I had the opportunity to visit the Tree of Life Birthing Center for a breastfeeding support group. I am far removed from the good ole breastfeeding days as my sons are 13 & 16. These days we have come a long way because I remember when I breastfed 16 years ago, I had an entire sheet over my son and I when in public. There were definitely no support groups and I often used the bathroom stall as a breastfeeding lounge due to a lack of options. I would not have even thought about exposing my breast because it wasn’t “proper” and remember finding somewhere private at home if we had company or was at someone else’s house. But I prevailed for 13 months 😁.
During my visit, I was able to talk with moms about the barriers that black mothers experience when they decide to breastfeed their children. Not that other mothers don’t experience barriers as well, but black moms breastfed at an alarmingly lower rate that white mothers and there are some specific reasons for this disparity between black & white mothers.
Here are some of the factors that these mothers stated prevented or made it difficult for black mothers to breastfeed:
*Lack of support in the community:
*Lack of Understanding of the importance of breastfeeding;
*Misconception that Formula is easier than nursing;
*Make nursing uncomfortable for women in the family;
*Socioeconomic relationship to nursing or not;
*Connection to slavery (wet nursing);
*Having to cover up in your own house…Just to name a few. If you have a spouse, friend, partner, family member, co-worker, etc. who is nursing or considering breastfeeding please be supportive and non-judgmental. They need you!