Black lives matter. Black mothers and our babies matter. Black breastfeeding—this definitely matters. That’s why MyBrownBaby is proud to support Black Breastfeeding Week, the inaugural celebration of black life and those who sustain it with the healthiest, most natural sustenance one could give a baby: breast milk.
Black Breastfeeding Week, celebrated August 26, 2013 to August 31, 2013, comes during Breastfeeding Awareness Month, when advocates nationwide educate and give support to breastfeeding mothers, even as they help to build a vital foundation for them to breastfeed successfully. Understanding the unique challenges that black mothers face on our breastfeeding journeys, a committee of nationally recognized breastfeeding advocates came together to address those challenges with a series of events designed specifically with black families in mind. The theme: #BlackLivesMatter.
Black Breastfeeding Week founding committee members are all friends to MyBrownBaby—incredible women who work hard on behalf of us moms and our babies. They are: author, journalist and breastfeeding advocate, Kimberly Seals Allers, founding director of the Detroit-based Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association; Kiddada Green, founder of the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), and; Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, co-founder of the Free to Breastfeed project and MomsRising.org Fellow. The committee is working with the support of MyBrownBaby, MomsRising.org, BlackandMarriedWithKids, and the St. John Hospital and Medical Center.
In honor of the inaugural Black Breastfeeding Week and #BlackLivesMatter, the founding committee has put together a pretty awesome week of events, including:
Monday (August 26)
Celebrate on Facebook and Twitter by sharing a “round of applause,” “fist bump” or “I’m turned up for breastfeeding!” image with any black mom or dad of a breastfed baby. (Hit up MyBrownBaby’s Denene and her hubs, Nick, with a “They’re turned up for breastfeeding!” by tweeting this post, featuring a picture of us and our babies, Mari and Lila, who were breastfed for a year and 10 months, respectively.)
Tuesday (August 27)
BMBFA will host a #BlackLivesMatter community forum in Detroit in collaboration with the St. John Hospital and Medical Center National Breastfeeding Month Celebration, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. The forum will feature representatives from Daphane’s Dove Foundation, Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program, and Sacred Rose Birthing. RSVP with Ronda 313.343.6838.
Later, watch and chat in Black Breastfeeding Live: Dalvery Blackwell, an international board certified lactation consultant and co-founder of the African American Breastfeeding Network of Milwaukee leads a live webinar and informational chat on everything breastfeeding. Hosted by Kimberly Seals Allers. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/BMBFAssociation, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST.
Thursday (August 29)
Award-winning blogger and author, Denene Millner of MyBrownBaby.com (@mybrownbaby) leads a vibrant twitter chat for African American parents on #BlackLivesMatter. Guests include Dream Hampton and Lamar Tyler of the award-winning BlackandMarriedWithKids.com
Join the #BlackLivesMatter Black Breastfeeding Week movement at www.facebook.com/BlackBreastfeedingWeek for resources, support and an awesome celebration of black motherhood and breastfeeding.
1. Black Moms and Breastfeeding: CDC Says Stats Are Rising, But We Need More Support
2. Dear Michele Bachmann: Shut Up About Black Moms and Breastfeeding
3. Black Breastfeeding 360°: Celebrating A New Resource For African American Moms.
Mother’s Milk #1
The milk of women is very sugary. In fact, it is sweeter than any other mammalian milk. It has one-quarter of an ounce of lactose or milk sugar in every 3 ounces. The sugar and fat in human milk are important for rapid brain and spinal cord development in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first three months after birth. Breast-feeding helps to heal the mother and child separation brought on by the act of birth. It also helps to accelerate the process of recovery after birth. In many Hamitic cultures, women are known to breast feed their children from 3 to 5 years. For women, this is a form of birth control also. It helps the mother’s body to heal and repair itself. Women allow themselves adequate time to rear and bond with one child, since mothering is energy consuming. The men or husbands either remained celibate and helped the mother and newborn, or found alternative sexual experiences with the mother or found another partner. The nursing environment was typically assisted by the Mothers and other female kin.
Mother’s Milk #2
Mother’s milk is the first form of food that is given to human beings. No matter what their status or circumstances, mother’s milk is there to nourish and lead the young one to fruition and growth. Mother’s milk is the gift and blessing received by all without special privilege or value. In this way all humanity fundamentally begin as equals, nourished and loved beneath the beautiful breast of their mother. The typical contents in mother’s milk contains many enzymes, minerals and vitamins, hormones (melanin), and water. Milk is an expression of the woman’s blood. Milk is in reality a product of blood. All the fluids of women are essentially blood at their base. The act of breast-feeding bonds the infant to the mother. The love and touching that is experienced allows the emotions and the mind to mature. If the mind and the emotions are matured then thus the soul also has a better relationship to the Creator. The human infant like many organisms in life is depended on love for full growth and experience. Studies have shown that women who do not breast-feed or who do not nurture are more likely to have children with socially maladaptive qualities, which includes, withdrawal, depression, learning disabilities and more. Thus maternal love and nurturing through the act of breast-feeding, is actually the seeds of a full and functional adult. The lack of breast-milk and maternal love is also the base of eating disorders, allergies and even substance abuse. Please, this is not a blame mother diatribe. Mothers need love and support, too. They are Mothers, but they are human-beings first. Mothers also need knowledge and guidance. Correct information empowers and allows women to know and understand how powerful and beautiful motherhood is. As an extension, fatherhood is also powerful and beautiful. And it is a way of educating women and men on the importance of putting love first in societal tenets For by knowing, one knows how to make the right decision that will help both mother, father and baby and thus the whole community.
Saying that, it is by no surprise that in ancient Kushitic culture, the image of Her holding the diving infant is the eternal symbol of divine love, forgiveness and mercy. It is this image, particularly recognized in the Auset and Heru motifs and also in European images of the Black Madonna that the Creator’s love is deeply understood. Maternal love deified characterizes not only the early life of gods and great ancestors, female and male but it also appears in our understanding of the earth mother, the heavenly mother, mother moon and mother sun. The Divine Power is the mother feeding and caring for us with her sacred milk, her touches, hugs and wisdom. Whether She is perceived as the heavens, nature, divine scripture and law or as our very personal biological mother, she is the center of our minds and hearts.