In 2011, feeling that National Breastfeeding Month didn’t highlight enough of the specific issues that Black breastfeeding mothers encountered, three Black moms started their own week.
Black Breastfeeding Week, which is held during the last week of August, has the goal of drawing attention to the different challenges that Black women face when they breastfeed, along with celebrating and promoting Black mothers breastfeeding.
Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodel Ayoka are the powerful moms that created this week that focuses on supporting breastfeeding for an underrepresented community.
Sangodele-Ayoka told Huffington Post, “We don’t need anybody’s permission. We’re just going to take the final week [of World Breastfeeding Month] and let everyone know now that’s Black Breastfeeding Week and go from there.”
With the creation of Black Breastfeeding Week came the attention and realization that it was NEEDED. It brought attention to the striking inequalities and lack of awareness, resources, and opportunities that Black woman face in their breastfeeding journey.
Why Black Breastfeeding Week is Important
The most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) research shows that 75% of white mothers have breastfed, whereas Black mothers have only breastfed 58.9% of the time. Comparatively, these numbers are enough to prove that there is inequality when it comes to Black and white mother breastfeeding rates, but this is not the only reason why this week of awareness is needed.
Black Breastfeeding Week is needed to support the following issues:
Black infants have a higher mortality rate
Black infants have a higher rate of sickness due to diet-related issues.
There is a lack of diversity in the medical and lactation field.
There is a different dialogue surrounding the history of Black breastfeeding.
Black woman lack support.
Read more about these causes and proposed solutions at the Black Breastfeeding Week Website here.
2019 Theme: Imagine. Innovate. Liberate!
The theme of the 2019 Black Breastfeeding Week (celebrated August 25th-31st) is created to allow the voices of Black families that have been traditionally overlooked in innovation spaces. It inspires people to bring their fire, passion, and brilliant ideas to revolutionize Black breastfeeding in the United States.
Suggestions for Further Learning and Support
As always, the internet is your friend when it comes to learning more and finding a supportive community. Learn more about Black Breastfeeding Week at these links:
Black Breastfeeding Week Toolkit & Resources from BlackBreastfeedingWeek.org
Breastfeeding Benefits & Challenges for Black Mothers at BlackDoctor.org
Top 7 Ways to Support Black Breastfeeding Week at LactationMatters.org