National Breastfeeding Month celebrates mothers, importance of breastfeeding

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:38 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - August is National Breastfeeding Month to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization says universal breastfeeding could save about 820,000 infant lives yearly. According to “Pediatrics,” if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented yearly. Research shows breastfed babies have a lower risk of illnesses, including asthma, ear infections, diabetes, and respiratory problems.

In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, the Wellness Coalition (TWC) is launching its annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and babies, particularly in African American communities.

“African American women have the lowest rates of breastfeeding compared with other racial and ethnic groups,” said Delia Hasberry, REACH program coordinator for The Wellness Coalition. “Minority women experience unique barriers to breastfeeding, including less acceptance at home or work and a lack of access to resources and support.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breastfeeding disparities affecting minorities include:

  • Fewer non-Hispanic black infants (69.4 percent) are ever breastfed compared with non-Hispanic white infants (85.9 percent) and Hispanic infants (84.6 percent).
  • Black infants are 21 percent less likely to have been breastfed than white infants.
  • Mothers aged 20 to 29 years are less likely to ever breastfeed (80.4 percent) than mothers aged 30 (85.3 percent).

The Wellness Coalition provides resources and coordinates support groups to address breastfeeding disparities and to help normalize breastfeeding. In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, TWC will also:

  • Place life-size cutouts of local moms breastfeeding their babies throughout the River Region. Images of these moms will also be featured on local billboards, social media, and newspaper advertisements throughout August.
  • Provide free weekly virtual support groups in collaboration with River Region Lactation every Friday from 11 a.m. through September 30. Participants can register for a group at bit.ly/BFGROUP.
  • Host a free online breastfeeding summit on Wednesday, August 31, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This event will cover the effects of chronic health conditions on breastfeeding and solutions to common issues. The virtual summit is ideal for moms, moms-to-be, support persons, lactation professionals, and anyone who wants to learn more about breastfeeding.
  • Register at: bit.ly/BFSUMMIT22.

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