Becoming a new mom comes with dozens of new experiences, and breastfeeding issues often rank high on the list of challenges. But for women of color, being able to breastfeed their little ones takes on a whole new meaning.
From battling social barriers that date back to the pre-Civil War era to being underrepresented in the breastfeeding world, for women of color interested in breastfeeding, the odds may seem stacked against them. Thankfully, a conversation about the specific challenges black women face when deciding to bottle or breastfeed is happening on social media.
When blogger and breastfeeding advocate Nicole Johnson started her research about pregnancy and motherhood, she didn't see many images of women who looked like her, mothering the way she knew she wanted to do it.
"I knew there was no way that black women weren't having natural births with doulas and midwives, cloth-diapering, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and making their own baby food. We were doing these things out of necessity before it was mainstream. Through social media, I found a supportive and nurturing community of other black moms sharing their journeys, so I decided to share mine. I want the next mom to look at me and know that she can do it," she told POPSUGAR.
In an effort to raise more awareness about the #normalizebreastfeeding movement, photographers like Lakisha Cohill, the founder of H & C Inc., are creating photo series that capture black mothers and their breastfeeding journeys.
"Since the last photo shoot I did, more women of color have joined the breastfeeding movement," she told POPSUGAR. "I couldn't be more grateful and I'm so proud to be their voice and have the privilege of telling their story in a beautiful way. My dream is to normalize breastfeeding in our community through art and to show how beautiful and powerful we are. But most importantly, [I want women to know] that we're not alone."
We've rounded up a mix of the most breathtaking pictures from everyday moms and professional photographers alike who are passionate about normalizing breastfeeding within their community. Scroll through to see some of our favorite frames.