Breastfeeding rates among black women increase but disparities still show

Breastfeeding initiation rates among black mothers improved nationwide from 2000-2008 but disparities still show, according to an article published in The Nation’s Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 59 percent of black mothers in the U.S. breastfed in 2008, an advancement  from the previous report of 47 percent in 2000. Hispanic mothers rates had a slight increase, from 78 percent to 80 percent, as did white mothers (72 percent to 75 percent). While black mothers had the greatest improvement between the three racial/ethnic groups, they still fall behind.

Breastfeeding is important for mother and baby. There are numerous health benefits of breastfeeding: It builds up the baby’s immunities, provides proper nutrition and protects against childhood obesity– reducing future health care costs. Breastfeeding can also help mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

The Northeast Florida Breastfeeding Collaborative began in 2009 as a response to these health benefits and the concern of the  low rates of women breastfeeding. The Collaborative is a network of health care professionals and organizations in Northeast Florida working  together to advance the initiation and duration of breastfeeding among all women.

One goal of the Collaborative is to promote the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, the global program to encourage and recognize hospitals and maternity facilities that offer optimal care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. Currently, The Naval Hospital Jacksonville on the NAS Jax base is the only hospital in the Northeast Florida region to be named Baby-Friendly.

For more information on the BFHI watch the video “Becoming Baby-Friendly: Improving Breastfeeding Support in U.S. Hospitals” by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality.