7 Things New Parents Should Know About African-American Babies

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Breastfeeding

Among all ethnic groups, African American mothers are the least likely to breastfeed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54 percent of Black moms breastfeed, compared with more than 80 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of Caucasians. And when African-American mothers do breastfeed, they tend to do it for a shorter time period than other groups. Some experts point out that many Black women have been taught that nursing is “unclean.” But studies have found breastfed babies are seven times more likely to maintain a healthy weight and have significantly fewer gastrointestinal, respiratory, ear, and urinary infections than those who are fed formula. In addition, nursing can reduce the baby’s risk of asthma, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), conditions that are more common among African Americans. Breastfeeding also helps new moms—it burns up to 500 calories a day, so it can help shed post-pregnancy pounds and ward off diabetes.

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