PARENTING
08/29/2016 11:35 am ET

9 Beautiful Photos Of Black Moms Proudly Breastfeeding

They spoke about the importance of seeing black women nurturing their children.

It’s Black Breastfeeding Week and groups of moms, like the creators of the week, want to make sure people see positive images of black motherhood, especially while they’re breastfeeding. 

Supportive communities, such as Black Women Do Breastfeed, Black Moms Breastfeeding Support Group and Mocha Milk Mommy’s Breastfeeding Support Group, are fighting to improve the concerning breastfeeding statistics that show that for years “black infants consistently had the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration,” according to the CDC

In honor of Black Breastfeeding Week, The Huffington Post photographed nine proud breastfeeding mamas who share why they believe society needs to see more empowering images of black women nursing their children. 

  • Nicole Letizia, 36, mom of 2-year-old Sebastien
    "I think a big issue for the public at large is that we are lacking diversity. The only images I had seen in the past were of
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I think a big issue for the public at large is that we are lacking diversity. The only images I had seen in the past were of tribal and native women of color breastfeeding in villages. I think it’s easier to seek help when you know there is someone out there similar to you who is experiencing the same thing, without feeling shame. Seeing features similar to yours means you are not being left out or disregarded. If more black breastfeeding moms were visible, there would most likely be a greater amount of programs available in a wider variety of communities to support them.
  • Anastasia West, 24, mom of 2-year-old Natalia
    "<strong>It is important for the public to see images of black women breastfeeding because that would normalize the act</stro
    Damon DahlenHuffington Post
    "It is important for the public to see images of black women breastfeeding because that would normalize the act and encourage positive attitudes toward black women who chose to breastfeed. Everyday breastfeeding is an accomplishment deserving of encouragement and support."
  • Fatima Mills, 31, mom of 3-year-old Joshua
    "I think <strong>it's important for the mainstream public to see images of black moms&nbsp;of all economic groups breastfeedi
    Damon DahlenHuffington Post
    "I think it's important for the mainstream public to see images of black moms of all economic groups breastfeeding because it will have the greatest impact on the [breastfeeding] success rates in black communities; it will no longer be looked at something only for the poor of foreign nations or the wealthy who can afford to stay home."
  • Jabina Coleman, 34, mom of 2-year-old Nyla
    "I think <strong>it's important for all people to be aware of the fact that there are black moms out there who do breastfeed
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "I think it's important for all people to be aware of the fact that there are black moms out there who do breastfeed because breastfeeding in some communities is still viewed as something only white women do. However, nationally most African American women are breastfeeding at lower rates for initiation, exclusivity and longevity when compared to their white counterparts. Therefore, I believe normalizing breastfeeding and bringing images of black women nursing specifically in African-American communities will foster breastfeeding awareness and empowerment, and encourage women to make an informed decision to breastfeed. Essentially, Black Breastfeeding Week is about ensuring the health equity of future generations."
  • Nyja Richardson, 22, mom of 14-month-old Nolyn
    "The black female body has been sexualized, objectified, and has been made a trend for decades. <strong>The only way for peop
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "The black female body has been sexualized, objectified, and has been made a trend for decades. The only way for people to realize that our bodies were designed to be more than the latest trend is to see imagery of black bodies in a different light. Representation is everything! Many Americans reject breastfeeding and it is abhorrently shunned by some black Americans. Seeing more images of black women breastfeeding their babies will not only renew interest in publicizing the importance of breastfeeding in the African-American community, but also encourages more black women to nurse their babies and promote healthy eating habits from infancy."
  • Stephanie Fearse, 29, mom of 1-year-old Mackennin
    "When I was growing up, breastfeeding was not a part of my narrative. It wasn't blatantly discouraged but it wasn't present e
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "When I was growing up, breastfeeding was not a part of my narrative. It wasn't blatantly discouraged but it wasn't present either. I think that this absence can lend itself to misinformation, or the inability to see ourselves and our bodies as capable. I just want black women to see that we can and we do breastfeed and it's beautiful. Whatever way we choose to feed our children, breastfeeding should be a part of those options."
  • Angela Richardson, 28, mom of 3-month-old Carter
    "Our society deems black women as hyper-sexualized creatures whose bodies are a source of objectification, not as a source of
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "Our society deems black women as hyper-sexualized creatures whose bodies are a source of objectification, not as a source of nourishment for children. It's extremely important for the public to know that our bodies are not to be objectified but to be praised for our abilities to carry our children with such ease and grace and also provide vital nourishment to them."
  • Rachel Rogers-Ebert, 40, mom of 7-month-old Ellis
    "I often see publicity that's pro-breastfeeding geared toward Caucasian women. I feel it's important that black women be incl
    Damon DahlenHuffington Post
    "I often see publicity that's pro-breastfeeding geared toward Caucasian women. I feel it's important that black women be included in this topic. We need to feel that breastfeeding is safe, natural and supported. Images of black women breastfeeding demonstrates that we are giving our babies the best possible start and that it's to be normalized and accepted. We must not be ashamed of our bodies as this is a natural, healthy and normal way to bring optimal nourishment to our children."
  • Tasha Cunningham, 28, mom of 9-month-old Arun
    "It is important for others to <strong>know that there are black women who breastfeed because it dismantles the racist belief
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    "It is important for others to know that there are black women who breastfeed because it dismantles the racist belief that black women are not maternal. This stereotype was systematically perpetuated during slavery when we were denied the right to care for and nurse our children. By creating images of us nursing, we normalize the practice of breastfeeding and end the sexual objectification of our bodies. These images are a beautiful celebration of love and the sacred bond between mothers and their children."
HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Celebrity Moms Who Have Stood Up For Breastfeeding
CONVERSATIONS