August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, intended to inform the public about the health benefits of breastmilk for infants. In addition to month-long awareness campaigns for all audiences, August 25th-31st of this year is highlighted as Black Breastfeeding Week. Here are some need-to-knows about this important movement.
Why have a specific Black Breastfeeding Week?
First, let me stop some naysayers before we even get started: having special observances with “Black” in the title is not divisive or racist. Full stop. It is okay for some things to be for some communities. And we can talk another time about why special observances with “White” in the title are not needed in the U.S.
Moving on. A major driver of BBW is the huge disparity in breastfeeding rates between White and Black mothers (75% to vs. 58.9%, respectively). The reasons for this disparity vary, from lack of representation in lactation professionals, to lack of community resources and breastfeeding role models. The American Association of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization have long touted the important benefits of breastmilk, and BBW is just one effort to bring those benefits to more of our beautiful Black babies.
Black Breastfeeding Week is also meant to highlight the unique barriers that Black mothers face, while also celebrating every breastfeeding success.
Read more about why BBW is important here.
Detroit is home to the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA).
What an amazing resource to have in our own backyard! The BMBFA is led by Black women to support Black women. Talk about sisterhood in action! BMBFA offers a FREE community-based doula program, a FREE support group for Black breastfeeding mothers, as well as a FREE breastfeeding helpline. All of these could make the difference in a mother’s nursing journey.
What can I do to show support?
Just a few ideas!
- Donate to the BMBFA here in Metro Detroit.
- Use your socials to increase the visibility of Black breastfeeding mothers and tell our stories.
- Most importantly, support a mother you know. We all know that every moment of motherhood is hard enough. Show a sista-friend that you love her, you encourage her, and you are there to lend a hand.
To learn more about BBW, here are some socials you can follow: