Racial Disparities In Breastfeeding & The Health Benefits For Mom & Baby

African-American mothers breastfeed at lower rates than other groups of women for a myriad of reasons, and August, being Breastfeeding Awareness Month, is a good time to call attention to the health benefits for both mom and baby.

Maria Wright, MD, pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento, says one big barrier is negative myths about breastfeeding that have been passed down for generations.  Some of these myths include beliefs that breastfeeding will affect the size and shape of your breasts; breastfeeding is painful; or breastfeeding will affect the bond between the baby and the father.

“There needs to be more positivity and support for our new moms,” she said.

The benefits of breastfeeding begin as soon as moms start. Even immediately after birth, breastfeeding releases hormones that can help the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and reduce uterine bleeding following birth. There are also long-term benefits:

1. A thirty-year study from Kaiser Permanente showed that women who breastfed for