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What are the barriers that black women face with breastfeeding and how can they overcome them?

  • Aniya Faulcon
Jabina Coleman (right) introduces herself to Pamela Newman and 3-month-old James at the Lucien E. Blackwell library in Philadelphia. Coleman leads a breastfeeding class and co-runs the Prenatal Mental Health Alliance for Women of Color. In February, some mothers described experiencing postpartum depression.

Rachel Wisniewski / For the Philadelphia Inquirer

Jabina Coleman (right) introduces herself to Pamela Newman and 3-month-old James at the Lucien E. Blackwell library in Philadelphia. Coleman leads a breastfeeding class and co-runs the Prenatal Mental Health Alliance for Women of Color. In February, some mothers described experiencing postpartum depression.

Airdate: Wednesday, August 31, 2022

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black mothers in particular, disproportionately experience a number of barriers to breastfeeding.

Black women have the lowest breastfeeding initiation rate of all racial groups at less than 70%, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In honor of Black Breastfeeding Week , which took place Thursday through today, Charlotte Dorsey, Community Progress Council’s Women, Infants, and Children Education Manager joined us on Wednesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the barriers and benefits of breastfeeding.

Some of the barriers that Dorsey said Black moms and moms of all races may experience are, lack of education, metal health issues, low milk supply or anxiety over milk supply from a previous trial, lack of support at home, lack of peer and health care provider support. 

She also said, breastfeeding can alleviate risks for health issues, it can take stress off of the health care system, support weight loss, and has nutritional benefits for infants. 

‘Breastfeeding is so incredibly important, not only on an individual scale,” Dorsey said. “It can impact not only individuals, but our entire communities too.”

She advised for mothers to take advantage of local support groups, alliances, agencies, hospitals, and Facebook groups that offer information and support for a successful breastfeeding journey. 

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