While breastfeeding may not be for everyone, a group of moms have teamed up for a photoshoot to let other Black women know that there shouldn't be any stigma in it. The members of an Alabama-based parenting group, Chocolate Milk Moms, joined in on a photoshoot earlier this year in hopes of encouraging breastfeeding within the Black community.
"It is taboo within the African-American home to breastfeed your child, let alone to do it past the age of one," Rauslyn Adams, one 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."
Photographer Lakisha Cohill captured stunning shots of the women, as a group and individually, in a shoot that coincided with Black Breastfeeding Week earlier this year.
Cohill tells Refinery29 that she got involved when Angel Warren, one of the members of the group, got in touch with her. The cause, she says, had personal meaning for her.
"I didn't breastfeed due to lack of knowledge, and support," she says. "These amazing women have convinced me why it's so important to nurse your children naturally, and have created a community specifically to give knowledge, and support to moms who breastfeed."
According to the CDC, just 58% of Black women have ever breastfed, in comparison to 75% of white women, and the purpose of Black Breastfeeding Week was to increase awareness about the role breastfeeding can play in maternal and child health. However, it's an issue that's timely all-year-round.
To that end, Adams told People that "It is important to show Black women breastfeeding because our community needs it. We need the support and we need our children to be healthy as well."
That's not to say that anyone involved in the shoot frowns upon those who don't breastfeed — it's just that it's important to let people know that parents of color can and do breastfeed their children.
"This is a statement saying that black women do breastfeed too, despite them being encouraged not to," Cohill says. "To show a positive image of black women supporting one another, and being powerful strong goddesses despite the negative ways we have been stereotyped by the world."
Refinery29 has reached out to Chocolate Milk Moms for comment, and will update this article when we receive responses.
Read ahead for 12 stunning photos from Cohill's shoot.
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