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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Protect Black Breastfeeding

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Protect Black families by giving them the choice to breastfeed or not. Keeping Black babies from the most optimal and complete food source which is easily available and accessible to them is harming infants in the Black community.

Black families haven’t always been given a choice in breastfeeding, particularly when they were forced to feed White babies as wet nurses, unintentionally having to make their own children starve. The milk clearly must be the best if the owner had the slaves feeding it to their own child! We didn’t have access to that goodness because we were robbed of it and forced to provide it to nourish someone from another’s womb.

Black families deserve the option to provide breastmilk. Formula companies have been preying on Black families since it created its household legacy off the backs of four black babies. Read Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, Injustice By Andrea Freeman.

Even the ALCU acknowledges this sad statistic, proving this is a civil rights issue for our Black babies if none other. Not giving a family all of their options when it comes to infant feeding is a form of food oppression. Unfortunately continue to see Black breastfeeding rates on the decline due to overly saturated marketing of formula over access to adequate and inclusive breastfeeding support. We see this happening at bus stops, grocery stores, hospitals, baby registry lists and health establishments yet nothing is being done to combat it when it’s a known issue hindering the growth of Black babies from that of their peers.

If you are a healthcare professional, take a stand and protect Black breastfeeding by honoring the WHO code of ethics on breastmilk substitute marketing.

If you are a parent, do what is best for your family and please know that you can and should always have every option available provided to you for informed decision making.

Enjoy this month and celebrate all the Black families by promoting and sharing the joys of Black breastfeeding. Let’s improve access and support for Black families to be able to make a choice not cornered into one.

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