Black Breastfeeding Week commenced on August 25th for its sixth annual celebration filled with encouragement, support, information and, most of all, LOVE for black, breastfeeding mothers. We recently spoke to a few admins from Facebook’s Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms on the importance of the group’s existence, the change they’ve made, their goals and their professional, solid, science-based advice.
The Facebook group started in 2013 after Stacy Yeager, PhD, had her baby and was in search of breastfeeding support groups for black mothers. As her search came to an empty road, she did what every boss does — started it herself. At that time, Facebook wasn’t allowing its users to create groups unless they had peers joining in, to which Yeager found a wonderful solution to — creating other profiles with aliases for herself in order to start the much-need group.
In five short years, the group has grown from Stacy Yeager, Stacy Yeager and Stacy Yeager to over 52,000 group members and nine administrators, spreading positivity and a wealth of factual knowledge. The administrators hold titles that include Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Lactation Consultant and Registered Nurses. In other words, women who know their stuff.
The Facebook group is a closed Facebook group, meaning you have to request to be a part of it. This allows the admins to see who they’re allowing into this personal and very intimate sharing space. The group is also closed on Mondays and Thursdays so that they can filter through the page and ensure that the rules are being followed.
The group focuses on evidence-based advice, leaving behind the old wives tales, myths and the "this worked for me" advice behind. While this might seem restrictive, the admins want to ensure that the advice given is factual and current. If an old wives’ tale works for one mother, there isn’t a guarantee that it will work for another. The same goes for advice from past generations since having current, scientifically proven advice can ensure that moms (whether first-time or not) will have access to solid information that’s relevant and factual.
One of the top concerns that come up in the group, according to Courtney Lomax Polk, RNC-OB, CLC, IBCLC, is the concern that they’re not making enough milk. Lomax encourages mothers in the group to trust their bodies:
"I just want moms to know that they are enough! Trust your body, trust your baby, trust the process. Your body grew this baby, your body has been making milk since before labor and you can absolutely do this!"
By encouraging women to trust their bodies to do something that women’s bodies have been doing for centuries, the group is battling unrealistic media standards, insecurities and stigmas that come with breastfeeding.
"We want women to be educated. We want them to know their options, we want them to be aware that they can say no — they can accept or deny anything they please. We have so much more information now and it’s time for women to stand up," shared Nzinga Malika with 21Ninety.
The work that’s being done by the group has also made change and there’s only more to come. For great advice from other mothers, as well as breastfeeding professionals, please be sure to join Facebook’s Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms.
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