Supporting Moms in Achieving Breastfeeding Success
Medela believes in the life-giving benefits that breast milk can provide moms, babies, families, and communities. Sharing and promoting these benefits is an essential part of our commitment to ensuring babies have a healthy start and supporting mothers in achieving breastfeeding success.
We strive to help all moms reach their breast milk feeding goals. Medela recognizes that many moms are not able to breastfeed for as long as they want to because of barriers to access and historical obstacles caused by racism and discrimination. Understanding where and why these disparities exist allows Medela and the breastfeeding community to offer the targeted support, access, and education needed for improvement. We actively seek to foster a community of support that is needed to reduce breastfeeding health disparities and support moms on their breastfeeding journeys.
Closing the Breastfeeding Disparities Gap
Overall, the United States is making improvements in breastfeeding and infant health rates. However, some communities continue to experience disparities. Despite improvements in breastfeeding initiation rates among African Americans and some Hispanic communities, these groups continue to be lower than others, demonstrating a need for targeted support.
This divide cannot be ignored, and is the reason Medela has commited to providing targeted support to communities impacted by breastfeeding disparities.
A 2016 Pediatrics study, "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Breastfeeding," and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a number of complex factors and characteristics which influence a woman's breast milk feeding journey. Characteristics associated with lower breastfeeding prevalence among women include younger age, lower income, less maternal education, unmarried status, cultural norms, likelihood to return to work earlier and to work in environments that are less supportive of breastfeeding; exposure to in-hospital formula feeding, and less support systems. A 2017 CDC report also cited inadequate receipt of breastfeeding information from providers and lack of access to professional breastfeeding support as barriers that black mothers disproportionately face when it comes to breastfeeding.
Although there is no single solution to supporting breastfeeding moms, the U.S. Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding outlines 20 key actions to improve breastfeeding and support. The report suggests that as communities, employers, health-care providers, governments, and non-profit organizations implement strategies to support breastfeeding, all women who choose to breastfeed will benefit. The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions also offers recommendations and program examples to assist states, territories, and communities in supporting mothers to begin and continue breastfeeding.
Medela Resources and Support
Medela is committed to supporting moms and reducing breastfeeding disparities. Learn more about the key actions that Medela has developed in support of moms, infant health and closing the disparities gap through Medela Cares.