Why Black Breastfeeding Week Matters: An Open Ended Letter

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Black Woman Nursing Baby Providence Moms Blog

Dear Carol, Becky, Barbara, and Rachel,

Thank you for your concern in wanting to know when you get to be the line leader in this race we call breastfeeding. The short answer to your question is: every other week that is NOT Black Breastfeeding Week is known as white breastfeeding week by default. White is always the default because white is the dominant culture in these United States, so no need to ask when. You get 51 weeks of default breastfeeding. You’re welcome.

For the week of celebration black breastfeeders and chestfeeders take time out to celebrate each other and ourselves. We flood social media and the internet with our photos because the best way to encourage other black women to breastfeed is to model it. We need to see a reflection of ourselves. When I can see someone that resembles me achieving their breastfeeding goals, I believe I can do this too. I saw a picture of a black mother graduating college while in her cap and gown breastfeeding her baby and it inspired me! I had never breastfed in public, but I did the very first time at a graduation in that same week! We have to see ourselves doing it to believe we can do it ourselves.

For the theme of celebration for Black Breastfeeding Week 2018, we say and we sing “Love on Top.” On top of all the struggles and the snuggles, the sleepless nights and wonderful days, the stresses and the blessings, we have love! Love from our families and communities will help us achieve our breastfeeding goals and so we celebrate with them by hosting many events across the United States. Love for our children to continue to give them this perfect food and the love of our sisters that support, guide, and inspire us. Afterall, breast milk is love in liquid form.

To spread the love of black breastfeeders and chestfeeders, we welcome you all to share a post, a picture, a story of a black family placing their “Love on Top” of everything to give their children their best start by breastfeeding. Let the narrative be reframed that “Black Women Do Breastfeed” and black families support that journey. Remember: that we are united to empower one another to reach our goals.

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Shaylene was born and raised in Providence RI (although her family moved around a bit) and usually just shouting out "Shay!" will get you what you need. She loves to serve her community one caregiver at a time, whether it be through breastfeeding support, babywearing education, play dates, online chats, or just a coffee run! Shay has what she needs to fill her cup and LOVES to serve from her abundance! Volunteering is her personal passion, and her job as a medical professional means that her worlds often collide in a glorious fashion; no matter where she goes there are happy people all around her. An independent mother of 2, you can usually find Shay with her two (royal) daughters she has affectionately dubbed the Duchess and Lady of her home. Together, they work hard so they can play harder on the weekends! Welcome to her world... she hopes Providence Mom readers are ready to enjoy the ride!