Image courtesy of @AfricaBoheme
This week marks the 6th annual Black Breastfeeding Week and I’m embarrassed to say that this is the first year I’ve heard about it. I’m grateful I did though because I’d love to use this platform to help spread awareness. As a nursing mother right now who understands the importance of breastfeeding, I also really understand the hardships and difficulties that come along with it. Both from society, physically and emotionally. I can’t imagine not having the huge support network and resources that I do. Breastfeeding is HARD. Yes most women have the ability to produce milk and nurse their babies, but that’s only half of it. You simply can’t do it alone and if you’re not set up to succeed what choice does it leave you? Let’s do everything we can to ensure that ALL women regardless of their race have access to the same breastfeeding education, support and resources.
Kimberly Seals Allers is one of the founders of Black Breastfeeding Week and shared a really great post on why this week is needed. You can read the full article here but here are some key points from Kimberly’s article:
Black babies are dying at double the rate of white babies. According to the CDC, increased breastfeeding among black women could decrease infant mortality rates by as much as 50%.
There’s also a complete lack of diversity in the lactation field which comes with a load of issues –while trained and skilled, white female lactation consultants that dominate the field may not be sensitive or understand the specific needs of the African American mother. As Kimberly said it also ” unfortunately perpetuates the common misconception that black women don’t breastfeed.”
There are also unique cultural barriers that black women face – from the lack of mainstream role models and multi-generational support to stereotyping within their community.
Learn more about Black Breastfeeding Week here. Follow along the hashtag #LoveOnTop on social media to read posts this week.