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Changing the System to Address Racial Inequities in Breastfeeding

Strategies to support breastfeeding

Fact Sheet
Health Care
Child Care & Schools

Breastfeeding has important health benefits for children and families, and many parents want and intend to breastfeed their children.

However, many parents fall short of their breastfeeding goals, given that breastfeeding can be physically taxing as well as time- and resource-intensive. Successful breastfeeding requires more than the mother’s desire to do so; time, money, and professional and social support are key predictors of breastfeeding success. Racial inequities in access to these factors may contribute to racial inequities in breastfeeding outcomes. Thus, interventions to alleviate racial inequities in breastfeeding must take into account inequities in access to these predictors of breastfeeding and seek to address them through policy, system, and environmental changes.

With the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ChangeLab Solutions has developed an infographic and fact sheet on racial inequities in breastfeeding, which provide an overview of the current research. These resources also suggest changes in policies and systems to address barriers to breastfeeding, including changes in workplace policies, hospital practices, and professional support.

For more information on breastfeeding in the hospital setting, see our infographic and fact sheet on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), the recording and slide deck from our webinar on BFHI, our state-specific fact sheets on laws supporting breastfeeding among maternity patients, and our database at LawAtlas.