Life has been pretty busy as of late, so I’ve been working on finding a balance and really trying to remain centered. With Black Breastfeeding Week coming to an end, I felt compelled to quickly share some thoughts and my own takeaway.
While I am all here for beautiful black women gracefully and freely nursing and sharing pictures on the gram with hashtags, I think it’s super important to highlight the importance of WHY black breastfeeding week is more important than ever. It’s easy for messages to be misconstrued and sometimes lost in translation when it comes to social media, so let’s quickly break it down. In a recent article in Forbes, founder of Black Breastfeeding Week, Kimberly Seals Allers explains
“Black Breastfeeding Week is an important time for us to really celebrate what Black breastfeeding means. We really talk about Black breastfeeding as social justice, as a way of reclaiming the narrative about Black women not being good mothers. It is all about lifting up those stories.”
The article goes on to highlight:
"The data shows that 85 percent of white women have ever breastfed, versus 69 percent of Black women. This disparity actually goes back to when, during slavery, Black women were actually stopped from breastfeeding their own children and forced to feed the children of their white slaveowners. This horrific experience caused historical trauma and a way of thinking about breastfeeding that has been passed down generationally that says, as Kimberly put it: “Breastfeeding is something that we were forced to do, and something that reminds us of a time that we’d like to forget.”
On the Black Breastfeeding Week website, you can find the main reasons why it is important to focus on the gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates, but for now checkout @Sugaberries quick recaps:
As mothers, we strive to do and be our best. No one’s journey is the same, but I am a firm believer in sharing our stories because there is always someone that needs to receive that message. I am twice a mother and a first-time exclusive breastfeeder. When my daughter was born, my partner and I were made aware ahead of time of certain challenges that may arise when it came to breastfeeding. As a result of a lack of knowledge, my breastfeeding journey was cut prematurely. In hindsight, I fell through the gaps of our healthcare system, and for some time, I would beat myself up about it. I felt that I failed as a mother to provide and nurture my firstborn child - not knowing this issue was bigger than me.
Here I am 4 years later, and I wouldn’t change anything about my journey because it strengthened me to be the resilient and educated parent I am today. I say this all the time, my daughter was and continues to be my biggest teacher in life. Now with our newest addition of the family, I consciously made the decision to breastfeed my son because when you know better, you do better. Both of my children are thriving, and living their best lives in spite of their feeding journeys.
Some nights seem impossible, from cluster feeding, teething, growth spurts - you name it. I’ve had thoughts of supplementing, weaning, calling quits with co-sleeping, and that is totally normal because that’s apart of the journey. My journey. To me, Black Breastfeeding Week is a revolutionary act in itself because black mothers are majestic beings that evoke change. We continue to show up, be present, and fight to break barriers because we choose to prevail. We’re all doing the very best we can, and none of us are in this alone, and when we unite to build a sisterhood - the possibilities are endless.
So let’s continue to revive-restore-reclaim our narrative because we are worth every ounce of celebration.
Love & Light,