Beginning today, August 25 through August 31, the world is celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week, with the theme "Lift Every Baby." This week, which also marks the final week in National Breastfeeding Month, is about bringing attention to the glaring gap in the number of white women who breastfeed versus the number of black women who breastfeed. Just over half of black women start breastfeeding, compared to 75% of white women. The rate of black mothers who continue to breastfeed until baby is 6 months old drop off even lower. This, coupled with the fact that black infants die at a much higher rate than white infants, means that we have a crisis when it comes to black maternal and infant care in America! Black Breastfeeding Week aims to bring awareness to the disparity in numbers, cite reasonsfor why it exists, and share resources for support, as well as success stories and images of black women and babies who do breastfeed.
The Black Breastfeeding Week website cites several unique cultural challenges for lower breastfeeding rates among the black population, including a history of slavery and post-slavery era wet nurse roles, lack of professional and peer role models, stereotyping within the community, and lack of peer-to-peer and multi generational support in communities. Equal access to and support for breastfeeding is a universal need that must be addressed appropriately according to cultural differences. Below is a list of our favorite black breastfeeding resources. Please use and share widely! If you have additional resources to share, please do so in the comments.
"It's Only Natural," a CDC & Office of Women's Health breastfeeding guide for African American families