Education Campaign Encourages Black Moms to Breastfeed Their Babies

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    The U.S. Surgeon General has announced a public education campaign that will focus on raising awareness among African-American moms on the significance of breastfeeding.

    “One of the most highly-effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant and herself is to breastfeed,” said Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, surgeon general. “By raising awareness, the success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, their friends and the community.”

    The “It’s Only Natural” campaign was designed to provide material that reveals the experience of African-American moms said Benjamin, who noted breastfeeding gives mothers and their babies a healthy start.

    Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention determined nearly 80 percent of all U.S. women, in spite of status, race or income, start out breastfeeding.

    Statistically, the rate of African-American mothers who breastfeed was almost 55 percent, which is up 35 percent since the 1970s.

    Although these rates have improved, African-American women are still the lowest of all ethnicities living in the U.S., especially within those living in the South.

    This difference in the rates may show that African-American moms face issues meeting breastfeeding objectives and may need additional assistance to start and continue breastfeeding.

    It’s Only Natural was developed to equip new moms with practical information and emotional support from peers, as well as tips and education about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to make it work in their own lives.

    All of the material is uniquely crafted for African-American women. Materials include:
    • video testimonials from new moms talking about the challenges they have overcome, providing breast feeding tips, sharing their individual stories, and much more;
    • articles on a variety of topics ranging from laws supporting breastfeeding to how to fit breastfeeding into your daily life;
    • two fact sheets, which contain proper holding and latching techniques, as well as information on managing discomfort and how much milk is enough; and
    • radio public service announcements.

    To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/ItsOnlyNatural.

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