You are probably wondering where I got the above image from. Well, I simply googled, “black woman breastfeeding“. Some of the images that appeared were a little strange, others infuriating, but the chosen picture seemed to fit the bill – even if those nails are in desperate need for a manicure. For a brief minute I did consider using a picture of myself breastfeeding, but that may have been a little awkward for all of us.
So yeah….here we are.
You know I have had this blog post sitting in my drafts section waiting for the right moment. Ironically being sleep deprived because of a demanding breastfeeding schedule has meant I haven’t been able to release the post. In my last post I shared my birth experience, so I guess the natural progression is to share my experience breastfeeding.
Before I had the baby I had made the decision that I was going to breastfeed. I made this decision because I knew breastfeeding extended beyond the nutritional benefits. With that in mind I was keen to learn as much as I could. I remember being about 30 plus weeks pregnant and going to work one day and telling my colleagues, “I am going to be leaving early today because I am attending a breast feeding class in the afternoon“. My female colleagues who are already mothers looked on in amusement. One colleague who breast fed her child for a total period of one week commented, “Why would you want to breast feed? Its gross”. That was met with a cold glare from me. Another colleague simply said, ” You don’t have the baby yet, how are you going to breastfeed?“. I laughed and simply responded with, “At this rate if they have a class on how to push during labour – I will be going”. With that I silenced the critics.
Later that afternoon I was delayed leaving the office and got stuck in traffic. This meant that I arrived at the class late. When I arrived classroom I was given a caucasian dummy dolls so that we could learn and practise the correct breastfeeding technique – I am an African woman. Even though I half expected them to have dolls from different nationalities – I didn’t make a fuss.
The class was packed and I and had no choice but to sit in the front row. Unfortunately for me being at such close proximity to the teacher made me an easy target to demonstrate to the class. Picture this I was at the front of the class with a big white breast strapped over my clothes with velcro demonstrating breastfeeding with my caucasian dummy baby. It was very awkward yet amusing given my skin tone. Laugh, because its funny. Anyway, all that aside I walked away with knowledge and confidence to breast feed my baby.
After childbirth, the first few days were hard. Like really hard. Harder than I imagined them to be. All I wanted to do was feed the baby, but it just wasn’t happening. I had sore breasts and nipples and a hungry baby. At that stage my body was only producing colostrum – a nutrient-rich “pre-milk” or “practice milk.” My baby girl was not only hungry but irritated by the quantity or lack thereof colostrum. After everything I had been through to deliver the baby we didn’t want her to starve. We made the decision to feed her with formula, just to ensure she was full.
About four days after giving birth the milk really started free flowing much to my baby’s delight. I was relieved too as this was a rather stressful period for everyone – mum, dad and even the grandparents. Tell you what though, I learnt quickly that I needed to apply paw paw ointment on my nipples after each feed to reduce the pain and likelihood of them resembling a cheap vintage leather bag.
So what am I saying?
…Did I need to go to breastfeeding class? Probably not. With the baby in my arms it was instinctive, we both new what we had to do.
As I read through this post myself and see the written words it seems more real. Its true, I am really a mother. Lately, I question if things have happened or if it was a figment of my imagination. No I am not insane. Its an incredible feeling, holding her in my arms. I am getting hardly any sleep and even though I have post graduate qualifications and extensive work experience my new job description is to be a 24 hour personal assistant to a relentless boss who doesn’t pay well – my baby girl. You have to laugh because even with all that it’s only now that it’s sinking in – I repeat, I am someones mother.
Like any new mother with a new born its true – I could probably do with more sleep. The Louis Vuitton bags under my eyes can tell you that. Its almost like I am just going through the motions – survival mode.
One unexpected bonus has been the increased breast size. Lets just say, there has been many a selfie lingerie shoots for future reference.
A lot of my friends also had babies in 2015 and speaking to them has made me realise how lucky I am. Right now bub and I have a pretty good routine, we wake up twice through out the night for a breast feed and a nappy change. When I get out of bed to breastfeed, even if its an ungodly hour of 2am or something like – I cherish the moment, as this is our time to bond. Sounds cliche, but it truly is mother and daughter time.
I have been blessed to have an angel in my care who looks to be to guide them through life as their mother.
My name is Tinashe and I produce milk to feed my off spring. Whats your super power?