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Delaware raises awareness of health disparities during Black Breastfeeding Week

DE Thrives

Black Breastfeeding Week runs from August 25th to the 31st.

Nationally, Black women have the lowest rate of breastfeeding initiation of any racial or ethnic group, and much of that is due to systemic barriers. Some of these barriers include lack of paid childbirth leave, lack of breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace, and living in food deserts.

In Delaware, Black babies are almost three times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthday, and the Delaware Healthy Mothers and Infant Consortium says that could be reduced by eliminating disparities in breastfeeding.

The overarching goal of Black Breastfeeding Week is to increase breastfeeding amongst Black and Brown mothers by breaking down the barriers preventing them from starting.

Cynthia Guy, Behavioral Health Consultant at ChristianaCare Women’s Health, says one barrier is lack of knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding.

“It’s more than just the fact that the baby gets the nutrients that allows them to be healthier and live longer, but it also creates that bond with the mothers that first year by having that skin-to-skin contact and the direct care for breastfeeding,” explained Guy. “It helps with cognitive, as well as emotional development, within not only just the baby but the mother as they move forward.”

Limited knowledge about breastfeeding can be attributed to a number of factors, including lack of diversity in the lactation field and lack of consistency in breastfeeding information from healthcare providers.

Shamiya Goulde is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with the Breastfeeding Coalition of Delaware. She says her goal this week is to help eliminate one of those factors in the First State.

“I'm using this week as an opportunity to educate our healthcare systems so that we’re all on the same page,” said Gould. “So when those Black mothers go through that door, they're getting the same support all around, they’re getting the consistent, up-to-date information about breastfeeding.”

The DHMIC is hosting a week of events to promote the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding in the First State, as well as address the systemic barriers in place that prevent many mothers from being able to breastfeed.

More information, including a list of events and community resources, can be found online at

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.