As Black Breastfeeding week draws to a close, we’d like to discuss a few facets that highlight of the importance and necessity of BBFW.
- Health and well-being: Black newborn babies are twice as likely to die from preventable illnesses than their white counterparts. Breast milk is a preventative natural medicine that supports immunological and nutritional health throughout the lifespan. Further, breast milk also improves rates of diet related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity that disproportionately affect Black communities.
- Gaps in representation: A lack of cultural competency and diversity is prominent in the breastfeeding support field. The majority of lactation consultants, educators and midwives are not people of color, subsequently perpetuating the false assumption that only white women breastfeed. BBFW helps increase visibility and normalizes bodyfeeding in spaces that lack representation.
- Historical implications: The echoes and trauma of forced wet-nursing on enslaved Black people continue to this day. BBFW creates opportunities for community building, support, solidarity and intergenerational healing.
- Financial benefits: systemic racism has tangible consequences and Black women unfairly earn about 77 cents to a white woman’s dollar. Breastfeeding (while certainly not free!) can contribute to financial health by offsetting the ongoing costs of formula.
This list is by no means exhaustive - rather, it seeks to shed some light on and acknowledge the complex challenges faced by Black parents and caregivers. May we amplify the voices of Black mothers and dismantle the oppressive structures that serve some at the disadvantage of others.