I’ve been reading a lot about breastfeeding lately and all of the powers of human milk for a human baby. A question that keeps coming up is why is a breastfeeding strategy that is geared specifically for black women necessary? Here’s something I came across that made sense to me but I hadn’t thought about it until now. In “Lactation Management: Strategies for working with African American Women”, Katherine Barber mentioned the importance of understanding the history of breastfeeding for the African woman forced to come to America. A history that includes not being allowed to breastfeed their own children BUT being forced to breastfeed their master’s children. This psychological damage has been passed down BUT I believe it can be changed!
The history has to be acknowledged and once it is, we can begin to address our current state. There is very little support for breastfeeding in the black community but that is beginning to change. Deciding to breastfeed is a BIG deal when you have not been exposed to breastfeeding or especially if you’ve been discouraged from doing so.
It can be very challenging to make the decision TO breastfeed in a community where it is not the norm PLUS you have to worry about HOW to communicate with your peers, boss, neighbors, strangers…about why you’ve made that decision. The thought of having to defend yet another decision in your life can be a bit stressful and discouraging. So here are a few of my suggest. If you see a woman who is pregnant and you just happen to start talking to her about her pregnancy, why not just ask, are you planning to breastfeed? Or maybe just give a thumbs up or word of encouragement to a woman you see breastfeeding. I’m always amazed at how powerful simple gestures can be. And if you’re pregnant and see a woman breastfeeding and she seems to be chatty or willing to share some info ask her about her experience. The more we talk about breastfeeding the more normal it will become😊.
Are you a pregnant mama who is thinking about breastfeeding? What are your thoughts or fears about breastfeeding?