactation Consultant is a professional who specializes in the field of breastfeeding. We help mothers that are having breastfeeding problems. There may be many reasons a mother needs support, some examples but not limited to helping a mother with plugged ducts, mastitis, thrush, and helping babies that are unable to latch a baby to the breast or unable to maintain a latch. Right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic we are conducting virtual counselings to screen clients prior to working with our clients in person to assure the baby is latching well and assuring our mothers that the baby is gaining a healthy weight and thriving while the baby is being breastfeed.

Why should someone see a lactation consultant?

JE: If you need help, contact WIC ask for breastfeeding guidance with a lactation consultant. WIC gives you access for free consultation with a lactation consultant. Any questions a parent has about latching, breastmilk supply, or returning to work, WIC can help. In my profession, I reassure new mothers about the normal course of breastfeeding and parenting a new baby. If doctor referrals or follow-ups are necessary, we provide additional support in those areas as well.

How can a WIC parent connect with a lactation consultant?

JE: WIC has an infant feeding helpline number available to our clients with any breastfeeding questions. Certified Lactation Educators and Lactation Consultants (breastfeeding specialists) answer your breastfeeding questions and can schedule an in-person visit if needed. The hours are Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Pacific time at (888) 278-6455.

What is the secret to increasing milk production?

JE: The best way to ensure a great milk supply is to breastfeed frequently. There are no foods that mom must eat or avoid. We recommend that mom makes healthy choices when possible but in general enjoy her normal diet. The secret is breastfeeding every time the baby shows early hunger cues–10 or more times in 24 hours, which is about every 2-3 hours or sooner. The key is to stimulate the breasts often to increase the milk supply. When parents have milk supply questions, we can often reassure them by weighing their baby and discussing the baby’s hunger cues and feeding history.

What makes milk production decrease?

JE: Milk supply decreases when breastfeeding frequency decreases or when the baby is not breastfeeding effectively. Some medications are contraindicated during breastfeeding due to their effect on milk supply. In these cases we recommend that moms work with their healthcare provider to find an alternative medication to protect milk supply and support the parents decision to breastfeed or chestfeed.

Do C-sections cause lactation problems?

JE: Sometimes parents who have had a C-section benefit from some extra help with ideas for positioning their babies for comfort and supporting their breast milk production. We recommend monitoring the baby’s weight and number of soiled diapers, and reaching out to WIC soon after the baby is born so that we can identify issues and connect parents with with an IBCLC quickly. Connecting with WIC early helps protect the parent’s milk supply and get off to a great start with feeding.

What else do you want to share with parents?

JE: Do not feel embarrassed to reach out for help! At WIC we want to help you meet your feeding goals! Plan for breastfeeding to go smoothly, and it probably will! Your baby will be born with amazing instincts that will help breastfeeding get off to a good start. Nurse frequently and get help early. Every drop of breastmilk is a gift!

#phfewic #IBCLC #lactation #breastfeedingmonth

Anti-Hunger Advocates & WIC Come Together

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect low-income households that were already struggling with poverty and hunger before the health crisis. In just one week in June, nearly 2.7 million California residents did not have enough to eat, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. This includes more than 1.36 million households with children. In Los Angeles County, 1 in 5 people struggled with food insecurity before the pandemic, and that number has since risen to 1 in 4 county residents.

On Monday, August 2, 2021, PHFE WIC’s 8th Street WIC office hosted Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America as part of an 8,000-mile coast-to-coast journey this summer to shine a light on the continuing national hunger crisis, to meet with those working on the front lines of hunger, and to advocate for long-term public policy solutions to food insecurity.

Anti-hunger advocates from PHFE WIC, Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Hunger Action Los Angeles-HALA, LA Food Bank, CalFresh, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, The Annenberg Foundation, Hollywood Food Coalition, the LA Mayor’s office, LA County Office of Sustainability spoke to the press and joined a round table discussion about the barriers to accessing available anti-hunger programs, and systemic solutions.

Systemic Solutions

The American Families Plan, if passed by Congress, would make a huge investment in low-income families and children and dramatically decrease child poverty and hunger.

The re-introduced HOPE Act Bill would allow for the creation of a streamlined system to make it easier for people to apply for and access benefits through a single portal.

“During the pandemic, people who were already poor and hungry became poorer and hungrier, and people who just at the edge of poverty in the lower middle class became hungry…As bad as things are, we have not had mass starvation… why? Because the federal safety net programs stepped up and dramatically expanded. Charities are important, but it’s the government safety net that stood between us and mass starvation in America.”
–Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America

Click here to view the livestream of the press conference.

CinnaMoms + Kaiser Permanente Partnership

The CinnaMoms African American Breastfeeding and Motherhood Support Program is an accessible and welcoming service to parents that goes beyond PHFE WIC core services.

CinnaMoms is currently on their 3rd quarter of support circles. They offer culturally relevant information facilitated by qualified team of African American Certified Lactation Educators, Lactation Consultants, Nutritionists, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors.

In partnership with Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills, CinnaMoms invites you to join a virtual breastfeeding support group held every first and third Thursday of the month, beginning January 2021.

The overarching goal is to increase virtual breastfeeding support for African American women and families. Throughout the year, the virtual support circles will feature guest appearances from Lactation Consultants throughout the region.

RSVP using this link here:

#cinnamoms #phfewic #KP #breastfeeding

Recognizing and Celebrating Juneteenth

PHFE WIC, a program of Heluna Health joins the celebration of Juneteenth, the oldest national anniversary of the abolition of slavery. U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday, June 17 designating ‘Juneteenth,’ or June 19, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Read Heluna Health’s statement recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth here.

Read more about what we are doing at PHFE WIC to educate our employees and foster racial and health equity in our workplace and community.

PHFE WIC staff – We are Juneteenth!

CinnaMoms + Black Maternal Health

In celebration of Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17th) we hosted a virtual support circle sponsored by Kaiser Permanente on April 15th.

Our CinnaMoms staff and other community partners like Watts Health WIC, Northeast Valley WIC, and Public Health Alliance discussed the importance of postpartum visits. Also the signs of postpartum health scares and what to do when they occur, and celebrating Black Mother Joy.

During the discussion of celebrating Black Mother Joy, our very own staff Bethany and Ericka recited an original poem to uplift our participants called, “A Gift”. In celebration of #BlackJoy, we launched an Instagram Campaign. Using #CinnaMoms4Life for participants to post a picture that defines their joy.

To bring more attention to Black Maternal Health Week, the White House also released a statement addressing the Black Maternal Health Crisis. This press-release expounded on the initial steps that the Biden-Harris Administration will take through policies aimed for racial and health equity that will improve Black Maternal Health.

Here at PHFE WIC we are proud to be part of the national effort on ending this public health crisis. With the additional welcomed support from our Executive Branch of Government, it will end.


CinnaMoms & Kaiser Baldwin Hills Virtual Breastfeeding Support Groups

The CinnaMoms African American Breastfeeding and Motherhood Support Program is an accessible and welcoming service to parents that goes beyond PHFE WIC core services.  CinnaMoms offers culturally relevant information facilitated by a qualified team of African American Certified Lactation Educators, Lactation Consultants, Nutritionists, and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors.

In partnership with Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills, CinnaMoms invites you to join a virtual breastfeeding support group held every first and third Thursday of the month, beginning January 2021.  The overarching goal is to increase virtual breastfeeding support for African American women.  Throughout the year, the virtual support groups will feature guest appearances from Lactation Consultants throughout the region.

For more details visit