A breastfeeding mother highlighted the importance of Black Breastfeeding Week and thanked the women who have supported her along the way in a must-read Facebook post.
On Saturday, Phylicia Sadsarin, known as pRoy online, marked the beginning of Black Breastfeeding Week, which is August 25 to 31. In her post, Sadsarin wrote about the pain she has endured while nursing her now 5-and-a-half-month-old daughter, Scout, describing her “poor nipples” and her “rock hard boobs.” Luckily, she has a “great group of black women” to uplift and encourage her.
“To the mamas out there who are on this journey with me I want to say thank you for helping to bridge the gap,” she wrote. “Thank you for helping to lower our infant mortality rate. Thank you for boosting your little one’s immune systems. Thank you for creating a bond like no other with your babies. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your successes.”
Sadsarin told HuffPost she was motivated to share her thank-you note to put a spotlight on both the taboo of breastfeeding as well as the lack of representation for black breastfeeding mothers.
“To be black and to breastfeed lends itself to another set of struggles: lack of representation, lack of education and lack of support from not only family and friends, but medical personnel who, more often than not, encourage formula feeding over breastfeeding,” she said. “It’s extremely disheartening to not have information on the benefits of breastfeeding and encouragement to do so. To me, it sends a message of ‘you are not enough’ when we are enough. Our milk is sufficient enough to sustain a life.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64.3 percent of non-Hispanic black infants born between 2010 and 2013 began breastfeeding compared to 81.5 percent of non-Hispanic white infants. The CDC cites the trend of black women returning to work earlier and their lack of access to professional breastfeeding support for this discrepancy.
Sadsarin said that she is part of two Facebook groups for black breastfeeding moms whom she turns to for advice and support. She also thanked black lactation consultants and her friends and sorority sisters who have breastfed as well as her mother who breastfed her and her siblings.
“Some women have never seen anyone that looks like them breastfeed or mention anything positive about breastfeeding,” she said. “This is why representation matters.”
Though the journey hasn’t been easy, Sadsarin has learned which positions work best while breastfeeding Scout and the way to get “the latch just right.” When asked whether she had advice for other moms who choose to breastfeed, Sadsarin said, “Be kind to yourself.”
“Block out all of the negative, unsupportive remarks and remember you can do this!” she said. “Know that your milk is enough, abundant and ever-flowing.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.