This week marks the 6th annual Black Breastfeeding Week
which was created because there has been a long standing racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women. As moms, we all know breastfeeding can be really hard both physically and emotionally— even in cases where women have the support systems in place that are necessary to have a successful nursing journey. It's important to do everything we can to ensure that all women regardless of their race have access to the same breastfeeding education, support and resources.
Kimberly Seals Allers
is one of the founders of Black Breastfeeding Week and shared a great post
on why this week is needed. Here are some key points from Kimberly’s article:
Black babies are dying at double the rate of white babies
. According to the CDC, increased breastfeeding among black women could decrease infant mortality rates by as much as 50%.
There’s lack of diversity in the lactation field.
Not only are there blatant racial disparities in breastfeeding rates, there is a blatant disparity in breastfeeding leadership as well. It is not debatable that breastfeeding advocacy is white female-led. This is a week to highlight, celebrate and showcase the breastfeeding champions in our community who are often invisible. And to make sure that breastfeeding leadership also reflects the same parity we seek among women who breastfeed.
There are also unique cultural barriers that black women face
– from the lack of mainstream role models and multi-generational support to stereotyping within their community.
Learn more about Black Breastfeeding Week here
. Follow the hashtag #LoveOnTop on social media to see all of the awesome posts this week.