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Case for Breastfeeding

Case for Breastfeeding

Our Need


According to the World Health Organization, “Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. Review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants.”


Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. The Healthy People 2020 target for the proportion of babies who are ever breastfed is 81.9 percent; however, according to the Centers for Disease Control “Black infants consistently had the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration across all study years. Black mothers may need more, targeted support to start and continue breastfeeding.”


In Allegheny County in 2012, the health department reported about 55 percent of new black mothers initiated breastfeeding, while 74 percent of their white counterparts did. Additionally, in Allegheny County, women of color who are more likely to deliver low birthweight and preterm babies, and are three times more likely than white women to have their baby succumb to a preventable death within the first year of life. Furthermore, in-hospital lactation supports are inadequate in regard to home based needs. There is a lot of work to do!



Our Response


The Healthy Start Center for Urban Breastfeeding will be a comprehensive breastfeeding initiative that will span the domains of research, advocacy, community engagement and education and direct service in order to:


  • Develop a local “agenda” for the breastfeeding education and support for African American women in Allegheny County.
  • Increase the number of African American women who initiate breastfeeding, and who are breastfeeding at six months.
  • Increase access to the number of women of color in Allegheny County trained as peer counselors, Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs), and Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).
  • Support health promoting behaviors such as early prenatal care, health screenings, chronic disease management, etc.


Learn more about the Healthy Start Center for Urban Breastfeeding programming.

Additional Resources


There are many ways your family can support your decision to breastfeed. For answers to commonly asked questions from Dads and Grandmas, check out these tip sheets below.
Visit: Breastfeeding Basics for Dad
Breastfeeding Basics for Grandma
Global Health Media for Families:
It’s only Natural:
Visit: for resources and benefits for Black breastfeeding families to aid with their journey.
Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle


Become a CLC today!

Healthy Children Project provides a 5-day lactation counselor training course. Learn more on their web page.


Global Health Media for Providers:


In 2011, Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA issued a national Call to Action to support breastfeeding mothers with their breastfeeding goals.

See outlined steps: 

Breastfeeding in public is now legal in all 50 states. A mother has the freedom to breastfeed her child in any public or private place that she and her baby are legally allowed to be, including, but not limited to, public parks, museums, restaurants, federal property, and so on.

For a state by state breakdown of breastfeeding laws, visit

Not every mother wishes to breastfeed in public, and that is her decision to make. You have the right to meet your little one’s needs wherever you see fit.

Employers are expected to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breastmilk for her nursing child for up to one year from the child’s date of birth. This space is supposed to be shielded from view, free from interruptions, and not in a bathroom.

For more information on the FLSA requirements, visit –