Black Women Are Posting Beautiful Breastfeeding Photos to Slay a Stupid Stereotype

bstereo/Instagram

black breastfeeding mom
bstereo/Instagram

August 25 officially marked the beginning of the sixth annual National Black Breastfeeding Week, a movement that takes a slice out of Breastfeeding Awareness Month to focus on black women. Why? Because for more than 40 years, there has been a huge racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2011 to, 64.3 percent of black women breastfed compared to the 81.5 percent of white women who breastfed.

Truthfully, there's no easy answer as to why black women are less likely to breastfed -- like most things in life, it's several contributing factors. For one, black women have the unique challenge of grappling with a culturally complex history concerning breastfeeding. Many women served as wet nurses to white slave-owning families and did so to the detriment of their own children. There is also a serious lack of representation and miseducation in the lactation field. 

  • For all these reasons and more, black women are posting gorgeous photos feeding their children to prove to black mothers that they CAN do this. 

    And they're sharing gorgeous testimonials with the photos too:

    "Feeding my two year old I get to see her in her quiet moments and really look at her. She’s taught me that I can be wild and free. I can stand my ground and cuddle sweetly. I’m never to small to ask for what I want and never to inexperienced to demand what I like."

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  • Black mothers are even sharing photos that slay stigmas in the breastfeeding community, such as allowing older children to feed. 

    This user certainly didn't hold back about her journey, either. 

    " I breastfed my oldest, Jax, for 5 days. After 5 days, I stopped. I stopped because of a lack of support. The hospital lactation consultant was quicker to show me how to dry up my milk than to show me how to continue. Looking back, I can recognize exactly what was happening. She took one look at me, a 24-year-old black mother, and immediately determined statistically that I wasn’t worth her time or support. Couple that with the fact that neither my mother or anyone in my family had breastfed long enough, if at all, to be of support. It was 2006, there was no such thing as Instagram or even an iPhone to see beautiful photos or communities of mamas that looked like me breastfeeding their babes. The cards were stacked against the possibility of me breastfeeding, and I could feel it.

  • "I’ve had prenatal care in three countries with my daughter and I can attest to the deplorable standards of the healthcare support system for African American women. I’m feeding my baby in-spite of this system that doubts and discourages me, mainly because I had the luxury of existing outside of it. We’re still feeding she’s three and your ideas/opinions about why I shouldn’t be doing it, are rarely backed up by science. So there’s that."

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  • Hats off to these queens for putting themselves out there for the betterment of their community. 

  • Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, just as every mother should have the opportunity to parent how she sees fit.

    To learn more about Black Breastfeeding Week, click here