Black Breastfeeding Week, created in 2013 by three Black breastfeeding advocates, is the only health campaign with an explicit national focus on making online and local impact on Black maternal and infant health through breastfeeding. Lactation and birth leaders celebrated the campaign’s 9th year with a slate of community events across the country.
This year’s theme, The Big Pause–Collective Rest for Collective Power, was an opportunity for advocates, organizations and their communities to support Black birthing people and families by honoring the power of rest in breastfeeding, maternal health, and social justice outcomes.
While work towards closing gaps in racial health disparities shouldn’t require justification, organizers are readily prepared to explain why the campaign is essential for the short-term and long-term health of Black families. What is harder to justify is the lack of diversity in the lactation field, particularly among International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).
IBCLC’s are healthcare professionals who specialize in the clinical management of breastfeeding/chestfeeding. IBCLCs can work in a wide variety of settings, providing leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research in the field of lactation.
However, it is believed that less than 2% of IBCLCs are Black or African-American.
As a response to these low numbers, Black lactation leaders are calling on the sector to move funding to the classrooms on the campuses of historically Black colleges and universities.
Read the full article about Black breastfeeding disparities by Janiya Mitnaul Williams at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.