Black mothers have the lowest rates of breastfeeding. Women of color, particularly black women, face steep challenges in many areas of life, including breastfeeding. Many women cite lack of education, high cost of nursing support personnel, minimal peer support, and community pressure to stop.
Though breastfeeding can be a challenge for many women, we need to work to make support and education available to all.
To celebrate black mothers breastfeeding, every day this week we will be featuring one of our members, to honor them and their breastfeeding relationship.
This is Cheryl (and her three daughters!). This is what Cheryl has to say about her breastfeeding relationship:
I am the mother of three beautiful girls. I would love to say that my journey to breastfeeding was full of research and joyful consideration. But the truth of the matter is that I chose breastfeeding because I just couldn't afford to formula feed. To my knowledge I am the first in my family for several generations to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding came very naturally to me. I really didn't need assistance from the lactation consultant at the hospital. My oldest had the most trouble, but she was eight weeks premature. If there was any trouble that I had it was that I was a overproducer.
As I was working with my oldest two, I was only able to solely breastfeed for twelve weeks. I was unemployed with my youngest, so she was primarily breastfed for thirteen months. My two oldest self weaned at around ten months, and I weaned my youngest at fourteen months when I went back to work.
The biggest stumbling block that I ran into was finding ways to pump when I returned to work. With my oldest I was told that they didn't have anywhere for me to pump, and that I would have to use the ladies room to pump. I was revolted when that was suggested. As a result I lost some of my milk supply because I refused to pump in a bathroom. With my middle child, I had an office. I could close the door for privacy. Unfortunately, I was not afforded much privacy as there was always someone at my door with an issue.
As for the benefits of breastfeeding, I was able to bond with my girls. Sometimes feeding them was the only quiet time I had in the day. The health benefits are immeasurable. My girls have never suffered an ear infection.
Unfortunately once they started school, they were unable to avoid all colds and viruses, but they recovered quickly. I have even noticed that my youngest who breastfed the longest generally recovers from illness in half the time than their sisters do
All in all, I would not trade my breastfeeding experience for anything in this world. I would recommend the benefits to anyone. I will be here to support my daughters in their breastfeeding journey should they choose to breastfeed when they have children.
We at Crunchy Mamas Worldwide are proud of Cheryl for breastfeeding three beautiful young women. She was blessed with an ability to nurse easily, and yet she still faced difficulty and lack of support from her workplaces. We commend Cheryl for her nursing three children!
Help us raise the statistics! Visit www.normalizebreastfeeding.org and www.blackbreastfeedingweek.org.