In New York City, Asian and Pacific Islanders are least likely to breastfeed exclusively within the first 5 days after birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant. Many newborns are missing the protection afforded by their mothers’ breast milk as well as the bonding experience during breastfeeding. Despite the countless health benefits for both mother and baby during breastfeeding, Asian American mothers face numerous barriers preventing them from breastfeeding, including misinformation about the benefits of breastfeeding, difficulties in breastfeeding when mothers returning to work, and lack of social support.
We have found that many mothers think that giving their babies formula is just as good as breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has the potential to improve mothers and baby’s health, and timely intervention and education from health care providers and hospital staffs are important for breastfeeding moms to assure early initiation and successful breastfeeding. A woman’s choice to substitute breast milk is often influenced by misconceptions and a lack of social support.
To combat these barriers, we have enhanced our efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and increase awareness regarding the benefits of breastfeeding in the Asian American community.
We are committed to supporting breastfeeding by providing culturally competent and linguistically sensitive resources and services. With generous funding provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we are implementing a breastfeeding initiative to improve breastfeeding rates within the Health Center and increase awareness of breastfeeding and its benefits in the Chinese American population in the New York metropolitan area.
Our health educators and case managers provide one-on-one breastfeeding counseling with expecting mothers, hospital visits after their deliveries and offer breastfeeding management and support at multiple follow-ups. We have held numerous breastfeeding workshops at our Health Center for mothers-to-be in the community.
If you are or know an expecting mother, learn more about our OB services by calling (212) 966-0228 for Manhattan and (718) 886-1287 for Queens. To learn more about breastfeeding, download this Breastfeeding – Give Your Baby the Best in English or Breastfeeding – Give You Child the Best in Chinese.