Black Breastfeeding Facts

FACT: Black Breastfeeding Week grew out of the need to highlight the particular challenges and triumphs of being Black and breastfeeding. While the challenges of breastfeeding are many, the creators of Black Breastfeeding Week wanted to use this time—the last seven days of August—to bring awareness to disparities in breastfeeding rates among black women as compared with other groups. Kimberly Sears co-founder highlights the areas of awareness that are in need of attention as follows:

  • The high infant mortality rate of Black babies - Black babies are dying at twice the rate (in some places, nearly triple the rate) of white babies. 

  • High Rates of Diet-Related Disease - breast milk has been proven to reduce the risk of health issues that are highest in Black communities including Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma, Childhood Obesity and SIDS

  • Lack of Diversity in the Lactation Field - Breastfeeding advocacy is white-female led. This perpetuates the common misconception that black women don’t breastfeed. As a result, many of the lactation professionals, though well-intentioned, are not culturally competent, sensitive, or relevant enough to properly deal with Black Mothers experience of Mothering.

  • Cultural Barriers within the Black community - Black women have unique cultural barriers and a complex history connected to breastfeeding. To the lack of mainstream role models and multi-generational support , to stereotyping within their own community— Black women have a different dialogue around breastfeeding and it needs special attention.