Breastfeeding is beautiful, but it can be tough, too. Clogged ducts, low milk supply, mastitis and latching difficulties can all make the journey of a breastfeeding mother a hugely challenging one. Nursing a baby is such a monumental, long-term experience and nursing moms need all the support they can find. And that support is greatly needed—according to our 2022 State of Motherhood survey, 39% of respondents say more support would improve their positive feelings around motherhood.

For Black breastfeeding mothers, though, there are additional challenges that they may experience. These challenges are primarily due to racial discrimination, lack of support from both healthcare providers and the community, and generations of trauma that have contributed to lower breastfeeding rates, higher infant mortality rates, and higher rates of chronic illnesses in the Black community.

Editor’s note: Motherly’s special edition State of Motherhood report on Black Mothering in America found that where previous generations of Black mothers were less likely to breastfeed compared to white mothers, younger generations of Black moms are now equally as likely as their white counterparts to breastfeed, which marks a significant generational shift.

Continued breastfeeding support and education for Black mothers is vital in order to improve outcomes for Black mothers who choose to nurse, and to improve breastfeeding and health statistics in the community.

7 resources to empower and support Black breastfeeding mothers

1. African American Breastfeeding Network

The African American Breastfeeding Network is committed to improving breastfeeding rates and infant and maternal health in the Black community by providing breastfeeding support and education in the form of Community Peer Counselors, advocacy and birth support. They also offer free doula support to birthing parents in southeastern Wisconsin.

Related: There’s a racial gap in breastfeeding. Here’s what you need to know

2. Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association

Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association is a Detroit-based organization that’s committed to eliminating the racial disparities experienced by Black breastfeeding families through advocacy, education and support for parents throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey. They aim to build foundational networks of support, and strengthen systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success.

Related: AAP recommends extended breastfeeding for at least 2 years. Here’s how to make that happen

3. Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) Inc.

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) Inc. was founded to address breastfeeding disparities for communities of color. ROSE works to normalize breastfeeding by providing resources and networking opportunities for individuals and communities. As a national expert, and in partnership with communities, they build equity in maternal and child health through culturally competent training, education, advocacy and support.

Related: Black breastfeeding resources from moms who have been there, done that

4. Black Women Do Breastfeed

Black Women Do Breastfeed is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate stigma against breastfeeding in Black communities, educate Black communities about the importance of breastfeeding, educate Black families on the elements of breastfeeding, support Black breastfeeding families on their breastfeeding journeys, increase the visibility of Black breastfeeding families in our communities and improve the rates of breastfeeding in Black communities. Their Facebook page and blog share photos and stories of Black parents breastfeeding to help end the cultural stigma and show that Black women do breastfeed!

5. Black Breastfeeding Week

Each year for the past decade, Black Breastfeeding Week has used 7 days at the end of August to highlight, empower and uplift the Black breastfeeding community. Black Breastfeeding Week was created because for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women. Through education, support, and advocacy, they hope to diminish the racial disparities experienced by Black breastfeeding parents.

Related: For Black women, breastfeeding is an act of revolution

6. Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms

With over 114,000 members, the Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms Facebook group is a great resource for Black breastfeeding parents. The Breastfeeding Support Group for Black Moms offers peer-to-peer, evidence-based breastfeeding support to its members to help encourage and educate them to meet their breastfeeding goals.

7. National Database for Local Support Groups

Finding your closest lactation support group for families of color has never been easier. This database spans the nation and includes multiple support groups in over a dozen states.

A version of this post was published October 2, 2020. It has been updated.