Black moms united to support increased awareness for breastfeeding as part of Black Breastfeeding Week.
Did you even know it was Black Breastfeeding Week? Many people didn’t, and it ran from August 25-31. Those that were in the know, were able to access different resources about breastfeeding and promoting its practice in the black community.
The week-long breastfeeding advocacy event was created by Mocha Manual series author Kimberly Seals Allers along with Kiddada Green and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka. All three are very passionate about promoting normalcy for breastfeeding among black parents because they are, statistically speaking, falling behind.
“This is a week to discuss the lack of diversity among lactation consultants and to change our narrative,” the ladies said of their mission for BBW. “[It's] a time to highlight, celebrate and showcase the breastfeeding champions in our community who are often invisible.”
They added, “We have a different dialogue around breastfeeding and it needs special attention.”
Black Breastfeeding Week featured numerous events all over the country like the 4th Annual Brownsville Breastfeeding Walk in Brooklyn. Some very generous moms could even help others by bringing frozen packs of breast milk to a Milk Drive in Oakland that was held on Thursday. Donors, who were screened, could also donate on-site.
Women that couldn’t make it out to an event (due to schedule or location) were still able to participate in Black Breastfeeding week through chats on Twitter and Facebook. Those that wanted to learn more could also take part in a Black mother’s breastfeeding webinar.
To their point, black mothers have been far less likely to breastfeed their children for various reasons whether it be social norms in their residential areas or lack of support in their communities. According to the Centers For Disease Control only 47.4 percent of black mothers were breastfeeding their babies as of 2008. That number sprang up to 71.8 percent among white moms, and 77.6 percent of Latinas did it.
While the number of black mothers that do practice it rose from 2000-2008, black babies consistently had the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation during the study. There’s still a lot of ground to cover to make up for the gap.
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There are a number of benefits to breastfeeding: the babies do are less susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and it helps protect them from developing allergies. Some studies have even found that it can boost your child’s intelligence. And this week, U.S. News & World Report published an article stating that may be one of the first forms of exercise for your baby. Moreover it helps to develop your child’s jaw and airway. Supposedly, it can also help to improve their dental health.
Those are plenty of arguments in favor or breastfeeding no matter what race you happen to be!
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that babies exclusively be breastfed for about 18 months until mothers begin to ween them. It recommended that babies exclusively be breastfed for the first six months of their lives, but more complementary foods can be added to their diet for the next 12 months.