Yesterday I spent 5 hours helping behind the scenes at Black Moms Blog and their annual Nurseathon. These 5 hours were spent giving breastfeeding support, tips and encouragement to the black mother.
If you weren’t there you missed out. Even as a non current nursing mama, it was something to experience.
It was one of those moments where I felt so powerful being a woman of color.
One speaker, Latham Thomas, said that black women are taught/ expected not to breastfeed when they were literally the ones nursing our nation.
Now not to get deep into the convo but essentially she meant black women who have nursed slave masters babies for years, were now being taught not to breastfeed.
I’m not sure how this concept has come to be, but unfortunately it has.
Again, it’s time to change the narrative.
My Breastfeeding Journey
If you’ve followed me on social media since my son was young, then you may know some of my breastfeeding story already or have heard my breastfeeding tips.
From the time Tate was first born, he latched on without a single problem in the world.
No need for a lactation nurse (though I did see one immediately after birth in the hospital because knowledge is good to have), no lactation cookies, supplements or more.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, it was my easiest part of motherhood.
I absolutely never say this story lightly as I know how many mamas struggle.
Whether it was my background in medical, my past assistance with a lactation consultant in my career, karma for having such a crappy few months after my son’s birth, or just a really good baby, either way, I am thankful.
However, this did not mean I did not face the challenges of being a black breastfeeding mom during my journey.
I’m not quite sure where the thought process of “blacks don’t breastfeed” comes from but we’ve picked it up somewhere.
Here’s some common statements I heard:
- You’re still breastfeeding?
- You’re milk is too thin and not enough for the baby
- He’s too small he needs real food
- He’s starving (if he reached for food at the dinner table)
And the list could honestly go on.
But it is up to us to change the narrative.
It has been said that black moms are still two times as likely to not breastfeed than white moms.
With studies still happening every year, they haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly what is causing this massive difference.
But again, it’s time to change the narrative.
Breastfeeding Support for the Black Mother
Here are 3 things that helped me along the way of my breastfeeding journey:
- Be sound on your decision. This helps prevent any swaying on your end when the naysayers come, because they will. If you make the decision to breastfeed that means any projected doubts or fears will not stand a chance against your breastfeeding decision.
- Get in support. Black doulas, black midwives, black moms groups, these are all amazing places to find the support you need in terms of breastfeeding. From education to emotional stability these resources can provide so much to you along your journey.
- Research. Before the baby comes and even after, research can serve as a pivotal tool in your motherhood journey. Researching past history on black mother breastfeeding and even taking note of some cultural troubles they experience can set you up on the right foot during your breastfeeding time.
Making the decision to breastfeed is among the most sacrificial things you will do as a mother, and also one of the most triumphant.
Black mama don’t be discouraged on your breastfeeding journey.
Your body was made to do this just as much as any other mama.
Happy Black Breastfeeding Week
Take care of you too mama,