This year marks the 9th annual celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, with the theme being, The Big Pause: Collective Rest and Power.
As a Black mom who struggled to breastfeed all three of her babies, I find it pretty exciting. This week was intended to encourage and empower Black moms all over the world to breastfeed their children. I suffered with postpartum depression and having three children with shallow latches was pretty devastating at the time.
I remember one of my child’s pediatricians advising me to “just give her formula”. That was so tough to hear, knowing that my breastmilk was beneficial for my baby’s health and mine.
There are so many reasons to celebrate Black Breastfeeding, but these are just a few:
The lack of diversity in the lactation field can give off the impression that Black women aren’t experts in breastfeeding or that Black moms don’t breastfeed.
Maternity wards are more likely to offer formula than lactation support, due to Black mothers needing to get back to work soon after giving birth to their baby. From a historical and systemic standpoint, this is detrimental to the Black lactating body.
The statistics of the Black infant mortality rate is alarming. Black babies are dying twice as fast as white babies. There are many reasons behind this, whether it be from low birth weight, prematurity, or differences in access to care.
Regardless of the reason, it’s clear that the immunity and nutritional benefit from breastmilk truly matters.
Black Breastfeeding Week combats and offers up support and encouragement for the disparities that are present due to systemic barriers and racism around the world. As a community let us celebrate Black moms breastfeeding.