New Study Says Most Infant Formula Claims Not Based On Science: What Every Black Family Needs To Know

…reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, obesity — serious issues in our community — as well as reduces the risk of ear infections, respiratory infections and provides unparalleled immunological benefits.

However, structural barriers such as the lack of a federal paid maternity leave means that women in the U.S are often returning to work two to three weeks after giving birth. That’s a real barrier to successfully establishing and maintaining a breastfeeding supply and relationship. Cultural barriers going back to our role as wet nurses during slavery to the hyper sexualization of black women’s bodies has contributed to breastfeeding being less accepted in our communities.

In low income communities, WIC remains the largest distributor of “free” infant formula, despite many recent efforts to encourage and improve breastfeeding support. Over 60% of babies born in the U.S. are WIC eligible.

Moreover, for over 40 years there has been a racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, 75% of white women initiate breastfeeding versus to 60% of black women, and when it comes to breastfeeding for six months, the rate is 46% among whites and 30% among black women.

Recent efforts such as the national Black Breastfeeding Week and social media outlets such as Black Women Do Breastfeed, are helping to shift that narrative. Black babies deserve the healthiest infant nutrition possible. When a mother’s own breast milk, or donor human milk is not available, then parents should be aware of the nutritional quality of infant formula and when industries put profits over infant health.


Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning journalist and author. A former writer at Fortune and former senior editor at Essence magazine, Kimberly is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post and Fortune. com on motherhood and infant health issues. Her fifth book, The Big Letdown—How Medicine, Big Business and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding was released by St. Martin’s Press  this year. A graduate of NYU and Columbia University, Kimberly lives in New York City with her children. Learn more at and follow her on Twitter at @iamKSealsAllers.

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