OBS Story - Chloe Webber, Peer Supporter
Chloe with her son
My experience as a mixed White & Black Caribbean breastfeeding mother
Breastfeeding has been a massive learning curve for me and a beautiful experience that I’m lucky to still be enjoying for nearly two years now. Personally, I haven’t felt the harsh reality that many mixed or Black mothers face in the UK and in all honesty, I didn’t even realise there was such a thing. Low breastfeeding rates/durations and the lack of equity in maternity care for Black women were news to me for a few reasons. One of the reasons I believe this is the case is due to the fact that the majority of my family are White, meaning that I hadn’t heard my family talking about the reasons many Caribbean mothers choose not to breastfeed or what traumatic impact the slave trade had in regards to “wet nursing” and how these horrendous experiences in Black history have had an impact on the way many Black Caribbean families feel about breastfeeding.
I hadn’t been educated enough about the decline in breastfeeding for babies after six months of age and the cultural attitudes towards ending breastfeeding earlier on until fairly recently. Having said all that, the fact that I haven’t personally experienced it doesn’t mean that this is not happening and this is a reality that continues to effect breastfeeding rates in the UK among Black mothers to this very day. I believe it’s extremely important to raise breastfeeding rates for the whole population throughout the UK, and important lessons need to be learned about how to improve maternity care on the whole. Raising awareness of Black Breastfeeding Week will help acknowledge what we need to do better.
As a Peer Supporter it really resonates with me that we need to be able to help support all mothers of all ages and races. We also are keen to encourage new Peer Supporters from ethnic minorities to join our team at Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support.
As a Peer Supporter it really resonates with me that we need to be able to help support all mothers of all ages and races. We also are keen to encourage new Peer Supporters from ethnic minorities to join our team at Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support. I believe that it’s of great importance to be representative of how multicultural Oxford is and as a Peer Supporter it’s so lovely to be able to offer support to mothers with newborns and beyond; it’s such a rewarding experience.
You can read more about the legacy of Slavery and wet nursing for African American and Afro-Caribbean families here.
Chloe Webber, mother of 2 and OBS Peer Supporter