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The Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk: Educating and Empowering Black Mothers

Bingou Diarra, A.B | Medical Anthropology, Brown University | August 24, 2023

Breastfeeding is the gold standard of nutrition for infants and mothers. Breast milk protects the two against certain illnesses and diseases, and supports the growth and development of the child.

Despite widespread messaging about the benefits of breastfeeding, it remains largely inaccessible to many. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages new parents to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of their child’s life and continue to breastfeed while introducing complementary foods for a year or longer. Unfortunately, statistics on breastfeeding in the United States show a different outcome, particularly for Black and Indigenous women. Loyal Lactation’s annual Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk aims to bridge these gaps. This year’s walk will take place during Black Breastfeeding Week, on Sunday, August 27th, in Stockbridge, Georgia.

Loyal Lactation founder and lactation consultant Sterling Grey-Simmons names her motivations best. “I’m a “first generation” breastfeeder,” she said. “When I had my first child at 21 and decided to breastfeed, I felt alone in my choice. I knew I was doing what was best for my child but I didn’t have a community to ask questions or get support.” Through her fourth annual Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk, she looks to be the person she needed most as a young mother. “The Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk is a time for me to be the support that I wish I’d had when I was a first time mom and connect the community with health and wellness vendors that they may not be aware of. It’s held during Black Breastfeeding Week to shatter the stigma that Black women don’t breastfeed.”

While the Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk is held once annually, it is a manifestation of the work Loyal Lactation does on the ground year-round. Their mission is to arm pregnant and breastfeeding birthing people with quality breastfeeding education and practical assistance. Working closely with individuals and families, Loyal Lactation assists people in meeting their specific breastfeeding goals. The Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk is one among many of their unique offerings. Their educational resources take the form of a breastfeeding coloring book Loyal Lactation’s Facts and Tips For Mother and Child, and their digital breastfeeding training. 

Breastfeeding troubles can be difficult for new parents to navigate, and the Golden Bow Breastfeeding Walk tackles these challenges with an air of lightness. The theme of this year aligns with one of their central values. Titled Support is a Verb, the event is meant to underscore the importance of honoring support as a commitment, rather than an empty word. Through a day of fun, food, education, music, health and wellness, the walk works to empower birthing people within the sphere of breastfeeding and parenting overall. They connect attendees with local and national organizations that provide maternity, lactation, and postpartum care resources. 

Community-care is the cornerstone of the event. In previous years, Loyal Lactation gave over 100 gifts that were filled with breastfeeding, nursing, and child care products and resources, and conducted raffles and giveaways during the event where individuals received breast pumps, haakas, baby carriers, nipple creams, and so much more. It is their hope that this year is bigger and better.

Currently, the organization is seeking monetary sponsorship and item donations to make this possible.

Learn more about the event and register here.

Sponsor the event here.

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