Black Breastfeeding Week #BBW was created in 2013 by three national breastfeeding advocates in response to 40+ years of a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. Since then, BBW has been celebrated throughout the nation with over 800 community events to encourage breastfeeding in the black community.
This year’s theme: The Big Pause–Collective Rest for Collective Power provides an
opportunity for mission-aligned brands to support Black women, birthing people and families by honoring the power of rest in breastfeeding, maternal health, and social justice outcomes.
This year, after an unprecedented global pandemic and in solidarity with the multi-racial
movement for Black lives, we honor rest as restorative and revolutionary for Black families.
Furthermore, breastfeeding/body feeding is an important moment of rest in early motherhood that must be valued, not undermined.
This year’s signature event, The Big Pause: Festival of Rest will be a virtual wellness event on August 28, 2021, featuring “rooms” and spaces for meditation, yoga, exercise, cooking, creative arts and, of course, a lactation lounge and more.
Why We Need Black Breastfeeding Week
I’ve written about the importance of #BBW on this site before, highlighting the top five reasons we need this week: the high black infant mortality rate, high rates of diet-related disease, lack of diversity in the lactation field, unique cultural factors among black nursing persons, and food deserts in black communities.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Black Breastfeeding and Lactation
COVID-19 has forced the disruption or discontinuation of evidence-based interventions for
black breastfeeding support, including those recommended in the Surgeon General’s Call To Action, such as peer-led support and community-based interventions. Studies show that
breastfeeding is the first preventative medicine. Breastfeeding is also the safest and most
reliable form of infant feeding during a crisis. This pandemic is devastating Black communities, leaving community organizations stretched for both human and economic resources.