The Delta Baby Cafe in Sunflower County, Mississippi is providing breastfeeding assistance where it's needed most.
Mississippi has the third lowest rate of breastfeeding in America. Only 70% of infants are ever-breastfed in the state, compared to 84% nationally.
There are multiple reasons why Black women are less likely to breastfeed their children. First, according to the CDC, maternity wards that serve large Black populations are less likely to help Black women initiate breastfeeding after birth or provide lactation support afterward.
"With breastfeeding specifically, there's an assumption when [Black] women give birth that they're not going to breastfeed, and they're not offered the same kind of assistance. They're offered formulas right away. There is no attention paid to potential health risks," Andrea Freeman, law professor and author of "Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice," told NPR.
The Delta Baby Cafe, supported by the Delta Health Alliance, provides support for new mothers by teaching logistical techniques, such as how to position the baby while feeding. It also provides access to breast pumps, and breastfeeding education.
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