Black Breastfeeding Week, National Breastfeeding Month Underscore Health Inequities

Posted on August 13, 2020

The United States Breastfeeding Committee officially designates August as National Breastfeeding Month (NBM) to identify and implement policy and systems changes needed to ensure that every family who chooses to breastfeed has the support and resources they need. In addition, Black Breastfeeding Week, to be held Aug. 25 through 31 in 2020, recognizes that women of color have historically experienced more adverse events related to maternal health and emphasizes safe, reliable and equitable care and increased awareness for disparities that are still prevalent. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding alongside introduction of complementary foods for at least one year. Despite this recommendation, a recent study revealed that less than 44.1% of infants in Michigan were exclusively breastfed through three months, and about 23.9% were exclusively breastfed through six months. These rates suggest that mothers may not be getting the support they need from healthcare providers, family members and employers to meet their breastfeeding goals.

In recognizing NBM and Black Breastfeeding Week, healthcare organizations can use the recently released guide, Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality. This resource is designed to provide practical guidance for healthcare organizations seeking to eliminate disparities in care to advance health equity. The efforts of NBM and Black Breastfeeding Week are also consistent with the MHA Keystone Center’s goal to improve outcomes for mothers and infants statewide through its partnership with the Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health.

More information on breastfeeding is available on the Michigan Breastfeeding Network website. Members with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center.

Tags: MHA Keystone Center, MI AIM, health equity, health disparities, breastfeeding

Posted in: Member News, Patient Safety & Quality

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