The Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle (PBBC) began in 2014 to address the lower rates of breastfeeding among African American mothers in the Pittsburgh area. We exist to provide evidence-based breastfeeding and nutrition education and support to women of African descent. We meet in person two times per month and also have a strong Facebook community.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization agree that breastfeeding is the normative standard for infant feeding. With support, the vast majority of women can breastfeed. Breast milk provides life-long health benefits to infants, including reduced risks of asthma, leukemia, SIDS, diabetes, obesity and infant mortality. Breastfeeding mothers have reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, certain cancers and osteoporosis. These health benefits include the most significant findings when breastfeeding is exclusive for six months and into the toddler years after solid foods are introduced.
In her book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Joy DeGruy, PhD, adjunct assistant professor, Portland State University, says that systemic racism has a profound effect on the bodies of African Americans. Some research suggests that “weathering” can also contribute to the higher rates of low birth weight and preterm deliveries.* (The term “weathering” refers to the idea that coping with high-stress, everyday social and racial adversity causes a premature decline in African Americans’ health.) Breastfeeding can alleviate some of the effects of this concern. PBBC strives to equip its members and the community with the knowledge and education to influence the future of public health. When families are healthy, our entire community benefits.
Join us is in this mission! More information about PBBC, as well as our upcoming meetings, can be found online at http://www.pghblackbreastfeedingcircle.org.
Reference: Arline T. Geronimus, ScD, Margaret Hicken, MPH, Danya Keene, MAT, and John Bound, PhD. “Weathering and Age Patterns of Allostatic Load Scores Among Blacks and Whites in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 96, no. 5, 2006, pp. 826-833.
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