According to 86,000 plus supporters on the successful Facebook page ‘Black women do Breastfeed’ the answer is a resounding “Oh YES! we do”
‘Black’ women from all walks of life band together on a daily basis to show international support for the topic of breastfeeding in the ‘black’ community. The news feed on ‘black women do breastfeed’ bubbles over daily with questions,comments and concerns surrounding nursing mothers, infant children, pregnancy, mother’s to be jitters and body changing concerns. Health, economics of motherhood, marriage relations relating to nursing and social insecurities are spoken of and often addressed with love, resourcefulness and comforting words.
The sisterhood warms the heart and challenges the old paradigm that paints the picture that women of color can’ get along. Black women do breastfeed indeed. The womb-men running the Facebook page are ingeniously using social media to push the normalization of breastfeeding amongst the ‘black’ community. Gratefully they are not alone in this great undertaking. Black women do breastfeed share the front-lines with other inspirational and proactive women and organizations such as Kimberly Seals Aller, Kiddada Green, founder of Detroit’s Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association, Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, co-founder of the Brown Mamas Breastfeed Project and Afrykan Moon of the YouTube channel Breastfeeding Mothers Unite just to name a few.
In August of 2013 a number of forerunners from the collective community of ‘black mom-activist’ came together, to conceive of a progressive idea. Their think tank labored and delivered the 1st annual Black Breast Feeding Week. Extra attention was specifically focused on the ‘black’ community, the time of observance was slated for the last week of August 25th-31st.
Last years initiative was met with much controversy and adversity from other ethnic groups expressing their unadulterated opinions, questioning the need for ‘black’ woman to separate themselves from the collective during National Breastfeeding Month of August. This controversy was addressed in an open letter by motherhood in color advocate Kimberly Seals Allers of Mocha Manual. The piece was entitled ‘Dear White Women: Top 5 Reasons Why We Need a Black Breastfeeding Week’, it was picked up and featured in the Ebony Online life and parenting section. Despite the kickback the observance was a success and it set the tone for a yearly observance.
I would be remiss not to note that the month of August waves the banner for all mothers internationally to embrace breastfeeding. Womb-men of all shapes, tongues and colors are encouraged to rediscover the art of nurturing their young. There are many programs set up for the education and support of women worldwide from Ghana to England, Mexico to India and back through Columbia. We contribute to the collective. ‘Black’, ‘Brown’, ‘Red’,’Tan’ and ‘White’ women do breast feed and sharing our experiences with one another will help to strengthen the bonds that ties which is ‘motherhood”.
“Those that nurse together raise the future that grows together!”
This article has been updated to reflect 2015 numbers originally posted 2014