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Black Breastfeeding Week 2022 - A New Foundation : Ignite the Liberation!

Updated: Mar 22

Black Breastfeeding Week is a time of celebration, reflection, affirmation, and empowerment. During this annual gathering, (the revolution is not a one time event) we take it as an opportunity to show the world that we are reclaiming the tradition of breastfeeding from our ancestors.

But when I Google Black Breastfeeding Week this happens…

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It’s disheartening that we have to justify the reasoning behind eliminating racial health disparities. Many people think this week is only essential to the short-term and long-term health of Black families, that’s simply not true this crisis impacts us all. The U.S. would save $3 billion in medical costs alone if we focused on improving support for Black breastfeeding mothers.

I trust in the words of the great Angela Davis… “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Let’s change the narrative and reframe the focus by asking the question of “how”.

The mission of Black Breastfeeding Week is to work on addressing the inequities faced by the Black community in maternal, child, and family health. Increasing Black breastfeeding rates would have a positive impact on maternal and infant health mortality and morbidity rates.

This week was birthed by three courageous and passionate Black women, Kimberley Seals-Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, advocates and activists. Thanks to these admirable pioneers, we celebrate this week in a collective focus to encourage, promote & uplift Black breastfeeding culture.

August 25th - 31st, this year, 2022, is the 10th year of celebration and more events are happening now more than ever with the addition of online gatherings. Even our UK sisters and brothers have joined the party. Last year the theme was “The Big Pause–Collective Rest for Collective Power”. A time to honor the power of rest in social justice, lactation and Black maternal and infant health. Us advocates, community members and organizations, took our rest, but now we are recharged and this thing is just getting started!

I’m going to take a plunge at “the how” by providing ways of celebrating & showing support. Let’s jump right in!


1. Love & Listen

2. Acknowledge Disparities

3. Encourage and facilitate structural & systems change

4. Create more accessible, equitable & inclusive spaces for lactation support groups

5. Support diversity in the field of human lactation

6. Stand with Black moms, babies and families!

7. Show black families and black breastfeeding in a positive light


1. Sponsor

2. Volunteer

3. Host

How to: Support & Celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week

7 Ways To Support

“Black women have unique cultural barriers and a complex history connected to breastfeeding.”

—Kimberly Seals Allers

The complex history in which Seals Allers speaks of has to do with colonization, slavery and white supremacy. A history that continues to control the reproductive capacities of Black and Indigenous women is the foundation on which this country is built. You could see why some Black families choose not to breastfeed as a form of rebellion against white patriarchy. But I say, let’s change that negative to a positive and if this is the route we are taking, instead let’s make the choice to breastfeed be a tool of liberation against white privilege and supremacy.

“Within the realm of influences that contribute to the comparative low numbers for breastfeeding amongst Black Women are, slavery, racism, implicit bias, and discrimination from care/treatment providers.” —Mekha McGuire

Historical trauma has far reaching effects in the Black community. Black people have endured a century of violent oppression, and another century filled with hostile legal discrimination and prejudice that continues to hurt generations. Racism is still the most prevalent and preventable factor in the health statistics of Black mothers and babies in the U.S.

1. Love & Listen

And read this story about Serena Williams traumatic birth experience, almost losing her life due to medical racism when no one listened to her and countless other Black mothers who did lose their lives due to this crisis, like Kira Johnson and Dr. Shalon Irving

The history of wet nursing during slavery is unnerving to say the least. “A lot of slave babies died during slavery because they weren’t breast-fed. They were fed concoctions of dirty water and cows milk” Forced to feed the oppressors' baby over their own.

“Being oppressed means the absence of choices”

bell hooks

But what scares me more is how formula companies continue aggressive marketing campaigns targeting Black families--Black babies are 9x more likely to be offered artificial milk in hospital settings as opposed to white babies. This ideology has been persistent since the 1940’s by the introduction of formula through the company ‘Pet’s Milk’, who indecently used four beautiful Black babies, known as the Fultz Quads, to promote their product. Since then, Formula companies often prey on Black families by making Black women the target audience by over emphasizing the use of Black families in their advertising.

These predatory actions often go with lack of repercussion or oversight. The international code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes, a resolution by the World Health Organization since 1981, is a set of recommendations for member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) designed to regulate the marketing of breast milk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats. It is referred to as the ' WHO Code'.

So let’s consider the optics when we discuss infant feeding. Before the mass oppression of Black people in the US began, breastfeeding was the optimal infant feeding choice for our babies and by continuing this tradition we honor our ancestors. By spreading these types of positive messages we reignite the love for Black breastfeeding, we change the lens and context of Black mothers in media exposure. This is not meant to erase history or diminish the lived experiences of others and carried generational traumas that Black families hold, and we must listen and validate when someone divulges their trauma. Passing down images and stories of Black breastfeeding is one way to show we reclaim our bodily autonomy as a people.

2. Acknowledge The Disparities

Stats & Facts

  • Black women have suffered more