Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about some of the central issues in #breastfeedinginnovation, here are some resources about breastfeeding disparities in America; paid leave; and equity, intersectionality, and design.

Breastfeeding disparities in America

Structural racism, classism, patriarchy and other systems of oppression in the United States have rendered breastfeeding a luxury good: babies from well-off families get it, and other babies do not. The results are both tragic and preventable: black and brown babies are four times more likely than white babies to die in their first year.

Statistically, black and brown infants are disproportionately born premature and of low birthweight, making breastmilk a virtual life saver for their underdeveloped systems.

Paid Leave

To establish a milk supply in the first few weeks of a baby’s life, parent and child must stay close. That is difficult in the United States, which is the only industrialized nation without paid parental leave. (The only other countries that don’t provide paid leave are Papua New Guinea, Suriname and a handful of Pacific Island nations.) Only 14 percent of civilian workers in the United States have access to paid leave, and they tend to occupy upper-income echelons and work in tech, consulting, or finance. About 25 percent of mothers in the United States return to work 10 days after giving birth – when those who delivered a child vaginally are often still bleeding.

Equity, Intersectionality, and Design

Innovation and design work often happen in a vacuum, absent an understanding of how race, gender, and inequity are at play in interpersonal interactions, social processes, and institutional decision-making.  Additionally, race, gender, and other social factors such as sexual orientation, nationality, class etc can intersect as forms of oppression and discrimination – a process known as “intersectionality,” to point to the intersectional nature of identity.  Breastfeeding and women’s health generally are not immune from these dynamics.