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Diana Derige's picture

Good news arrived earlier this month in a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on breastfeeding rates. The CDC found that from 2000 to 2008, the percentage of women overall who initiated breastfeeding increased from 70.3 percent to 74.6 percent. During the same time period, breastfeeding rates at six months and 12 months increased significantly – for whites, Hispanics and African Americans.

Just in time for Black History Month, we learned that we are reducing disparity, the gap between African American and white breastfeeding initiation rates narrowed from 24 percentage points to 16 percentage points.

And yet a gap remains.

As Kimberly Seals Allers eloquently describes in her post for Women’s eNews, this gap represents a complex reality. Over time, our health care system, our workplaces and our communities failed to support African American women in breastfeeding.

Black History Month is an ideal time to reflect on this past and move to a stronger future.

The CDC report highlights how far we’ve come. On behalf of the Kellogg Foundation, I’d like to take a moment to salute all of you who are working to bring us closer to the day when every woman has the support she needs to make an informed choice for her and her baby about breastfeeding, allowing even more babies to benefit from breast milk as their first food experience.

Today’s blog carnival in support of the African American breastfeeding community is an encouraging manifestation of what we call the first food movement. It is of vital importance that all of us come together to increase breastfeeding rates across the board and to eliminate this disparity. I’m honored to join the conversation and heartened by the good work that I know will grow out of it.

Thank you MomsRising, Reaching our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) and United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) for bringing so many together to support breastfeeding in the African American community.


Alicia Barnes, the fanciful follies of a mississippi missus
The Little Boobs That Could

Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, Fellow, MomsRising & Free to Breastfeed
Beyond Controversy: Black Breastfeeding & Social Media

Anjanette Davenport Hatter, Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association
Breastfeeding: Obesity, Diabetes and Asthma Prevention

April Walter Brown
Engaging Fathers and Partners and Garnering Their Support of Breastfeeding

Bernetta Knighten, Bernetta Style
Breastfeed or Bottle

Best for Babes Foundation
Racial Breastfeeding Disparity Disappears at Baby Friendly Hospitals

Cathy Carothers, Chair, United States Breastfeeding Committee
Progress, Momentum, and Social Media

Charee Hall, Charee Lenee Styles
Breast Milk, The Best Milk

Cheyenne Mateen
Fighting Sickle Cell with Breastfeeding

Christina Caldwell, Independent Journalist
Black Moms Are Raising Volume on Breastfeeding

Darcel, The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe
Reports Say Black Women Don't Breastfeed...

Debi Ferrarello, volunteer Board of Directors of the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association
Promoting Good Health Begins With Breastfeeding

Diana Limongi, LadydeeLG
My 15 Month Journey

Dr. Melinda Harper
The Touch for Life

Ebeth Johnson, Breastfeeding Chef
Does Diet Impact Breast Milk?

Ericka Abrams, Public Health Practitioner & Doctoral student
How to Beat Barriers to Breastfeeding in Labor and Delivery

Jamita Stith
What did you think they were for?

Jasmin Saville
As Goddesses Do…

Jeanine K. Valrie, It's a Better Home
Creating a Legacy

Jennifer Sherman
Breastfeeding and all that jazz

Jessica Fedenia, Our Milky Way
Social Profit Works to Normal Birth and Breastfeeding

Kimberly Seals Allers, Mocha Manual
Saving Ourselves: Increasing Representation and Changing the Black Breastfeeding Narrative

Latham Thomas, Author, Founder of Mama Glow
Weapons of Mass Production…Breastfeeding

Paperdollcincy, Paperdoll
Breastfeeding tale

Phoebe Farag Mikhail, Listen, Learn, Act and Reflect
Perspective, and some chocolate chips in my oatmeal

RoiAnn Phillips, Communications Manager, HealthConnect One
Growing Strong: A Story About Quenesha and Her Son, Amor

Sahira Long, President, DC Breastfeeding Coalition
Against All Odds

Shannon Shelton Miller, Freelance Writer
Breastfeeding One, Nourishing Many

Sojourner Marable Grimmett, Author
Support Establishing Lactation Rooms in Public Places: Would You Eat in the Bathroom?

Tangela Boyd, Mommy, Milk & Me
Making Breastfeeding the “New Normal” for African American Mothers

Tanya Kalehia Workman, The Subject Matter is Love
Breastfeeding while lost in the woods

Motherlove Herbal
Could African American Moms’ Breast Milk Hold the Keys to Preventing Breast Cancer?

Tytina Sanders-Bey
A Breastfeeding Business Woman

Tennille Patterson, Television Producer
Young, Black and Full of Milk

Tokunbo Koiki, Social Worker
Memories of Breastfeeding

Tyra Gross
Answering the Call: Black Surgeon Generals All Promote Breastfeeding

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