According to Kimberly Seals Allers, expert breastfeeding advocate and author of “The Big Letdown”, the disparity is due to bias and racism. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that hospital maternity wards “are less likely to help black women initiate breastfeeding after giving birth or offer lactation support following delivery” (Santhanam, 2019). Hospital staff offer black babies formula more often than white babies (Santhanam, 2019), which can be one of the most important predictors of breastfeeding duration (McKinney et al., 2016).
In the United States, African-American, Native American and Alaska Native women are about three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), yet sixty percent of all pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented (Rabin, 2019). These statistics hold even when controlling for other factors including income level (Watson, 2019).