Originally posted on February 1, 2012 at Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers.

It’s February ya’ll and in celebration of Black History Month, Free to Breastfeed presents to you Black Breastfeeding History! All month long we will be sharing Black breastfeeding history facts and photos, posts from featured guests, and other black breastfeeding news including updates about the book, Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers.

So, let’s get started…

Isis breast-feeding youg Horus in naos, Isis Temple, Philae Island, Egypt

“What?! Isis did it too?!”

Black women have been breastfeeding long before time. Looking at breastfeeding in antiquity, there are many goddess that breastfed their young uns.

The ancient Egyptian goddess Isis (Auset), whose name means “throne”, is worshiped as the ideal mother and wife. Auset is often depicted as the mother of Horus (Heru) and is shown nursing him in countless statues, drawing, and steles.

According to Breastfeeding in Art:

In the traditional form Isis sits on a plain throne that is her namesake with her left hand on the infant Horus’ back for support, proffering her left breast to the child. Horus is not usually placed on or at Isis’ nipple or breast but is generally a little distant, offering the viewer the focus on Isis’s breast more than on Horus nursing at the breast. In many of the images of Isis and Horus found in the official tombs and monuments dedicated to the deceased pharaoh, Horus symbolically represents the dead king himself who nurses at the breast of Isis in order to gain the afterlife.


Isis suckling her child Horus in the Papyrus swamps

Egyptian goddess Isis, the symbol of motherhood and protection, nursing her son Horus.

Unbeknownst to some, Egypt is in Africa and Cleopatra did look like Elizabeth Taylor.

Like what you’re reading and want to join in? We’re seeking creative blog contributors for our Black history month series. Lactation consultants, breastfeeders, doulas, etc. are welcome. If you blog, microblog, or tumbl and can bring a breastfeeding spin to black history month, email us with ideas at info@freetobreastfeed.com.