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Boston Public Health Commission Takes Time To Recognize Black Breastfeeding Week

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The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is recognizing Black Breastfeeding Week.

Along with lawmakers, advocates, healthcare providers, and community partners, BPHC gathered in Boston’s Roxbury community on the morning of Aug. 24 to shed light on the disparities in Black breastfeeding rates among Black mothers. The City of Boston reported that the celebration focused on raising awareness of the impact these inequities have on Black families and ways to support them.

“Breastfeeding is important for supporting the health and well-being of babies and infants, but for many families, especially our Black families, it’s inaccessible,” said Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission Dr. Bisola Ojikutu. “We’re in the midst of [a] nationwide Black maternal health crisis, but we can help Black babies and infants thrive and overcome the inequities harming our Black communities by supporting these families on their breastfeeding journeys.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed that only 25% of infants born in 2020 were “exclusively breastfed in their first six months of life.” Health organizations recommend that children be breastfed throughout their first two years to ensure proper health and development. Black mothers showed lower rates of breastfeeding initiation and exclusive breastfeeding than their white counterparts. “Ensuring that new moms have support and the necessary resources in their community is crucial,” said Alexandra Valdez, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. “As a woman of color, Latina, and first-time mom, I understand the firsthand struggle women face when breastfeeding, especially in public.”

As part of the event, BPHC hosted a ribbon cutting for the newly installed Mamava lactation pod in the Bruce C. Bolling Building lobby. The pod is open to the public for mothers to breastfeed free of charge.

According to the official page for Black Breastfeeding Week, the annual celebration takes place from Aug. 25–31.

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