LLL USA posted the “Top Five Reasons We Need a Black Breastfeeding Week,” which was reprinted with permission from Kimberly Seals Allers, who is an award winning journalist and nationally recognized advocate for infant and maternal health.
Black Breastfeeding Week was created because for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women. The fact that racial disparity in initiation and even bigger one for duration has lingered for so long is reason enough to take 7 days to focus on the issue, but here are a few more:
- The high black infant mortality rate: Black babies are dying at twice the rate (in some place, nearly triple) the rate of white babies. This is a fact. The high infant mortality rate among black infants is mostly to their being disproportionately born too small, too sick or too soon. These babies need the immunities and nutritional benefit of breast milk the most. According to the CDC, increased breastfeeding among black women could decrease infant mortality rates by as much as 50%. So when I say breastfeeding is a life or death matter, this is what I mean. And it is not up for debate or commenting. This is the only reason I have ever needed to do this work, but I will continue with the list anyway.
“The mysteries of milk,” was published on”The Biologist” website, which is a publication by the Royal Society of Biology in the United Kingdom. It talks about what we do know about human milk.
“Breast milk contains thousands of different molecules, growth factors, hormones, microorganisms and cells, which work together to provide the human baby with all the tools necessary to grow and develop normally. Many of its components have only recently been discovered – leaving the tantalising possibility that more remain – and the functions of many remain unknown.”
…”This immune protection covers the vulnerable period of early life when the immature immune system is not well developed – in humans, the immune system is thought to be fully mature only at the age of six. The breast itself is a source of specific immune cells and can, therefore, be seen as an immune organ, although it is never listed as such in medical textbooks. One hypothesis regarding the benefit of breastfeeding to mothers is that the breast also ramps up the mother’s own immune system to aid postnatal recovery.”
Just look at what a drop of human milk contains! And this is just what we know about breast milk right now!
Read more of this fascinating article here: The mysteries of milk
Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, shares this video explaining how babies have a natural “fuel gauge” and know when to come off the breast. Her website is a wonderful resource with helpful articles and videos about all things breastfeeding!
When a baby is born, some parents are informed or make assumptions that they need to be constantly watching the clock to keep track of when baby last nursed, when they should nurse again and how long they should nurse for. What do all these numbers mean? What if baby wants to nurse again after just nursing half an hour ago?
Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, talks about common misconceptions and how to trust your baby knows when he or she needs to nurse. While there are exceptions to this, sometimes being preoccupied with the clock can cause issues by shifting your attention away from what matters. Read more in her Breastfeeding Reporter Blog: “The Clock and Early Breastfeeding.”
We often hear tales of how a baby will “sleep through the night” and the mothers of the babies who wake frequently often wonder what they could be doing wrong. The truth is, they are doing nothing wrong and their baby is doing exactly what they are supposed to! The Grubby Mummy Blog recently published this article about “Ten little known facts about your baby’s sleep.” She talks about how it is biologically normal for a baby to wake frequently throughout the night, want to nurse to sleep and prefer to sleep close to their parents. Click the link above to read more!
Vicky Greene, a first year bioscience student at South Devon College in Paignton, England used samples of breast milk from a mom of a 15-month old and a 3 year old and added the bacteria M. Luteus. You can see from the photo that in the center, where the breastmilk was placed, the bacteria is completely gone, destroyed by the breastmilk!
You can view Vicky’s original Facebook post here and read more here.