The Breastfeeding Black Woman

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!!

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20 thoughts on “The Breastfeeding Black Woman

  1. Heather C says:

    I am proud of you! I’ve never really thought about it but actually, you’re right. I don’t think I know any black women who breastfeed. What a shame. There are so many benefits for both mom and baby. I hope your post can spread some awareness.

    Like

    • Brittany says:

      I wish I could share it with more than the few who read my blog! It’s definitely beneficial to the child and mother as well. I’m sitting here burning 500 calories a day just from breastfeeding!

      Like

  2. doesitevenmatter3 says:

    What a great blog! I’m so happy for you and proud of you! It’s not an easy thing to do, especially at first. But, if you hang in there it will end up being one of the best things you ever did. The bonding is amazing. And the health benefits are great. I breastfed all of mine from 6 months to 18 months. I LOVED IT! :-) My youngest had a milk allergy (to cow milk and formula) so I breastfed her the longest.
    HUGS to you and to Maxine!!! ;-)

    Like

  3. Tara (@tarairwin09) says:

    This is AWESOME Brittany. Good for you for doing what you know is right for you and Maxine! This was so interesting for me to read, because I feel like I’ve encountered the opposite among the group of moms I’m around- formula feeding seems to be looked down on. Regardless, breastfeeding is the most amazing thing (besides birth itself, I think), and it only gets easier and more convenient with time. Now that Kaya is older and more active, I especially look forward to that special time when we just get to cuddle and rest. Keep up the great work :)

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    • Brittany says:

      I love that I don’t have to bring bottles with me if I don’t want to. Breastfeeding and pumping make me feel closer to Maxine :)

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  4. Stargirl says:

    You know, that’s so weird. I never noticed but you’re right – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black woman (in the US) breastfeeding until your picture! I wonder what that’s about, how it came to be that breastfeeding just isn’t something black women do. Hmmmm.

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  5. LaNeshe (Nesheaholic.com) says:

    I don’t know why black women don’t breastfeed, but it’s apparent to me that not many do. It’s strange. I do wonder the reasoning behind that. I plan to breastfeed. The only black women that I know that do breastfeed are really “natural” people. They had natural births, they have locs and don’t eat meat lol.

    Like

  6. feyenigma says:

    I honestly have never understood the… stigma… that’s attached to breastfeeding, especially in the US.

    Kudos to you! =) The picture is beautiful.

    Like

    • Brittany says:

      Yeah, I hate how uncommon it seems in the US. I want to visit somewhere where I can nurse in public without getting stared at.

      Like

  7. purplepoet7 says:

    Well, hopefully you can be a good influence and get people to remember that it’s the most natural thing in the world and not horrifying at all. It’s so good to hear you happy and enjoying being a mother!.

    Like

  8. Nicole Ocon says:

    Woot! I’m black nurser! :) I understand how you feel. I never saw any black women nursing when I was pregnant with my first son, hence the reason I turned to formula. Whenever I brought up nursing to my family, everyone just responded with ‘yuck’ and ‘gross.’ I did way more research the second time around and I got a lot of encouragement to breastfeed my second son (from friends that happen to be white and my latin husband). My black peers spent more time telling me to pump and to ‘get that kid a bottle.’ I don’t really understand it either. It’s really sad.

    Like

    • Brittany says:

      I’m happy that you did nurse your second son! Yay for you having a great support system! I wish I had a stronger support system.

      Like

  9. A. Stanford says:

    OMG! I Love, love LOVE it! It was just last year that I met the first Black women I have ever encountered in my life who said she had never seen another Black woman nurse her baby until she moved here to WA state! That was the most incredible thing I’d ever heard, and I’m a major breastfeeding advocate for Black women. Black women have had such a unique and complex history in this country, and our breastfeeding tradition just mimics that history. I’m so thankful for your post because you are making such a difference by just being visible and ‘here,’ and are encouraging others. We will catch on.

    Like

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