Black Women Breastfeeding: I Hear the Rumors

Before starting the conversation about black women breastfeeding, I have to say that it was a surprise rumor about black women breastfeeding, which said that black women seem to breastfeed less than white mothers.

I was born in USSR and the major part of the population in my area was and is still white. As a child, I haven’t seen many black people in the streets, as you may understand. The biggest visit of people of all colors was in 1980 for the Olympics. After that big event, when the iron curtain fell and USSR held the Olympics, children of all colors appeared the very next year. Some of the people of all colors stayed. Then the cinema came, and we met Whoopi Goldberg, Whitney Houston, Grace Jones.


We couldn’t resist the charm of the gestures, watching the black women with tight skin, big lips and deep voices move, dance, sing on the screens of our TVs. At the lessons of geography, we were shown bare-breasted black women, breastfeeding their babies. The black women were the representation of femininity as such! Their bodies looked healthy, their speeches were full of pride, their faces had no marks of age, their silhouettes had no angular motions: the pure royal natural grace – the grace of the woman. Thus, the black woman was symbolizing sex appeal and fertility.

In the nineties, the fashion for tanned skin started and it was mad. Young women wanted to look as good as black women did. Even the hair fashion had spread widely! Many white women have ruined their hair in order to make it look like the big hair of black women. Being dark-skinned was a real fashion boom in the post-USSR areas. Why? Because from the first years of school, we knew that black woman is a symbol of life initiation.

What the Buzz Around Karlesha Thurman?

I have never had any doubt, that it’s the inner, rooted feature of the race – to bring healthy and beautiful children into the world and be perfect mothers and beautiful women.

Occasionally I came across the information through that viral picture of Karlesha Thurman on the internet. And I was, say the least, surprised to know, that according to the statistics of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention black women in the USA breastfeed their children less than white women in the USA do.

Where does it come from? Reading the American classical literature we were persuaded that black women are the queens of lactation since they’ve been nursing mothers for the white babies (we also had a practice of the nursing mothers in the past times) because they could breastfeed for eternity and took proper care of the children, teaching and guiding them as the babysitters later.


Why are Black Women Breastfeeding Less?

So where do the numbers come from? The media sources are explaining that normally young breastfeeding mothers are quitting breastfeeding earlier because of job issues and lower income – both are often true for black women.

How comes that black women have lower salary rates in the country, where discrimination is considered to be a crime? Honestly, if I were a black woman – I would fall in love and marry a rich white man, who’d let me breastfeed as long as I want to, providing the necessities. Surely, the mother, who is constantly stressed by the fact that she has to earn money while nursing, influences the lactation and the duration of the breastfeeding.

Still, I don’t think it’s tragic. For some reason, I believe that many black women simply don’t manifest breastfeeding in public that much, because it’s self-understood and natural for them – no reason to show off.

Since the informational wave has widely spread, women may claim their rights to breastfeed whenever and wherever. But let us remember: any woman is entitled to decide, whether to breastfeed her child at all and how long to breastfeed the child if she does. In this case, nobody has a legal right to shame, blame or criticize the woman for any decision of the kind. You can never be good for all – some say you’re a bad mother if you don’t breastfeed, some say you’re a perverted mother if you breastfeed for too long, some say that you don’t breastfeed enough being a black woman. The truth is that those “some” are not you. There’s only you and your baby in that self-regulated union.

And to me, the black woman stays the symbol of femininity and motherhood. And that image won’t change because of the research rates. Do black women breastfeed? Of course, naturally!