So far in my breastfeeding journey, I have noticed one huge thing: There are few black women who breastfeed! In my entire life, I have never seen a black woman breastfeed and I wonder if it is because they don’t normally, or if it is because they are just very private about it. When I am out in public, I never see black women breastfeed, only others.
People are actually shocked to hear that I am breastfeeding and also, people have been visibly angry with me for not choosing to formula feed my child. They think it is barbaric that I am allowing my child to breastfeed. The make comments about how they never breastfed their children and that they don’t see why I would do that. And my favorite, “Who told you do do that? That’s a white girl thing.” Actually, no. It is a worldwide thing. It has just been stupidly frowned upon by many in the United States.
I don’t understand why people think that breastfeeding is bad for ME. Why wouldn’t I breastfeed? Breast milk is by far the most natural and healthy thing I could feed my baby. She is very healthy by the way. She is gaining weight like she should. Every once in a while, I will give her a couple ounces of formula. This is normally when she decides she is hungry and I can’t feed her (like when we have to be somewhere in a short amount of time and I don’t have breast milk pumped.) It’s clear that she notices the taste difference, but she will take it anyway because she is hungry! I hate having to give her formula though because it makes her tummy hurt and she gets super gassy.
Another common question I get is, “What about when you go back to work? You can’t breastfeed at work.” That is one of the most ignorant questions to me. How do you feed your child when you are at work. Obviously a bottle. The magical thing about breast milk is that it can be expressed from the breast and stored in bags and bottles in the fridge and freezer. It is sorcery, I tell you!! Seriously, it’s not that hard to pump breast milk and store it for your child. I don’t plan on being at work 24/7 so, I can still breastfeed her when I am at home.
Breastfeeding in the black community should be more prominent. I’m sure that it is convenient having formula, but it is so rewarding to have that bonding time with your child giving them the best possible nutrition. We need to educate black women on the topic of breastfeeding. The first question I get from other black moms should not be “what type of formula do you use?” and I should not get a look of disgust when I say that I am breastfeeding. SO WHAT. Seriously, as long as my child is eating, what is the problem?
Becoming educated on the topic of breastfeeding is key. The Office of Women’s Health has great information on breastfeeding on their website as does La Leche League. La Leche League will also help you on your breastfeeding journey. They are absolutely wonderful! We need to get more babies breastfed! We need this natural thing to be normalized!
All my children will be breastfed. All of my children will be taught that breastfeeding is a normal thing.
I am a black woman who breastfeeds and I am proud!!