Diversity and Inclusion in Breastfeeding
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
To show our commitment to diversity and inclusion Healthy Horizons actively participated in Black Breastfeeding Week 2020. As a company that was born out of supporting the lactation community, we were able to see the need and reasons why a week focused on black breastfeeding is important.
Find out how Healthy Horizons is working to bring awareness to and support black breastfeeding. Watch our panel on Battling Bias: Breastfeeding in the Black Community to learn more about ongoing support for breastfeeding in the black community.
A lack of breastfeeding support after the baby is born combined with cultural barriers, financial and social pressures are all contributing factors to low breastfeeding rates in the black community. There is scant support available for black breastfeeding mothers and families. There is a lack of diversity and understanding of the unique issues pertaining to the black breastfeeding mother. Some breastfeeding leaders, such as breastfeeding group leaders and lactation consultants are just becoming knowledgeable of the differences in breastfeeding across ethnic groups. The good news is, we are trying to make a difference in black breastfeeding now through awareness and education.
Lack of diversity in the lactation field is a leading reason for lack of black women breastfeeding. There is a general feeling that lactation consultants are not aware of issues that are directly related to the black community.
Black women are told that mastitis presents with redness - redness on darker skin is not always easy to see
Diet related diseases that impact the black community - lack of understanding of the community equates to lack of understanding on how to provide guidance on diet for mother and therefore baby
So, what can a black mom do to be successful with breastfeeding? Join a support group. Whether that’s online or in person, the support from others who are having the same experiences will help your breastfeeding journey. Have open and honest discussions with friends and family about breastfeeding. They will be your biggest allies during the breastfeeding journey, and the more transparent you are with your breastfeeding plans the easier it will be for them to support you. Talk to your doctor and an IBCLC to get expert advice and ask them for further resources in your community. Healthy Horizons has weekly breastfeeding support groups.
Resources to support breastfeeding in the Black community are needed. Here are some resources, all of which are specifically for women (and men) of color:
Documentary Series (Chocolate Milk) - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnNbdXGtqZRYPBmZjVkdEJA
National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color - http://napplsc.org/ProviderDirectory