August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, a campaign designed to celebrate working mamas across the globe who breastfeed, which contributes to healthy development of their babies.
For me, breastfeeding is not only an exercise of reproductive justice, it is a revolutionary and political act. I choose to breastfeed in public as a way to challenge the notion that Black women do not breastfeed. Not only do we breastfeed, we can do it unapologetically, in your face.
As a young parent, breastfeeding was not easy, but with a couple of tips from other mamas and the right support I was able to find my way and breastfeed both of my daughters.
One of the World Health Organization‘s global nutrition targets is that by 2025 it aims to increase to at least 50 percent the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months. For Black mothers, because of systemic oppression and the fact that Black babies are breastfed less often than other babies, we have a ways to go. But one way for advocates to show that we are up for the challenge of increasing breastfeeding in the Black community is to encourage breastfeeding in public. By doing so, it puts the focus on the baby’s needs, which ultimately should outweigh the potential discomfort of onlookers and the stigma associated with expressing milk.