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Understanding White Privilege in Parenting

In college, I was introduced to White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh. I was shocked to discover how privileged I was and disgusted that nothing in my previous years of education had prepared me to understand the inherent advantages granted by my skin color.

White privilege plays a role in breastfeeding, too. My job afforded me the right to breastfeed as long as I wanted while working. Not all mamas have the same opportunity in their workplaces—but should. There are a myriad of ways that white privileges affects parents.

Fact: "Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women, and a big reason for the disparity may be racism." (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Fact: "Black mothers are nine times more likely to be offered formula in the hospital than white mothers." (Racial and Ethnic Differences in Breastfeeding, Community Child Health Research Network).

Fact: "Black moms are less likely to receive postpartum depression treatment than their white counterparts, even though PPD affects up to 20% of new mothers." (National Institute of Health.)

What can we do to help?

If you are a white parent, recognize the privilege you have.

Educate your children. Provide them with books that encompass the voices of people of color. Here's one:

No Black teachers at your child's school? Don't see any POC authors on a school's curriculum? Speak Up or start a group:

If need be, become an ally for a black mothers at work.

Support black breastfeeding foundations:

Here are some great resources and additional discussion to help further your understanding of white privilege in parenting:

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