If you have been anywhere near the internet this week, you might have noticed the sudden influx of Black moms showing off their beautiful breastfeeding process. You might also have wondered why this influx is happening. Well, this week is Black Breastfeeding Week, and Black moms, now more than ever, have been reclaiming breastfeeding as something to be shown off and proud of.
Here is a little history of Black Breastfeeding Week.
Black Breastfeeding Week became an official event eight years ago by three women, Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, to recognize the fact that for over 40 years, there has been a severe racial disparity not only in breastfeeding rate, but also in the infant mortality rates. The purpose of this week is to reclaim breastfeeding for mothers of color and to also bring about awareness of the poor maternal health outcomes that Black women face in the United States.
According to a 2018 study done by the National Partnership for Women & Families, “Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a maternity-related death than White women.” This statistic does not even take into account economic status or education levels. Black women were often the unwilling designated breastfeeders to White babies, a.k.a. Wet Nurses, during the slavery era in America. Today, Black women breastfeed at rates of less than 20% compared to White mothers.
The racial bias that comes with Black Breastfeeding has been prevalent in this country for the last fifty years, but mothers of color are now beginning to revive Black breastfeeding and reclaiming their natural, maternal superpowers.
Everyday super-moms are showing their pride for breastfeeding and we are so here for it!
In honor of this beautiful movement, we wanted to highlight some of these amazing Black mothers, and showcase how they are reclaiming their bodies and celebrating Black motherhood in all of its glory.
@MamasInColor - “As we go into #BlackBreastfeedingWeek I am B E Y O N D grateful to my body, my daughter, my husband, my birth team.”
@DrLaurenCollins - “[I’m] really proud of myself for sticking with it despite issues like tongue & lip ties, returning to work, and overcoming other barriers to breastfeeding that impact black women disproportionately (aka the reason black breastfeeding week exists!)”
@AlexisKristiana - “The breastfeeding journey of a black mother is not only feeding from her own breast, but that of her ancestors before her. For we are all connected. We revive, restore and reclaim with each drop.”
@goodnaturedskincare - “I am currently breastfeeding twins and most times they feed together. I have found it to be fulfilling, easy and super convenient. I especially love because of the closeness we share for the period, lots of eye contact, lots of caressing, lots cuddles.”
@_mrs.ot - “They say motherhood takes a village and that is relevant on so many levels. I remember breastfeeding in front of my dad for the first time and him saying “don’t worry Katie, I’ve seen it all before. I grew up in an African village remember!?” and that was that!”
@Dawn_anuqueen - “In loving our children we have the chance to love ourselves in a way that others weren’t able to. In a way others did not recognize because they often did not see themselves in us.”