So, let's be real about this topic. Let's take a moment, grab a latte and be honest. Here we go...
Black Breastfeeding Week is necessary in the black community for so many reasons that other ethnicities may not fully understand. You see, black women and breastfeeding began to have a negative connotation within the community because our bodies where completely enslaved. We were not only enslaved physically by location but our minds, spirit and bodies. We were raped and,we were wet nurses for slave owners children. Yes, slaves were forced to nurse many children, it was called a wet nurse and we were called a "mammy." Can you imagine not having the luxury to nurse your own children but instead be forced to nurse others? Many slaves children died because they were given milk concoctions that were not adequate for their children. Meanwhile, they nursed and nourished slave owners and other people's children. Overtime, within the black community breastfeeding was nothing more than a reminder of a dark past.
Aside from this, there is also a lack of education about breastfeeding within black communities. We are conditioned to think "You don't have to do that anymore" and for that, many black women opt out the idea of breastfeeding. I had a my first child at 18 and I was not coached about the benefits of breastfeeding. I was not encouraged either. Instead I was told what to do to make it dry up. I will never forget returning to the doctor the day after I had been home ( was sent home 24 hours from the time of birth) , so thats day three of having my little one and I was confused why my breast were in such pain. The doctor did not encourage me to pump it, instead she told me to go purchase a cabbage and place a couple pieces on my breast to make it dry up. Although my beautiful baby girl is now a stunning 15 year old and she is doing great, I am still disturbed at the lack of education and knowledge that was given during that time.
WIth all of this being said, we need a week that is full of black breastfeeding mama's sharing the power of breastfeeding and the education component as well. I absolutely love all of the online support groups for black mothers and mothers of all races. Breastfeeding is not necessarily an easy feat. Some women struggle through it for any reasons. However, it's important that mothers understand the advantages children have being breastfed. I always suggest women should just give it a try and if they are not comfortable, then to try pumping and give the baby the milk in the bottle. At least giving it a try is a helpful. I hope with the continued education and empowerment, black women can now feel more comfortable with breastfeeding their baby and not allow the dark past to deter us from providing our children with a true healthy start.
Photo Info: I participated in a photo session with an event Mama Fresh hosted to celebrate mother's breastfeeding journey. The husband and wife duo Denise and Chuck were awesome! They made us all feel so comfortable! I feel they captured the true essence of the beauty of breastfeeding. They are located in Saint Charles, Illinois. Check them out here: Website
In celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week. I am donating 10 bags of my breast milk to a hospital that is located in predominantly black community and serves predominantly black patients. The hospital will be selected Thursday, and Friday morning I will be taking the milk to the hospital or to the milk bank that they work with. Do you have a hospital in mind? Please email me the hospital and why they are deserving.
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