by Brittany Brown Marsh
My breastfeeding journey with Maxine started nearly two years ago. TWO YEARS! I decided to breastfeed years before I was pregnant. I used to work at a daycare center and the entire infant classroom including teachers came down with the stomach flu. Well not the whole room. One baby—the only breastfed baby—didn’t get sick. It was in that moment that I decided I was going to breastfeed all of my future children.
While I was pregnant, I read so many articles and books on breastfeeding. I rarely came across anything written by a black woman. I found that odd, but I still wanted to breastfeed my baby! Nothing was going to stop me. Well when people learned that I was going to be breastfeeding, people expressed a wide range of emotions. Some were visibly angry with me for not choosing to formula feed my child. “How am I supposed to bond with your baby?” was a common question. My favorite reaction of all was “Who told you to do that? That’s a white people thing.” Really? Why would someone even say that to me? I really am glad I was determined to breastfeed because there was little outside support in the beginning.
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. Seriously, as long as my child is eating, what is the problem?
Black Breastfeeding Week is so important to me because it show me and others that WE DO THIS. We nurse our children too. We aren’t ashamed to nurse our children.
Maxine is 23 months old now and is still nursing numerous times a day. No matter where we are, if she needs her milk, she gets her milk. Nursing a toddler is way different than nursing an infant because now she’s standing and dancing and flipping around while nursing. I see no end in sight and WE wouldn’t have it any other way. When she is ready, we will wean. Right now, we are completely content.
I am a black woman who breastfeeds and I am proud!!
-Brittany Brown Marsh
Brittany is a twenty-something Old Dominion University Communications major with a focus in Professional Communications. She graduated from Tidewater Community College in December 2012 and received an Associates of Science Degree in Business Administration. Brittany is married and welcomed her first child in September 2013.