Human Milk Feeding in the City and County of San Francisco


Landscape analysis of breastfeeding Breastfeeding coalition building


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The issue: Disparities in breastfeeding rates

UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi) is producing a landscape analysis for the San Francisco Department of Public Health that outlines the strengths, resources, and needs of the community with regards to human milk feeding. This work includes identifying the community-based groups, hospitals, outpatient clinics, child care centers, and individuals that are authentically engaging with Black mothers and birthing people. It will also include engaging those who are passionate about improving lactation rates in their community. Once these individuals and organizations have been identified, work to understand the challenges and barriers to successful human milk feeding will begin.

Nationally, approximately 84% of women breastfeed. However, per the 2020 CDC Breastfeeding Report Card, only 47% and 27% of mothers were still exclusively breastfeeding three months and six months after birth, respectively. In San Francisco, 94% of mothers surveyed intended to breastfeed after birth, and 70% of those women hoped to exclusively breastfeed. Yet, the most recent Maternal Infant Health Assessment (2016-2018) shows that after three months postpartum, 87% of mothers in San Francisco were still breastfeeding, but only 39% were exclusively breastfeeding.

When these data are explored even further, disparities and inequities become apparent. Black women in San Francisco breastfeed at much lower rates than Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and white mothers. Only, 67% of Black mothers are feeding human milk to their infants three months after birth in San Francisco, compared to 82% of Hispanic mothers, 86% of Asian/Pacific Islander mothers, and 91% of white mothers. These rates are even lower when comparing exclusive breastfeeding rates.

The team is now interviewing:

  1. Hospital administrators, clinicians, and those involved with care at hospitals,
  2. Community-based organization leadership, lactation consultants, and program managers, and 
  3. Parents who gave birth in San Francisco County in the past five years

Our next step will be to develop a report that will guide a revamp of the coalition.


San Francisco mamas, did you breastfeed your infant born in the last 5 years?

We are currently recruiting for our focus groups. Join our focus groups and get a $45 gift card. We want to hear about your breastfeeding experiences. 

Click here to fill out an interest form


decorative barProject Team


Alexis Cobbins
PTBi Executive Director
Co-Principal Investigator

Ifeyinwa Asiodu
Associate Professor
Co-Principal Investigator

Giannina Ong
Communications Manager
Project Manager


Selina Lao Mason
PTBi Program Manager
Advocacy and Events Lead

Beruktawet Woldemariam
Graduate Student Researcher

Mariah Jiles
Graduate Student Researcher


Lupita Ambriz
Graduate Student Researcher

Amanda Tanaka
LEAD Scholar


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