Black Breastfeeding Week 2020
Happy Black Breastfeeding Week! Did you know that 58.9% of black women breastfeed their babies, compared to 79% of white women? Were you aware that the majority of breastfeeding support groups are not led by a woman of color, nor do they have many women of color in attendance? The arc that a breastfeeding woman endures has peaks and valleys. Oftentimes, these women have someone to turn to for the support and knowledge needed to overcome the breastfeeding struggles both physically and emotionally. However, what happens when a mother doesn’t feel supported by the professionals because of the color of her skin, and their lack of skill to support so? Without support, knowledge, and resources how can any mother achieve breastfeeding successes?
What is Black Breastfeeding Week?
This year, Black Breastfeeding Week is celebrating its 8th year! Every year from August 25th-August 31st, lactation professionals and organizations unite to bring awareness, information, resources, and celebration to their communities. Lactation professionals, lactating folk, and lactating allies are encouraged to share, celebrate, and come together to bridge the racial disparities and gaps in black breastfeeding.
Why is celebrating a week dedicated to black breastfeeding so important?
Black women are 20% less likely to breastfeed than their white counterparts. Black infant mortality is double, and in some communities triple the rate than that of white infants. It’s been proven that breast milk has a myriad of health benefits that has yet to be 100% replicated by commercial formulas. The CDC has stated that breastfeeding could decrease black infant mortality by as much as 50%. Educating and supporting black breastfeeding in your communities, truly is a matter of life and death.
Why do we need a Black Breastfeeding Week?
Black women were forced to nurse the babies of their slave-masters; because of this, black women were not often able to feed and nourish their own babies. As generations went on, black women were nursing less and less, leaving no role-models to follow or learn from. Implementing a negative aversion to breastfeeding. When support and knowledge are lacking, success will fail. Reclaiming breastfeeding in our mother’s is vital to revive the natural art of nourishment. Black breast milk fed the nation, and therefore is one example of why black breastfeeding should be honored and celebrated.
What is this year’s Black Breastfeeding Week theme?
The 2020 Black Breastfeeding Week theme is “Revive. Restore. Reclaim!” Reviving breastfeeding in black communities. Leading by example for our future generations. Restoring the natural nature of breastfeeding. Teaching that breastfeeding it’s not taboo, and it’s not something that “only white people do”. Generating healthy food foundations and talking about the importance of breast milk. Reclaiming what was once provided by black women to the world, and reclaiming the culture and the freedoms to provide breast milk to kin.
How can I support Black Breastfeeding Week locally? Nationally?
Locally in the Las Vegas Valley, Kijiji Sisterhood is a non-profit support group that supports breast/chestfeeding women of color. With monthly support groups (Melanin Milk Circle), hosting Black Breastfeeding Week events, a donation closet for new and gently-used baby items, and more! Kijiji Sisterhood is operated by professionally trained women of color to support your breast/chestfeeding journey; be sure to follow Kijiji Sisterhood during Black Breastfeeding Week for their virtual events and get involved! Globally, check out BlackBreastfeedingWeek.org for events, resources, and ways to support!
As a black woman who supports women of all ethnicity and backgrounds as an Certified Infant Feeding Specialist, and who has also breastfed herself; I understand the importance of representation. Together we can achieve more. Together we can build back that community of support and provide knowledge to each other. There’s no amount of training, certificates, or degree that can replace the art of natural genuine village support.
#BBW20 #ReviveRestoreReclaim #KijijiSisterhood