Ayanna Robinson, MPH, Ph.D.
Founder, Black Girls Breastfeeding Club
Breastfeeding is the preferred source for infant nutrition, as recommended by the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other national and international health organizations. Breastfeeding rates continue to rise among African American mothers, which should be celebrated. However, disparities still exist.
Breastfeeding initiation and duration are influenced by factors at the individual, interpersonal, community as well as larger factors such as cultural and societal norms and policies. Therefore, increasing breastfeeding rates among African American women requires education, support, and policies that address the needs of breastfeeding women at each level within a social ecological model. Ultimately, improving breastfeeding rates among African American women can improve the health outcomes for Black women and their children.
Established by a mother and public health researcher, Black Girls Breastfeeding Club is an organization that aims to promote breastfeeding among African American women. The content and focus of the efforts of this organization are curated to support African American women broadly, but with special consideration for the interests of younger mothers, who are less likely to breastfeed, in comparison to, other groups of women. We seek to support this aim through two overarching goals.
Educating African American women on the importance of breastfeeding.
Providing information on breastfeeding to Black women and girls is an important part of improving breastfeeding attitudes and increasing the likelihood that mothers will breastfeed in the future. Since decisions about breastfeeding are often made during the early stages of pregnancy and before pregnancy, it is important to educate young African American girls and all women of childbearing age on the importance of breastfeeding. In educating women on the importance of breastfeeding and the health benefits, we also seek to explore historical and cultural factors that influence breastfeeding decisions among Black women, unpacking imagery and narratives applied to Black women and giving voice to narratives that counter stereotypes.
Promoting positive cultural norms surrounding breastfeeding, by highlighting the diverse identities of breastfeeding African American mothers.
Women are more likely to breastfeed when they know other women who breastfeed. Through our social media campaign, we aim to highlight the diversity of African American women from all ages and backgrounds who breastfeed. It is our hope that in showing breastfeeding mothers of diverse identities, we can inspire future generations of breastfeeding mothers.