by Janice Robinson-Celeste
Remember this viral photo of Black goddesses feeding their cherubs in nature, the natural way? These women are the Chocolate Milk Mommies from Alabama. I give them five slow claps for giving breastfeeding the positive attention it deserves.
Breastmilk is one of the wonders of the world in my book. It morphs to suit the needs of your baby. If your baby is ill, it even looks different to help fight illnesses. I know some moms who swear that just a little in the diaper area will also heal diaper rash. I’ve actually seen that happen. Again, breastmilk is amazing. I nursed all three of my daughters: daughter number one and two for six months, and then daughter number three for 18 months. It was one of the best things I did for them. My breast suffered for it later and looked like deflated balloons post-breastfeeding but I have no regrets and would do it all over again.
Black moms are trailing behind other races with breastfeeding at 64.3 percent when compared with 81.5 percent for white moms, and 81.9 percent for Hispanic moms. What can we do to make this better?
I got the opportunity to speak with the Chocolate Milk Mommies of Birmingham to discuss their epic photo and how they encouraged breastfeeding for Black mothers in the Birmingham area. They had some audio problems on their end of the interview but we improvised and had an insightful discussion. When you listen to the interview, listen to how they describe not only the love they received after the photo was released but also the hate and vitriol that an uneducated world unleashed on them and their group of mothers.
Janice Robinson-Celeste is a businesswoman, journalist, author, school teacher, entrepreneur, mother, grandmother and is one of the original founders of Successful Black Parenting magazine. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post, is a published author of two parenting books, Pride & Joy by Simon & Schuster and Making A Supermodel: A Parents’ Guide. Janice has a degree in Early Childhood Education and holds and a master’s degree in business. Formerly, the School Age Child Care (SACC) Coordinator for the Philadelphia area with the non-profit organization, Parents Union for Public Schools, she developed SACC programs throughout the city. She headed a $2m YMCA where she served as the Executive Branch Director in charge of operations for a new facility, including the NAEYC accredited child care program and summer camp. In addition, Janice held the title of Early Childhood Specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Child Guidance Center where she worked with parents who struggled with substance abuse challenges to guide them with the healthy development of their young children. Janice was also a preschool teacher, has taught children through high school and in higher education at Hofstra University in New York. At the age of 49, she held the title of Mrs. New Jersey United States 2015 and still competes in pageants to this day. She is the mother of three successful adult daughters, including international supermodel, Sessilee Lopez.