Money And Education Could Change Everything For New Black Moms

Woman holding an infant child
Alyssa Guzik
September 9, 2022

Black maternal and infant mortality rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed in the last few decades. These rates could be drastically reduced with proper medical and financial intervention. A simple way to do this is by educating us about breastfeeding.

Not only has breastfeeding been linked to lower maternal and fetal mortality rates, but it’s also a significant cost saving. Estimations are that breastfeeding can save new parents anywhere from $1200 - $1500 per year. If this is so, why are breastfeeding rates so low in Black mothers?

Historically, there’s a tenuous relationship between Black women and breastfeeding. During slavery, Black women were forced to end breastfeeding early because it reduced fertility rates. Later, we were exploited as mammies and expected to nurse white children. 

This legacy warped but continues today.

A combination of systemic racism within medicine and targeted advertising has led to lower breastfeeding rates in our community. Doctors assume that Black women won’t or can’t breastfeed. Instead of providing education, assistance, and listening to Black mothers, they use their kickback privilege with companies to push formulas into our hands.

It’s taken decades, but the news is FINALLY covering the atrocious rates of Black maternal mortality in this country. Unsurprisingly, racism has permeated medicine, but the link between medical racism and the financial implications is astounding!

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