Whilst it’s widely agreed that breast is best when it comes to giving your new born baby the best start in life, health care professionals have known for decades that breast feeding is associated with lower rates of diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), specific cancers, reduced risk of asthma and obesity.
It seems black women in the UK have one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and do not continue as long as some other ethnic groups. Some argue that the role of black women as ‘nannies’ often being forced to breast feed the babies of slave owners has contributed to the low rates. The pressures often felt from family members and close friends about the ‘acceptable’ age for our babies to ‘come off the breast’ is additionally highlighted when delving into the lived experience of black mothers.
In a recent MBRRACE report it was highlighted that black women were five times more at risk of dying during childbirth compared to white women. Racial bias and racism were further highlighted as causal factors for yet another alarming and unacceptable inequality. Some women said they were not given pain relief even when they asked or needed it because of perceptions about their pain threshold based on their heritage. It is argued that it is this kind of treatment that creates a negative cycle where black women avoid interaction with heath care providers through fear of discrimination following their experience of care.
With childhood obesity and children’s mental wellbeing being one of our priority areas, we believe that our babies should receive nothing but the very best health care to start well and be well. After seeing a post on social media from Ruth Dennison founder of 1-2-1 Doula and Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers, which is the first non-for-profit Black African and Caribbean breastfeeding organisation in the UK, we were excited to learn more about how they were impacting the lives of black mothers across the UK through their annual Black Breastfeeding Week UK (BBWUK) event.
This year, Noire Wellness became one of the official sponsors of BBWUK 25th – 31st August 2019 and are delighted to support Ruth and her team with health promotion, raising awareness of this impactful event and a small financial contribution. We’ve taken great pleasure in supporting BBWUK to increase their capacity for effective communication across cultural boundaries through the engagement, development and production of culturally appropriate health promotion graphics.
“Noire Wellness gave huge support to our Black Breastfeeding Week UK 2019 event. Candice designed the advertising leaflets for the event as a sponsorship and helped with pushing / reposting our marketing materials. I would not forget her efforts towards the event, especially knowing it was from a good place with no expectations of financial gain but true belief and admiration for the cause. True diamond.” – Ruth Dennison, founder of BBWUK
Their second annual takes place on Friday 30th August 2019, 10am to 4pm at The Enterprise Centre TLR Space, 639 High Road. Tottenham. London. N17 8AA. There will be fun, interactive, educational and informative workshops with special guest speakers, including Arlene Dunkley-Wood, Anna Horn and Carmelle Gentle. Creative workshops, comedy / poetry, resources, games, music, light refreshments, gift bags and black business stalls.
Special guest speaker, Carmelle Gentle interview with Ruth Dennison
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively for 6 months (without water or other fluids) and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence promotes the provision of peer supporters or breastfeeding support groups to increase breastfeeding rates. Whilst the NHS Long Term plan commits to ensuring that by 2024, three-quarters of pregnant BAME women will receive care from the same midwife before, during and after they give birth. This is proven to help reduce pre-term births, hospital admissions, the need for intervention during labour and to improve women’s over experience of care.
There is not only a need to improve the health care experience of black mothers across the UK before, during and after their give birth to our babies. But there is a clear and identified need for organisations such as Breaking Breastfeeding Barriers to lead the way in hosting the annual BBWUK event to raise awareness of the culturally appropriate support available for our mothers to help reduce these widening health inequalities.