Equity: Fairness and Justice in Breastfeeding Support
Breastfeeding equity means providing all families with the information, support and accommodations they need to successfully breastfeed for as long as they desire: regardless of primary language, race, color, religion (creed), gender, age, national origin, disability, marital or family status, sexual orientation, life experience, geographic location, political affiliation or belief, work-related skill sets or life experience.
Equity Principals in Breastfeeding Support
Strive to provide support for all families in their communities, workplaces and health systems through education, individualized lactation care and addressing modifiable barriers to initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.
Recognize that breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration are co-determined by innate and external conditions and their interrelatedness for each family. Innate characteristics derive from human anatomy, physiology and biological health, as well as social, emotional and behavioral health through genetics and possibly cellular memory. External conditions that affect breastfeeding goals and success can be cultural, structural, systemic, and socioeconomic.
Seek to understand and respect these unique characteristics of each family.
Focus on compassionate empathy for all individuals and families and to understand and serve their needs with love and humility.
Collaborate with others who have the mutual goal to increase breastfeeding in families.
BREASTFEEDING DISPARITIES IN PA
Pennsylvania exhibits disparities in breastfeeding initiation by race. Black families, encompassing 14% of the states’ births, experience the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates among all races. Pennsylvania reported these rates in 2019 as follows.
Additionally, the six rural counties in PA which are predominantly white (95%), representing only 3% of the states’ births, experience the lowest breastfeeding rates by county.