The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced the launch of BreastfeedNC.com, on Aug. 4. This new website contains comprehensive and credible resources to support families across the state who are interested in breastfeeding.
“The existing resources were scattered and disjointed, which highlighted the need for a comprehensive platform that could provide evidence-based materials,” Courtney Ramsey, the healthy eating and nutrition security coordinator at NCDHHS, said. “We want to be proactive in North Carolina and give everyone the best start to a healthy life.”
According to the website, breastfeeding has various benefits for both the parent and child, such as mitigating the risks of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and ovarian and breast cancers.
Since 2019, August has been recognized as National Breastfeeding Month in North Carolina. According to the 2023 North Carolina Breastfeeding Report, breastfeeding initiation rates in the state have been on the rise recently, with 81.6 percent of parents choosing to begin breastfeeding. This trend is just below the national rate of breastfeeding initiation, which is 84.1 percent.
But, disparities in breastfeeding initiation — or choosing to begin breastfeeding — can stem from socioeconomic status and racial identity, according to the report.
Lack of access to and knowledge of breastfeeding laws and policies, as well as negative cultural norms or stigma, are just some of the barriers for marginalized groups.
“Families sometimes don't have all the information they need,” Kathleen Anderson, a board member at Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities, said. “Different generations don't have all the information they need to understand how important breastfeeding is for the infant and the parent.”
On BreastfeedNC.com, there are resources for new parents, medical providers and support members, such as friends and grandparents. There are also equity-focused resources for Asian American, Black, Latino and LGBTQ+ communities to create a safe space for those who wish to learn more about breastfeeding.
These resources include online courses, lists of local resource centers and classes, to aid in helping find food and download a toolkit that provides a summary of important resources provided on this website.