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Breast-feeding gatherings for black women battle gaps

The Columbian
Published:
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MILWAUKEE -- Low rates for breast-feeding may contribute to health gaps facing U.S.
MILWAUKEE -- Low rates for breast-feeding may contribute to health gaps facing U.S. blacks, but in several cities grassroots groups are aiming to change that. Photo Gallery

MILWAUKEE — Low rates for breast-feeding may contribute to health gaps facing U.S. blacks, but in several cities grassroots groups are aiming to change that.

The Milwaukee-based African American Breastfeeding Network is one, and it recently got recognition from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The group’s monthly gatherings encourage mothers to breast-feed while sharing tips and learning strategies for beating barriers that keep them from nursing. That includes sometimes absent partners and employers who don’t allow breast-feeding in the workplace.

Benefits include less infant mortality, asthma, Type 2 diabetes and obesity, which all disproportionately affect black children. Breast-feeding also been linked with lower rates for some cancers and heart disease, which disproportionately affects black women.

The breast-feeding groups also meet in Detroit and Atlanta.

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