Historically, there’s a tenuous relationship between Black women and breastfeeding. During slavery, Black women were forced to end breastfeeding early because it reduced fertility rates. Later, we were exploited as mammies and expected to nurse white children.
This legacy warped but continues today.
A combination of systemic racism within medicine and targeted advertising has led to lower breastfeeding rates in our community. Doctors assume that Black women won’t or can’t breastfeed. Instead of providing education, assistance, and listening to Black mothers, they use their kickback privilege with companies to push formulas into our hands.
It’s taken decades, but the news is FINALLY covering the atrocious rates of Black maternal mortality in this country. Unsurprisingly, racism has permeated medicine, but the link between medical racism and the financial implications is astounding!