Before I got pregnant, I knew I would breastfeed my baby. I didn’t put much thought into the decision really. I wasn’t shy—I showered in front of strangers at the gym and skinny dipped on Miami Beach one drunk and crazy night. So, whipping out my breast in public to feed my child wouldn’t be an issue. And once I heard the saying, Breast is Best, I made up my mind. I later researched the long list of breastfeeding benefits and knew breast milk would be on the menu.

I assumed I would be like the land of Milk and Honey I read about in the Bible. While pregnant, I went up several bra cup sizes. I mean, my sister’s boobs filled up like water balloons, and she stocked a freezer with bags of breast milk. My nephew guzzled down bottles months after she returned to work. But when I delivered my daughter and held her up to my chest, I barely produced a snack let alone a meal. I wanted to cry.

The pediatrician who checked over my daughter told me that nursing’s not for everyone, and that I should feed my daughter formula. I ignored her advice (and later found a new doctor!)  I was determined to at least try. The hospital sent a lactation consultant to my room to help. She eased my anxieties and assured me that I don’t need to pump out a gallon of breast milk to be a breast feeder. It was a supply and demand kind of deal. So I sat up and pumped out a few drops of colostrum. I later nursed my little girl for 10 months. I wanted to finish the year, but I underwent a surgery and took antibiotics. My daughter made a smooth transition to formula. (While nursing, I saved the formula coupons and sample I received in the mail!) I lost 50 pounds and treated my daughter’s infant acid reflux—breast milk is much gentler than formula for tiny tummies. Although I wasn’t uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, I covered up with a Hooter Hider. I didn’t feed my daughter in a bathroom stall, but I also didn’t stand on a soapbox flashing folks.

I never filled up lots of bottles, but I filled my baby’s belly with lots of nutrients. I think nursing is the reason why my toddler today eats everything from sushi to guacamole.

I get why people can’t breastfeed due to health issues. But I don’t understand why more women won’t try it out. One of my cousin’s told me she didn’t want to stop smoking marijuana. Another said if she knew the weight loss benefit—I told her breast milk was my Slim Fast, she would have tried it. Some moms don’t nurse due to a lack of education. Others opt for formula, because their partners won’t support their breastfeeding decision. And many quit early on when relatives tell them they aren’t feeding their babies enough milk.

According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding rates improved nationwide in 2000-2008, and some of the largest gains were among African-American mothers. However, only about 59 percent of black moms breastfed in 2008, compared to 80 percent of Hispanics and 75 percent of whites.

That’s why Diary of a First Time Mom is launching a #ChocolateMilk campaign. We’re aiming to increasing our numbers!


So throughout August, in celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I will publish a new nursing story each day, written by 31 black mom bloggers.  I asked each blogger to submit a personal breastfeeding story, and they immediately emailed their experiences—both good and bad. They wrote about everything from allergies and ignorance to pumping and working. I wanted to curate this collection to educate other African-American women about breastfeeding. That way, they will be armed with information to make a decision.

I hope you will join our movement on Twitter. Be sure to follow @dearmomdiary and the particpants. Check out my list of black mom bloggers!  Be sure to tweet using #ChocolateMilk. And don’t forget to share your story by filling out this form.

Meanwhile, let us know in the comment box below why you nursed—or didn’t.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

3 Responses

  1. Courtney Akinosho

    Hi Heather! I’ll definitely be following along with the #ChocolateMilk hashtag during the month of August. I may even share my own story at my blog. Thanks so much for pushing the initiative for black moms to nurse!

  2. karimah

    so excited about #ChocolateMilk!! nursing has been a journey for us, just like anything, but i am so grateful to have the support of my hubby, family, and close friends. it has really made all the difference on those tired nights when i want(ed) to throw in the towel.


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