By ANGELA CARSTARPHEN WATFORD
Sometimes as a new mom I feel like a cow literally thanks to my new bootylicious bootÃ©e and my new bodacious boobs. Trust me, the description sounds better than it looks. Going from a size 2 to a size 6 in my jeans and from a cute 32C to a voluptuous 34D doesn't make me feel BeyoncÃ©-ish. It just makes me feel like a heifer. Pun intended. But I still feel empowered and thankful that it's all for the health of my child. So what if I have curves the majority of us do. But, guess what? We African American breast-feeding moms are still in the minority.
Studies show that we are the least likely to breast feed and only 54 percent of us even attempt to, while 74 percent of white women actually do. We should know the benefits of breast-feeding that it protects against all types of illnesses and allergies, boosts intelligence, protects against obesity and the risk of SIDS, and even reduces a mother’s risk for certain cancers and stress. We do know these things, right? Then why are we the mothers of all mothers not breast-feeding?
The truth behind us not giving our children the gold standard of infant nutrition is probably that we have different ideas for what breasts are for. Some black women argue that their breasts are for them and their men, not their children, while others say the idea of having a baby suck on their breasts kinda grosses them out. Of course, there are psychological reasons we tend to shy away from breastfeeding dating back to the days when our foremothers were forced to breast-feed the children of their slave owners, sacrificing their bodies to give white children all the nutritional, health and nurturing benefits of breastfeeding, with little thanks from white moms. Is it that we’ve come to regard breast-feeding our children as a form of slavery another example of how we, as black women, are still not in control of our bodies?
Whether it’s vanity or psychology, breast-feeding shouldn’t be something we look at as odd or “special” for that matter; after all, it’s what our bodies were designed for. It really puzzles me when we look at nursing moms sideways or hail them as earthy or exuding some kind of Erykah Badu“like level of deepness for engaging in an act as natural as the sex that gave us moms our children in the first place.
For all the mothers and soon-to-be mothers out there who “got milk,” it's time to speak up and out regarding breast-feeding. It's time for OUR children and us to milk the goods.
Here's a few fun milky treats to remember as you make the journey toward breastfeeding:
- The good news is, I'm in the minority for keeping some curves; most women shed pounds quickly when nursing. It burns an average of 500 calories a day, and that's even if mommy's just sitting around milking and eating bon-bons.
- You never have to get out of bed and warm up bottles in the middle of the night. Just whip ’em out, and both you and your baby can fall right back to sleep.
- Breast is best: Our “liquid gold” has disease-fighting antibodies that can help protect infants from several types of illnesses, and mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of getting breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.
- The kind of bonding you have with your baby while breastfeeding is immeasurable.
- Breast milk is free!
- You get a natural breast implant also for free!
Breast feeding really does a body good… pass it on.
Angela C. Watford is the founder of the editing agency Eyes Dotted and former Deputy Managing Editor of VIBE magazine. When she's not changing diapers and kissing boo-boos, she's copyediting for several publications including InStyle, Essence and BET.com.
Other great MyBrownBaby posts on breast feeding:
- Dear Michelle Bachmann: Shut Up and Sit Down
- Stick To It: Lessons On How To Keep Breastfeeding, Despite the Odds
- Nipples and Ninny: An African American Mom’s Breastfeeding Journey
- Would You Buy Someone Else’s Breast Milk and Feed It To Your Baby? Um, Not Me
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.