African American Breastfeeding Promotion

Why is African American breastfeeding promotion a priority?

Breastfeeding is a natural extension of pregnancy and human milk is normal infant nutrition. 

However, breastfeeding rates among African American women lag behind all other ethnic groups. When breastfeeding is not practiced, it can have detrimental health effects for both the baby and the mother. Increasing the rate of breastfeeding could narrow many of the health disparities that are prevalent among African Americans.

A baby who is not breastfed has an increased risk of:

  • urinary tract, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and ear infections
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • asthma and other allergies
  • a less than optimal immune system and oral-facial development.
  • diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease
  • lymphoma
  • less than optimal cognitive development
  • being overweight or obese later in life.

A mother who doesn't breastfeed has an increased risk of:

  • breast cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • postpartum obesity
  • osteoporosis


Research findings on infant-feeding preferences of African American women.