When it came to breastfeeding, I was torn. I was never breastfed, my mother was never breastfed, and I had never known another mother who breastfed. I was scared. I thought it’d be weird… But after tons and tons of research I decided that it would be the best thing for myself and my child (mind you 6 weeks postpartum I had already lost the 45lbs I gained…. Shout out to breastfeeding).
After giving birth to my beautify baby boy (which wasn’t that bad and I’d do it again and again if I had to) just 2 hrs later I was up and moving ready to see my baby boy latch. I witnessed this same lactation specialist coach and encourage this Caucasian woman with her baby and I was pumped to feed my baby (I should clarify, that the previously mentioned encounter was during a lactation and breastfeeding class that the hospital organized prior to me giving birth). Well, it didn’t really work out that way. My baby boy was having a little difficulty latching, nothing unusual. But I was a little pissed when the specialist INSISTED I bottle feed my baby because he wasn’t immediately latching. And I’m just like what the hell happened to the encouragement??? 1 hour and 44 minutes after our first attempt my baby boy was a breastfeeding champ and 2 months later of exclusively breastfeeding we are stronger than ever.
I always wondered why black women were so low in numbers when it came to breastfeeding, maybe it has something to do with the lack of support in the hospital and at home but mostly it’s the lack of knowledge. So all my expecting moms, black, white, green, or blue I encourage you to choose your baby when it comes to breastfeeding! It may not be right for you but it’s best for your baby!
There are Facebook groups that have kept me enlightened and encouraged throughout this process.
Did you know that it is the first day of Black Breastfeeding Week. There are racial disparities in the medical care pregnant Black women receive but it does not stop after the baby arrives. I have heard horrible stories from Black moms being pushed into formula immediately because of assumptions by nurses and doctors. This ties into our low rate of breastfeeding successfully, into our high numbers of infant mortality and even into common diseases seen in our community such as diabetes and asthma! National Breastfeeding Month just does not do the job of highlighting and educating on the specific issues that Black women face while trying to have a successful breastfeeding journey. Jasper and I are almost at 9 months of successful breastfeeding and that is all thanks to not only me doing my own research but having an amazing support system of doctors and nurses @roperstfrancis. Something that all women should be afforded and that Black women are, at disproportionate numbers, not. #blackmomsdobreastfeed
moments in motherhood: my breastfeeding journey, so far
I’ve mentioned before that the beginning was some of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had living. After a while (but what can honestly feel like eternity. Imagine this happening all day and night because it must) it got super easy, but I had to get there first.
Then there’s the hurdle of learning how to nurse in public. Or feeling comfortable and confident to do it in public. Because no one preps you for that part. You just confront it when your little bean looks at you with big hungry eyes. I never had a problem with public nursing personally and thankfully absolutely no one has communicated anything verbal or nonverbal to me all this time. I love getting knowing smiles from other mothers and giving them right back.
Only once in the beginning did I feel super unsure of what to do. I still couldn’t handle holding him for long periods and Dennis was wearing him exclusively in public. We were close to the Apple Store and he was crying. We stopped in because we were certain there was a family bathroom, but we were wrong. Instead, I found myself hunched up in the ladies room using the handicap stall and hating every second of it. I vowed to never hide away again after that experience. Now I carry a sarong that a friend gave me and I slip him under it so we can stare at each other while he nurses and has a ball. Seriously, he makes all kinds of sounds and flings his arms and legs the entire time usually. It’s hilarious.
I duck into any store or restaurant and nurse him without hesitancy. I do it at the table with friends when we’re eating or having drinks. I do it in the park. The only place I haven’t done it, but I’ve been tempted to, is public transportation. That’s only because our rides to anywhere are so short we just wait to get off. Not that he’s a screamer for food or anything. I can explain to him that it will be a tiny while and he usually calms down once I sing to him or something.
Recently, we’ve entered the world of teeth. That has its own set of new hurdles, like somehow teaching a baby not to use those little sharp things to tear open such a sensitive mound of flesh. He’s become much more of a man handler with me, which I’m fine with. I just cannot handle being bitten. We are still working on it since he hasn’t done it often and teeth are new to us both. He got 2 in the span of a week which was relatively painless I think, but now he’s on again/off again feeling pain because a third tooth is on the way. That’s increased his need for feedings and I’m such a tired mama as a result.