This paper was published in June 2021 in Breastfeeding Medicine.
Authors: Ifeyinwa V. Asiodu, Kimarie Bugg, and Aunchalee E.L. Palmquist
Background: Breastfeeding is protective of maternal and infant health across the life course. Increasing breastfeeding rates in Black communities is an important public health strategy to address maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
Methods: Data trends for the past 10 years suggest that Black-led community efforts; local, state, and national initiatives; and maternity care practices that are supportive of breastfeeding have been effective in improving and increasing breastfeeding rates among Black women.
Results: Yet breastfeeding disparities and inequities in Black communities persist. Systemic and structural barriers, such as racism, bias, and inequitable access to lactation resources and support continue to be issues in the United States.
Conclusion: Going forward, significant investments are needed to decolonize breastfeeding research and clinical practice. Public health and policy priorities need to center on listening to Black women, and funding Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) organizations and researchers conducting innovative projects and research.