Perspective| Volume 53, ISSUE 11, P977-986, November 2021

Examination of Factors That Contribute to Breastfeeding Disparities and Inequities for Black Women in the US


      Breastmilk is considered the optimal nutrition for newborns. US Black women continue to have the lowest breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. This Perspective examines factors associated with breastfeeding disparities and inequities among Black women through the lens of critical race theory and the social-ecological model. Recommendations to increase breastfeeding rates in this population include increased communication and educational strategies by health care professionals, education to recognize implicit bias and systemic racism in our health care system, early prenatal and ongoing postpartum breastfeeding support, increased community support, and breastfeeding groups developed by and for Black women. In addition, equity policies such as paid maternity leave and work policies that support milk expression would provide needed institutional support for women in the workplace.

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