Black Women Don’t Breastfeed?


It appears that black women have chosen to hold back on the stuff that does a body good.  There’s a story out there by Kimberly Seals Allers that informs us that black women have given up on breastfeeding, but no one seems to know why.

One of Allers conspiracy theories takes us back to the slave plantation when black women were used as “wet nurses.”  She believes that may have caused a disconnect between mother and child that is still present today.  The wet nurses would have to tend to the white children before tending to their own.

But the point I think she’s making is that black women have to get back to it, so that our children are much more healthy and stop dying far more often than any other group of women.

Read here to learn more.

13 thoughts on “Black Women Don’t Breastfeed?”

  1. Most Black women I know who chose not to breastfeed thought it was kind of gross. I never understood it, but they were just turned off by it. I think we have been indoctrinated that breasts are for our men and for decoration – not our babies. If we connect them to a sexual relationship, then it would be kind of gross to have a lil baby on them.
    Many Black women also beleive breastfeeding will make their breasts saggy. So as soon as the baby is born, they ‘tie them down.’ Or wrap them up so the milk goes away.
    I’ve breastfed my children. I can’t imagine how painful that ‘tie-down’ method must be! Missing one feeding hurts like hell!

  2. This is some hogwash! The reason more black women don’t breastfeed is because it has to do with economics and education. It has nothing to do with slavery. In fact, if you ask the average lower to mid income black female about wetnursing, I’d bet my house that if you found any who could define what a wetnurse was, only a small fraction of those would ever know or make a connection to the largely unknown role that black women had in nursing white children in America.

    Not everything is about slavery.

    I personally breastfed my children because:
    1: I was educated enough to know the benefits of doing so
    2: I went to a wonderful care facility that not only promoted breast feeding, but refused to supply formula or formula samples to new mothers.

    I wonder what the breastfeeding percentages are among poor to middle incomed whites. I bet the rates of bottle feeding versus breast feeding, especially amongst the poor, are quite similar!

  3. I’m not even believing this report. Every black mother I know, myself included, breastfed. The only exception to this was my sister, who tried, but the baby wouldn’t take it. I think maybe if some black women aren’t breastfeeding after 6 months, it’s because they are at work and it’s pretty hard to continue working a full day with full breast. I was lucky enough to have my own office so that I could express the milk and bring it home with me. I do think education is a factor, both in knowing how beneficial breastmilk is and also in the type of job they have. If your working an hourly job, you’re definitely not breastfeeding for long. If you can stay home longer or work from home, or have an office that allows it, then you’d breastfeed longer.

  4. I breastfed my son, and I am glad I did. Not only does he not get sick but he’s not growning up to be a small statured man like the ones I see so much. I think it’s because women are not educated to breastfeed. Hell I couldn’t afford formula anyway so it worked out.

  5. 1. Physicians are now informing mothers that there are not highly significant health benefits after ONE MONTH of breastfeeding – longer than one month is primarily for mother/child attachment purposes. This report says Black women aren’t breastfeeding after 6 months. But are a great percentage of us breastfeeding UP TO 6 months? If so, great!
    2. Where are the full stats for this report? Were distinctions made btwn education, geographical location, and socio-economic status? We do come from all walks of life.
    3. I belong to a support group for Black mothers. We are over 100 members strong. I do not know one member who has not breastfed their infant, even those that had to return to work.
    4. Don’t believe everything you read, even if it says “research.”

  6. Amen sisters! I also breastfed both of my children. I was also a member of the Le Leche League, a support group for breastfeeding mothers and I was not the only African American female among them.

  7. I can identify with this article! When I chose to breastfeed my first child, my entire family was against it, even my grandma! Some of their objections included:

    “It’ll ruin your figure!”

    “You just want to ‘show us up’!”

    “That’s disgusting! Why would you do that when formula’s available?”

    “I don’t want to be seen with you if you do that in public.”

    “You can’t have sex if you’re breastfeeding. That’s incest.” (My sister is all looks, no brain…)

    A very large Black family, no support at all. My husband, a Hispanic, was very supportive but thought that breast milk was somehow ‘dirty’ and refused to have a ‘normal’ sex life with me until the baby was weaned 10 months later. (He made me so mad with his attitude, I baked him a chocolate cake from scratch. Guess where I got the milk….)

    I really don’t understand some peoples’ reactions on something so ancient and natural. However, that didn’t stop me from giving all four of my children the best start in life I could possibly give them.

  8. has anyone ever thought of the fact that Breast feeding hurts. It hurts really really really bad.

  9. Natasha, as a woman who has breastfed 2 kids, I can tell you that if it hurts, then it’s not being done right. It’s not supposed to hurt. Seriously.

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