The Challenges & Opportunities Of Breastfeeding As A Black Mother
For too long, female and femme bodies have been connected to male sexual pleasure, regardless of orientation or preference. Black bodies in particular have been fetishized, and it’s powerful to see many women and femmes reclaiming their sexual autonomy. Our bodies have been viewed through that limited lens, so anything that falls outside that box—like breastfeeding, menstruation, and even aging—is seen as unnecessary or inconvenient.
But why should it be inconvenient to provide life to the next generation?
I would love for us to start having conversations about the reclamation and decolonization of our bodies. And I believe it starts with embodied healing and leadership, which is the work that I do through Embodied Black Girl. The other aspect of reclaiming our bodies as women lies in reclaiming the village. We need to show new moms and birthing people that they are not alone. We need to rally around them as a community. We need to make sure that Black mothers have access to BIPOC-led spaces to connect and undergo the healing process together. Finally, we need to center Black mothers’ mental health—because no books can prepare you for the emotions that come when you have a baby.
Black Breastfeeding Week, started by three amazing Black women, is one of the many organizations spearheading this work. Another organization doing great things is the Black Mother Breastfeeding Association. I would encourage anyone to check out their websites, get involved, and seek out ways to support the Black mothers in your own community.
Together, we can create a culture of nourishment for Black birthing people and our children. But it will take normalizing tough conversations and creating spaces where healing can happen, for generations to come.
As told to mindbodygreen’s senior sustainability editor, Emma Loewe.