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Black Breastfeeding Week


From August 25 to August 31 is Black Breastfeeding Week.

Created by nurse-midwife Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, founding executive director of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association Kiddada Green, and author and journalist Kimberly Seals Allers, this celebration of black mothers and families was started in 2013. The hope was to bring attention to the racial disparities in breastfeeding rates that can play a major part in the infant mortality rate. Black infants are already more than twice as likely to die when compared to white newborns so anything that can keep them healthy and happy matters. Seeking to normalize breastfeeding, BBW advocates for support of Black families and has events across the country to make that happen. This year’s chosen theme is “Love on top,” in reference to the Beyoncé song.

“Love is at the core of mothering, it permeates everything we do from making a commitment to breastfeed to how we cope with parenting challenges, even loss. In motherhood, in breastfeeding, and in life, anything can be overcome when we put love on top,” says Seals Allers. “Given the social and cultural barriers to breastfeeding, particularly for black families, it takes more commitment, more support, and more love from others to breastfeed successfully. We want black mothers and families to know they are surrounded by loving support in a growing community of folks who are also committed to making sure more black babies receive the optimal nutrition from the start of their lives.”

And plenty of moms are putting love on top in celebration of BBW. From Tatyana Ali to everyday moms around the country, a number of women have taken to social media to share images of themselves breastfeeding their children, along with stories about the importance doing so holds for them. Check out all of the women looking to support fellow mothers in the hopes of saving our children, and if you want more info on the events and what BBW entails, check out the Black Breastfeeding Week website.

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I breastfed my oldest, Jax, for 5 days. After 5 days, I stopped. I stopped because of a lack 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 they’re babes. The cards were stacked against the possibility of me breastfeeding, and I could feel it. We are only 1 day away from our #BlackBreastfeedingWeek Event, THIS SATURDAY! We are so very excited to see all of you there!! This conversation around #BlackBreastfeeding is so very needed! Join me, @kimberlydurdin @lovebrownsugar, @momsincolor Co-founder @kellyamcknight and moderator @ericachidicohen as we dive into all things #blackbreastfeeding. I will share my breastfeeding journey on how I went from breastfeeding my first baby 5 days to breastfeeding my second baby, 2 years 7 months and 4 days (not that I’m counting). The medical system needs to change. Birthing/lactation support systems for black women needs to change. Representation is needed. See you guys tomorrow! #BlackBreastfeedingWeek #MomsInColor #FBF

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I’ll never forget the first time I breastfed 6 years ago. No one had previously explained to me that the colostrum comes first, not to panic when I didn’t see white milk. Or that the process of latching correctly involves several weeks of intense pain. Rawness. Redness. Soreness. Engorgement. Didn’t know that the sound of any infant crying would trigger an instant leak, or that rubbing breastmilk on my breasts after each feeding expedited my healing process. I didn’t know that womens’ nipples turn darker during pregnancy to serve as a bullseye for a newborn’s poor eyesight. Or that the tiny bumps surrounding the areola (called Montgomery tubercles) are glands that secrete a distinct oil & smell that would help guide my child to my boob. That same oil has antibacterial properties to keep the areola properly lubricated for feedings. I was previously unaware that my breast milk had healing properties, that the same breast milk that nourished my child could be used in my child’s ear to heal ear aches, or his eyes to get rid of pink eye. I remember the first time I spilled a bottle of fresh pumped breastmilk. They say don’t cry over spilled milk. I cried. 😂😂 I unshamefully purchased 10 bikinis from Victoria Secret thinking my engorged breasts would permanently be robust, huge and filling. When Jay finished milking them after a year, my poor boobies in the bikini top were comparable to tiny pearls in a huge oyster shell 😂😂😂 Fast forward 6 years with Jacen. I am now empowered, aware, and comfortable. Not every woman is blessed with the ability, time, resources, support system, or proper equipment to successfully breastfeed a child from infancy to toddlerhood. #Breastfeeding is an art. It’s a craft. It’s magical. There is a spiritual connection in breastfeeding that is only understood between mother and child. The art and practice of breastfeeding is not something that is mastered overnight. It is a continual work in progress. Let me end by saying that no woman should feel ashamed or embarrassed if she is unable to breastfeed her child for whatever reason. Continue Reading in Comments.

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Sharing my own experience breastfeeding a toddler… wait, did I just see you shiver at the thought of it? 👀 Is it because they have teeth? Or could it be because they are extremely mobile… or can talk… or *gasp* dare I say it — *whispers* can use their hands to whip out your boob when they are hungry? . . I saw you shake your head. 🤦🏾‍♀️ I’ve even seen you condemn those who choose to breastfeed past a certain age, in public, or even at all. 🤷🏾‍♀️ . . But guess what? I’m 17 months in the game + I can tell you there are STILL benefits to nursing your baby past infancy. We’re talking significant amounts of protein, vitamins A, B, + C, calcium, folate + not to mention energy + important fats that are all transmitted through #breastmilk! Don’t like looking at sick babies? Me neither + breast milk helps decrease childhood illnesses + I’m thankful I don’t get to see many sniffles around here! I can also attest to it not interfering with a healthy appetite in any way (my girl can eat), + more importantly I can count on it to run interference on the “lawd, why is she crying?” spells because there’s comfort in nursing (don’t 🤚🏾 cue the meltdowns). . . For me, it suppressed #ovulation for 15 months (you can read about how I used breastfeeding as birth control in the August issue of @Parents Magazine + on my blog plus all the other positive health benefits. 🤗 . . But the biggest kicker? It’s completely normal! And with black women initiating breastfeeding at only a 58.9% rate, we need all the encouragement we can get, AMIRITE? . . Here’s to those of you who want to breastfeed your unborn child, just started your breastfeeding journey, or are vets in the game: you are appreciated, you are supported, + most importantly: YOU ARE DOING THE DAMN THING! I see you + I am you! Happy #BlackBreastfeedingWeek Fam! 💜 . . Share your breastfeeding victory stories below! #repost via @askpRoy — #blackmomsblog #blackmamasmatter #normalizebreastfeeding #breastfeedingmama #nationalbreastfeedingmonth #blackbreastfeedingweek2018 #motheringwithoutfear #birthofamama #empoweredbirthproject #representationmatters #breastfeeding

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