Black Breastfeeding Week: Bridging The Gap

Black Breastfeeding WeekFounded in 2012 by three nationally recognized breastfeeding advocates, Black Breastfeeding Week is an annual, week-long multi-media campaign from August 25th-31st to raise awareness of the health benefits and personal empowerment of breastfeeding in the Black community. Despite the proven benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies, for over 40 years there has been a gaping disparity in breastfeeding rates between Whites and Blacks. The reasons are complex.

“There’s a sense of stigma,” said Ms. Crawford-Hemphill, the Cincinnati nursing administrator and lactation consultant, in a recent New York Times article.  She added, “I’ve encountered black women who will say they aren’t a slave, or they don’t want the baby to be too attached to them or that no one else can help care for them if they’re being breast-fed.”

Like many organizations, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in Washington, DC is working to change that narrative. In observance of the 5th Annual Black Breastfeeding Week, NACCHO’s Senior Advisor Calondra Tibbs, MPH, describes the organization’s work to improve breastfeeding rates among African-American and low-income women: