Current trends and a recent study show that it is not so good news for babies of African-Americans. Researchers at U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found African-American mothers were less likely to receive breastfeeding support compared to white women, which is a serious issue.
Breast-feeding has many benefits and every mother should be encouraged to breastfeed her child. It is a right of every child but things are changing in the current time. CDC epidemiologist and the study author, Jennifer Lind and her colleagues found that black women were 16 percent less likely to receive encouragement to breastfeed than white women.
The study analyzed the birth records from 2,727 birth centers and hospitals in the United States in an attempt to explain the variance between the breastfeeding supports received by black women compared to other races.
The ideal maternity care provided to mothers in that birth centers and hospitals was also examined and compared to the number of African-American residents in the area. Maternity wards with more black residents were 50 percent less likely to discourage mothers from using formula milk as a substitute to breastfeeding. These areas were also 7 percent more likely to provide pacifiers to the newborns, which may affect breastfeeding.
The study also shed some light on the truths not just of the women's choices but hospital practices as well. There were some other issues to be considered like racial disparities and beliefs or values. Hence these women less educated on how things should be done in the right way. Some of them do not even know how long to continue breastfeeding and what are its advantages. Education of mothers is a very significant thing and all hospitals should take steps for finding out more things and treating everyone equally.
Fourteen percent of white women in the study received proper education and were encouraged to breastfeed. The maternity wards also let newborns stay by their mother's side after birth to further promote breastfeeding.
Dr. Miriam Labbok, founding director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute who was not part of the study, in a telephonic interview has reportedly said, "This study shows the best support is not where it's most needed. If we could just change the hospital practices, I think we could have a lot more equity."
Researchers of this study have however admitted that there is a need for further study to establish the reason behind disparities in maternity care provided and its relation to certain races. Also, there are plans for determining whether poor practices of maternity care have a relation to lower rates of breastfeeding in particular locations.