Can you believe its already the end of August? The month of:
Leos and Virgos
National Black Business Month (8/1)
National Girlfriends Day (8/1)
National Sisters Day (8/5)
National Women's Day (8/9)
National Women's Equality Day (8/26)
but lets not forget one very important topic!
National breastfeeding month!
Fun fact, actually more like embarrassing fact, that my siblings will never let me live down lol...I was breastfed up until the age of two!
HEY! I can see you laughing, so cut it out!
Some studies actually say the longer you breastfeed your baby the smarter they can become (so HA! I may just be a genius! Thanks mom).
One part of me is like dope, its about time breastfeeding is celebrated and encouraged. Then the other side of me is like, why did women ever have to be shamed out of it in the first place? Well friends, its sad to say that even when it comes to breastfeeding your sweet bundle of joy, there are some disparities between women especially when it comes to race.
Between the time frame of 2011-2015, according to the CDC, 64.3% of African American women initiated breastfeeding in comparison to their white and hispanic counter parts at 81.5% and 81.9% (CDC, 2018). So what could be attributing to these racial disparities? Well, African American women....
Return to work earlier after giving birth
Work in environments that may not support breastfeeding (like having a designated space where woman can pump)
Health care facilities that give the baby formula during their stay could decrease the mother's likelihood to exclusively breastfeed
Health care facilities that may separate the mothers and babies during their stay (so like if the baby is in the nursery for most of the time instead of being the room with the mother)
Knowledge- some new mothers don't know the benefits of breastfeeding
Cultural beliefs- a big baby is a healthy baby, putting cereal in a bottle
SOCIAL STIGMA !!! (James, 2017)
What's in it for you?
Obviously some of these contributions are out of our control. However, what we can do to help is educate ourselves and each other on the health benefits of breast feeding. Black women/women of color are already each others biggest support system, so this should be a no brainer. If you know someone who is having a baby or if you're pregnant yourself, here are some health benefits to you and your baby on breast feeding.
Stronger bones- less risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis
You can burn calories while breast feeding
Better healing after delivery- the oxytocin that gets released helps with the contracting of your uterus
Feeling empowered- YASSS QUEEN you did that
You know what your baby is eating
Delay in menstration
Reduce risk of developing chronic diseases
Lower Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk
Less likely to become obese
Better antibody response to vaccines
Decrease roll of some cancers (Lucia, 2017)
P.S. I don't know how true that genius thing is lol...
CDC. (2018, August 01). Breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/facts.html
Lucia, C. A. (2017, April 03). 20 Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom and Baby. Retrieved from https://www.fitpregnancy.com/baby/breastfeeding/20-breastfeeding-benefits-mom-baby
James, R. S., M.D. (2017, August 8). Breastfeeding Disparities in African American Women. Retrieved from https://nimhd.blogs.govdelivery.com/2017/08/08/breastfeeding-disparities-in-african-american-women/