Did you know? African American women experience the highest infant mortality rates among any racial or ethnic group in the United States. Over the past decades, evidence for the health advantages of breastfeeding and recommendations for practice have continued to increase.
“The World Health Organization can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood”. Breast milk promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea or pneumonia, and helps for a quicker recovery during illness.
Unfortunately, statistics show that African American babies have one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the United States. Studies also show that African American moms have the lowest rate of breastfeeding initiation and duration. African American mothers face a distinct set of barriers—all of which are exacerbated for low-income African American women—including a lack of support from healthcare and nutrition systems, employers, friends, and family as well as negative cultural perceptions. The Milk Mission facilitates hands-on guidance in the first hours, days, and weeks after delivery from peers and professionals to ensure that African American babies have the best chance of survival that mothers’ milk can give them.