We are in the midst of Black Breastfeeding Week, which closes out a full month of breastfeeding celebration and awareness. Now in its sixth year, Black Breastfeeding Week continues its strong and very much needed presence.
Why do we need a Black Breastfeeding Week?
- Because only 64.3.9% of black babies have ever breastfed vs. 81.5% of white babies (Source: CDC)
- Because this has been going on for more than 40 years
- Because too many black babies are not breastfeed beyond six weeks
- Because black babies are dying at twice the rate of white babies, and breast milk provides critical nutrition that could help
- Because intense unethical marketing of formula disproportionately affects black mothers and babies
- Because black mothers have a greater lack of support for breastfeeding at home after birth
- Because culturally, historically, and socioeconomically, black women face challenges, barriers, and negative perceptions surrounding breastfeeding at a much greater rate than white women
- Because on top of all of the above challenges, black breastfeeding mothers also face all of the typical challenges during breastfeeding like poor latch, supply issues, clogged ducts, and mastitis
The theme for Black Breastfeeding Week 2018 is #LoveOnTop, because, as the organizers Kimberly Allers Seals, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka say:
"Love encompasses everything we do as parents from breastfeeding to nurturing others. Love is also how we survive grief, overcome breastfeeding and parenting challenges and why we practice good self-care."
I encourage you to read more about the issues at hand and the health at stake for black breastfeeding directly from families who give a first-hand account.
Lamaze joins with families and other organizations to celebrate, support, and recognize Black Breastfeeding Week and the important work being done by advocates and families to improve health outcomes. We hope that you, too, will help play even a small part in doing the same by sharing this article or others like it on social media, reaching out to those in need of support and encouragement, or sharing your own important experience relevant to the mission of Black Breastfeeding Week.