15 Breastfeeding Support Groups For Black Moms
Words: mater mea
Black women do breastfeed. Here’s where you can find them, online and off.
Note: This article includes images of breastfeeding.
Depending on how your pregnancy goes, the first true test you’ll face as a parent is breastfeeding (if you choose to do so).
Breastfeeding’s benefits for babies and parents is well-documented: It provides optimal nutrition for infants and helps reduce their risk of developing diseases (including ones Black people are more prone to, like asthma and diabetes), and some studies have found that breastfeeding may also help reduce your risk for diseases and postpartum depression.
Along with the physical (hello, cracked, bleeding nipples and sleep deprivation) and emotional (Am I doing this right? Am I failing my child?) issues all breastfeeding and chestfeeding people encounter, we have the added stress of institutional barriers.
In America, Black women have the lowest breastfeeding rates of any racial group—and they breastfeed for the shortest amount of time, according to 2015 data from the CDC. An article by the ACLU called “The Challenges of Breastfeeding as a Black Person” pointed out three reasons for this:
We work the most of any racial group and are less likely to have flexible jobs that allow us to pump at work.
Systemic racism in hospitals means we’re less likely to live in areas that have hospitals supportive of nursing and are more likely to have formula pushed on us.
A stigma around breastfeeding that can stem from a number of biases, including our bodies being oversexualized, classist ideas about formula’s superiority, and the idea that breastfeeding is something only white people do.
We would add a fourth reason: A lack of support. When we asked the mater mea community what advice they would give about breastfeeding, a number of them suggested getting the support of partners, friends, family, and lactation professionals.
But what if you’re the first friend to get pregnant, and don’t have anyone to ask? What if your family isn’t supportive of you breastfeeding?
Do what modern parents have done since time immemorial (a.k.a. when Google was invented) : Go online and join a community for breastfeeding Black moms and parents.
Yes, you can read books on breastfeeding and find lactation professionals, but sometimes you want to talk to or just see someone who is in the trenches with you. Or a veteran who can look back and say, “You got this, sis.”
Science backs it up: A 2019 report called “It Takes an E-Village: Supporting African American Mothers in Sustaining Breastfeeding Through Facebook Communities” published in the Journal of Human Lactation stated that “receiving peer support within Facebook communities may positively influence breastfeeding norms and confidence in breastfeeding, help mothers to overcome breastfeeding challenges, and ultimately extend intended breastfeeding duration.”
Here’s a by-no-means-exhaustive list of some support groups you can find on Facebook and Instagram.
1. Black Moms Breastfeeding Support Group
“We are a mom-to-mom breastfeeding support group. We offer encouragement, support, and evidence-based information through community and friendship to help expectant and nursing moms to reach their breastfeeding goals.”
You’re bound to find the support you need in Black Moms Breastfeeding Support Group, a Facebook community with more than 76,000 members at the time of publishing.
2. Black Pumping Mamas
For those who are exclusively pumping or who had difficulty breastfeeding, you may find the safe, affirming space you need in Black Pumping Mamas.
“This group is for women of color who are looking for support and advice, related to pumping, for their precious little ones. … While nursing mothers are welcomed, the discussion in this group should reflect breastfeeding through pumping, only.”
3. Normalize Breastfeeding
If you want to see a variety of breastfeeding experiences while getting an education on different methods of delivering milk (such as “How to Use a Breast Crawl to achieve a Deep First Latch”), you may want to join photographer Vanessa A. Simmons Facebook group Normalize Breastfeeding.
(Note: While the group showcases people of all races, it was created by a Black woman.)
4. Black Women Do Breastfeed
Black Women Do Breastfeed is a page devoted to showing the full spectrum of breastfeeding experiences, letting breastfeeding moms share their stories with striking photos and powerful storytelling.
5. Black Moms Breastfeed
Though the account just announced a long-term hiatus, you can scroll through Black Moms Breastfeed for empowering images of Black women breastfeeding and read the comments for helpful advice.
6. Black Breastfeeding Mamas Circle
Black Breastfeeding Mamas Circle is “a center of learning for Black women providing access to evidence-based information, resources, and the community support necessary to navigate breastfeeding and motherhood successfully.”
For Non-Binary, Gender-Nonconforming, and Trans Chestfeeding People
As you may have already experienced, safe spaces for non-binary, gender-nonconforming, and trans chestfeeding people are hard to come by. We found Birthing and Breast or Chestfeeding Trans People and Allies and Queer Liquid Gold on Facebook, but they weren’t created specifically for people of color.
If the breastfeeding community feels exclusionary or unsafe, you may want to consider building the community you need. Reach out to your friends, medical providers, doulas, or midwives and ask if they know of gender-nonconforming, nonbinary and/or trans parents who would want to connect in person or online.
Creating the space you need can be a huge help on your parenting and chestfeeding journey.
Local Breastfeeding Support Groups
Sometimes you just want to connect with people in person. We get that—that’s why we’ve started hosting Breastfeeding Support Clinics here in New York City. (Subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay posted on upcoming events!)
Along with this database of lactation support groups , here are a few other local breastfeeding support groups across the U.S.
Black Mothers' Breastfeeding Association (DETROIT)
Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle (PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA)
The Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle meets biweekly at local libraries, and as branched into pop-up events at area festivals.
La Leche League (NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL LOCATIONS)
This nonprofit is well-known here in the U.S. and internationally for the support it gives nursing families. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a La Leche League meeting with predominantly Black and brown parents. (The organization also offers support to transgender and non-binary parents.)
Chocolate Milk Moms (BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA)
Chocolate Milk Moms, the group behind some of your favorite viral Black mom breastfeeding photos hosts meetups in Birmingham and surrounding areas. (They also have a Facebook group you can join even if you don’t live in the area.)
The National Breastfeeding Support Center at Howard University Hospital (WASHINGTON, D.C.)
Also known as BLESS (Breastfeeding, Lactation, Education, and Support Services), this support group offers advice and education on childbirth and breastfeeding.
Uzazi Village (KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI)
A doula collective focused on improving health disparities in our community, Uzazi Village has a free walk-in breastfeeding clinic and is known for its Chocolate Milk Cafe, a peer-to-peer breastfeeding support group. (A lactation expert is onsite to provide guidance when needed.)
Kindred Space (LOS ANGELES)
“Kindred Space LA is a hub for midwifery care, doula support, lactation consulting, education, support groups, enrichment, meditation and movement.” They have a prenatal breastfeeding class ($75), breastfeeding support chats ($20), and a weaning workshop ($75).
African American Breastfeeding Alliance (MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN)
The African American Breastfeeding Alliance helps families interested in breastfeeding through an array of programs and services that include community breastfeeding gatherings.
Uptown Village Cooperative (Harlem, NYC)
The Uptown Village Cooperative has lactation education classes and support groups where you can connect with fellow breastfeeding moms alongside International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and Certified Lactation Consultants (CLC).
What groups, websites, or Instagram accounts have you found helpful? Tell us in the comments!
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