This week marked the fifth annual Black Breastfeeding Week — a movement created to provide guidance and support to black breastfeeding moms, as well as highlight the distinct challenges black women face while breastfeeding (such as the vast racial disparity in breastfeeding rates). Beauty blogger Phylicia Sadsarin marked the week by sharing an empowering photo and message to thank “black women who support, uplift, and encourage one another” through the good and bad times of their breastfeeding journeys.
“I’ve been on this journey for almost 24 weeks and I couldn’t feel more empowered!” Sadsarin begins her Instagram post.
“If it wasn’t for the not so good latches in the beginning (hey – we were learning together, but LORD my poor nipples), engorgements, pumping to relieve the pain of rock hard boobs, nursing around the clock, and streams of milk shooting across the room (don’t ask) — I would have never been able to experience the bond we share, the rapid weight loss (MILF), the natural birth control (use at your own risk), and the feeling of knowing I’m giving her the best of the best.”
And yet, Sadsarin states, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any of the aforementioned hardships. That’s why she’s thankful for women like her mother, who chose to breastfeed all three of her children.
“She inspired me at an early age (my sister-cousin sent me a picture of me “breastfeeding” a baby doll when I was younger) and normalized breastfeeding in our household,” Sadsarin continues. “Since motherhood, I have connected with a great group of black women who support, uplift, and encourage one another through the good and rough times.”
“To the mamas out there who are on this journey with me I want to say thank you for helping to bridge the gap. Thank you for helping to lower our infant mortality rate. Thank you for boosting your little one’s immune systems. Thank you for creating a bond like no other with your babies. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your successes. And a HUGE thank you to all of the black lactation consultants out there! You ladies ROCK!!”
Sadsarin’s post generated praise from moms across the world.
“Excellent,” commented one user. “I think more black mothers breastfeeding will empower our younger generations to do the same.” While anther mom commented: “Glad to see other black mothers nursing their babies! It’s no easy task, but so worth it! The boys nursed for two-and-a-half years before they weaned — strangers and some family members would give me the side eye for nursing so long, but I knew what was best for them. Keep up the good work!”
While many new moms experience breastfeeding challenges, there are unique issues that pertain to black women, including the gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. Recent CDC data shows that 75 percent of white women have breastfed, compared with 58.9 percent of black women.
But the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous: Studies show that increased breastfeeding among black women could decrease infant mortality rates by as much as 50 percent, could help ward off baby infections, and could even reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
The Black Breastfeeding Week movement hopes to break down the socioeconomic and cultural barriers to breastfeeding among black women — and posts such as Sadsarin’s help.
“To all of the mamas-to-be who want to breastfeed: We are here to support you,” she concludes her post. “There is a village and we welcome you with open arms. Happy Black Breastfeeding Week!”
Read more at Yahoo Style + Beauty:
• You won’t want to travel without these Yahoo Beauty editor picks in your carry-on
• What tennis star CoCo Vandeweghe learned from her grandmother, a former Miss America
• Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado confronts online body shamers