Members of a parenting group have organised a stunning photoshoot to encourage more black women to breastfeed their babies.
While the Chocolate Milk Mommies are proud to nurse their children, they’re aware that due to negative stigma, many mothers within the black community choose not to.
And, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control which analysed births from 2000 to 2008, the lack of proper support for breastfeeding within the black community has left infants with the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation.
“It is taboo within the African American home to breastfeed your child, let alone to do it past the age of 1,” Rauslyn Adams, a member of the group, told People.
“Breastfeeding has been seen by some African American women as reverting to ‘slavery days’ when feeding a child by breast was the only option.”
With this in mind, the group of mothers decided to do something about it and posed for a nursing photoshoot to ignite confidence, empower and raise awareness.
Choosing a goddess theme, the women wore crowns to represent strength, poise and patience – all qualities Adams says the group feel are important when breastfeeding – while simultaneously nursing their children.
Captured by photographer Lakisha Cohill, it is hoped that the now viral image will encourage more women to consider breastfeeding regardless of race and to also tackle the taboo of public nursing.
“Feeding a child in public from the breast is often seen as indecent and given a perverse sexual connotation,” Adams adds.
“The indecency claims of public breastfeeding generalisations make it hard for any woman, let alone an African American woman, to nurture her child through breastfeeding.
Despite agreeing that every woman should do what’s best for her, whether that means nursing or not, the parenting group say that it is important to break free of the idea that breastfeeding is taboo and to empower women to feel confident in the choices they make for their children.
“It is important to show black women breastfeeding because our community needs it,” Adams explained.
“We need the support and we need our children to be healthy as well.”