By Mia Halthon
After being a mom of 3 for many years, I unexpectedly became pregnant with my fourth child. At that time, breastfeeding was like a foreign concept to me. I had never known anyone in my family, friends, nor church circle who had any experience with breastfeeding their children before. After a conversation with my physician regarding breastfeeding, I firmly decided that I was going to breastfeed my fourth child. Looking back on this time, I felt I may have been living inside a bubble. I didn’t know how I had missed the conversations or the information about breastfeeding during my last pregnancies.
However, I did know that I wasn’t going to miss out on this valuable opportunity to breastfeed one of my children. Since I was new to the concept of breastfeeding, I knew that I had to seek out as much information and assistance as possible so that I could have a successful breastfeeding journey. I decided to enroll in a home visiting program where I had the support of a nurse. Additionally, I attended Mommy WIC Breastfeeding sessions on a regular basis, but I still had doubts about whether I could be a first time breastfeeding mother. My husband and family neither supported nor had confidence that I could breastfeed for the first time. Then one day I came across a flyer for Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) at a local community event.
BMBFA provided me with a doula, group sessions, and one on one support. I received enormous help and soaked up all the information, but I couldn’t seem to get everyone else’s opinions out of my head. As my delivery approached I kept finding reasons why breastfeeding wasn’t going to work for me but BMBFA continued to give me reasons breastfeeding always works. Once my daughter was born breastfeeding for me definitely wasn’t easy. It seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong. My breastfeeding journey was definitely eventful. My daughter had problems latching, my milk supply was very low, and I just couldn’t get the hang of pumping just to name a few issues. Through it all I persevered and breastfed my daughter exclusively for 6 months.
There were many trips to the hospital breastfeeding clinic, help from my nurse pumping, and latching assistance from Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association. For me breastfeeding revived my sense of self confidence and individuality. I have always had confidence, but somewhere along the way I had lost it. Between deciding to be a stay at home mom with my third daughter over 8 years prior and battling many health issues I stopped believing in myself and breastfeeding revived that. Also, I always thought of myself as an individual who didn’t follow the crowd or common family trends. At that time I realized over my 22 years of parenting I had relaxed into my family’s traditions and parenting styles. Breastfeeding gave me back my individuality to parent my way without regret or concern for other people’s opinions of me. I wouldn’t change a thing about my breastfeeding journey. It molded me into the strong, bold, and unapologetic mother I am today.
Cross-post on Evenflo Feeding website.