When I was pregnant, experienced moms shared information with me about how painful labor is and the sleepless nights that were to come. In addition to that, I was told that breastfeeding was good for kids and assumed it would be easy. I quickly realized that was a myth when my son was born and I attempted to breastfeed him. Not only was he struggling to properly latch, but breastfeeding was also so excruciatingly painful that I would have his father dig his nails into my shoulders to distract me. I heard very little beforehand about the potential challenges of breastfeeding and what to do when things don’t go as planned.
Breastfeeding is, indeed, a rich form of nutrition for babies, which is why it’s encouraged for new moms. However, Black moms disproportionately experience barriers to breastfeeding for reasons like a lack of education in healthcare settings and peer support. Because there are racial disparities in breastfeeding, it’s important for Black women to discuss breastfeeding and debunk myths that could pose as barriers. ESSENCE spoke to a few lactation specialists to do just that.