This post is sponsored by Baby K’tan, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I always knew that when I had children I would breastfeed–or at least try.
My first image of breastfeeding was from my mother. I remember her nursing my brothers, so it was normal to me.
Outside of my home, I don’t remember seeing images of other black women breastfeeding. When I had my own family, I remember the judgement from people (even friends) about how long or how much I was breastfeeding.
With no other mirror than my mother, I was often hurt (and frankly annoyed) by people’s judgments. That’s why I’m so excited about the 6th annual Black Breastfeeding Week.
Why is there a Black Breastfeeding Week? The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women. Are you surprised?
Through my own personal journey, there are a few things that I’ve learned about breastfeeding that women aren’t always willing to share. Let me break it down for you:
Breastfeeding Doesn’t Always Hurt
When people find out I breastfeed, sometimes they’ll ask, “doesn’t it hurt?”
Or they’ll tell me that they couldn’t continue because it hurt too much. And honestly, it hurt in the beginning. My two youngest kids have KILLER suction, so it hurt and I was sore for awhile.
Now that I’ve gotten into the groove of things, I don’t have pain anymore. My lanolin is tucked away to be used as lip balm.
Your Baby Will Pinch And Scratch You
One of the sweetest parts of breastfeeding is seeing how content your children are while they nurse. They will often take a break to smile at you, or gaze lovingly into your eyes.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the pinching and scratching.
Maybe because it’s been four years since I’ve had a baby, or maybe because I’m now raising a son in addition to my two girls, but I think my son pitches and scratches more than his sisters did.
As he lovingly stares into my eyes, he also flails his arms around, reaches into my shirt, and pinches and scratches me while he nurses.
My daughters even asked why he was scratching my boobies. I did not have a good answer.
People Will Judge You
You’ll be told so many things about breastfeeding that your head will spin.
They’ll tell you that you are doing it too long, or not long enough.
People will tell you that you nurse too often or that you should’ve introduced the bottle sooner.
They’ll tell you that you’re spoiling the baby if you want to exclusively breastfeed.
My favorite is when people give you the disgusted look for continuing to breastfeed when your child gets teeth.
I ignore the haters. I choose to breastfeed because I can and because it’s the best choice for my baby, so I could care less what others think–even if the opinions come from family and friends.
You Can Breastfeed in Public Discreetly
I get it. We’re in the era of free the nipple and all that jazz. But some people just don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public without a cover.
And some babies don’t like breastfeeding with a cover. How do you compromise with a baby?
With baby #3, baby wearing has been the perfect compromise. With the Baby K’tan I can breastfeed my son on the go discreetly, hands free, and without worry of him getting distracted by all the outside stimuli.
Because let’s face it, when babies get old enough to know what’s going on around them, breastfeeding gets tougher.
I also love that the Baby K’tan offers versatility. Most babies like being held a certain way to nurse. My son loves been swaddled & cuddled. Baby wearing allows me to give him what he craves and be hands free!
When It’s Over, You Will Miss It
This was the part I wasn’t prepared for.
My oldest was 14 months old when I weaned her. She was walking, talking, eating table food and even drinking regular milk. I realized that she was breastfeeding just to maintain the connection with me, and for comfort.
Honestly, I was over
I didn’t enjoy the time that used to be so sweet and I was ready to have my body back. Weaning wasn’t easy, nor was it fun.
We did the cry it out method for 3 nights, and then I was free.
I should’ve been happy, but I was heartbroken. No one told me that weaning her, meant weaning my attachment to our bond.
Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with all of the tools available to moms now, the is easier today than it was 10 years ago.
If you want to breastfeed, work past the myths and find a support group of women who can encourage and support you through your breastfeeding journey.