Dear Diary,

Before I became a mom almost seven years ago, I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my children. For me, it was a no brainer. I was going to nurse them for at least twelve months each. I read all I could about breastfeeding and lactation consultants. I read about how to store breast milk, how long one should breastfeed, which breast pump would be best, and so on and so forth. I researched the best bottles and storage bags to use after pumping.

But all of the research, books, blogs and Google searches never fully prepared me for breastfeeding. While I breastfed all three of my children, each of them came with their own unique manual.

I was never that mom who had a surplus of breast milk ready and waiting. No, I was the mom who struggled to produce what I felt was a sufficient amount of milk. In fact, I felt devastated and defeated, because I had to supplement early on with formula.

All three of my children ended up having jaundice as newborns. With the first two, we had to leave them in the hospital and couldn’t take them home with us because they had to be under the phototherapy lights for several days. The last one we got to take home with us, but she had the worst of the medical problems that are too extensive to write out in this post, but I do talk about it in my new book, and ended up back in the hospital for almost a week.

It was hard, because I wanted to nurse them but they weren’t getting enough nutrients in their system as quickly as they needed to in order to combat the jaundice, so we had to give them formula. And looking back, I don’t have any regrets, but at the time, it was pretty frustrating.

My son, who is now six, had really bad acid reflux. He threw up after every single feeding, to the point it seemed as if he wasn’t keeping anything down. We had to keep bibs, burp cloths and receiving blankets around him at all times. I had several nieces and nephews and never had I seen any baby spit up as much as our son did. It was to the point where we kept taking him to the doctor, because there was no way this was normal. But as it turned out, he was fine and still getting enough nutrition to continue growing. That lasted for the first nearly nine months of his life. Then he decided he was done with nursing.

One day, we were having our breastfeeding bonding time together, and the next, he wanted nothing to do with me. Literally. He looked at me like I was crazy, smacked my breast out of his face and shook his head no.

It actually hurt my feelings, because I didn’t get to wean him off like I had practiced so many times in my head from all that research I had done earlier. I mean, who did he think he was to just ditch me like that?

My first daughter was similar in that I was still working full-time. I took fenugreek supplements daily and ate oatmeal for breakfast to help increase my milk production. It helped a little but was still challenging at times. Once again, at ten months old, she decided she was done with nursing.

Oh, but my youngest finally allowed me to put my weaning skills to the test. She nursed almost exclusively, once we got past her health scares in the first two months, for fourteen months, and boy did I have a challenge with weaning. None of the research I did early on truly prepared me. Thank God for rice milk, because that’s the only reason why she transitioned.

While I was fortunate to have been able to experience nursing with my three babies, I know many women who are not able to or have challenges for one reason or another. All I can say is: have patience and remember that all breastfeeding was not created equal.

Christine K. St.Vil is the Founder and CEO of Moms ‘N Charge™. She is a contributor to Black & Married with Kids and Happy Wives Club. Currently, she is touring the country to promote her new book entitled Whose Shoes Are You Wearing. Stay connected to Christine on Facebook and Twitter



About The Author

#Chocolate Milk

Throughout August, in celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Diary of a First Time Mom will publish a new nursing story each day, written by 31+ black mom bloggers. DFTM Creator Heather Hopson 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. Heather curated this collection to educate other African-American women about breastfeeding. That way, they will be armed with information to make a decision. Heather hopes you will join the movement on Twitter. Follow @dearmomdiary and the participants. You can check the #ChocolateMilk blogger ambassador list! Be sure to tweet using #ChocolateMilk. And don’t forget to share your story by clicking on Breastfeeding→ Lactation Nation on the menu bar above. Meanwhile, let us know in the comment box below why you nursed—or didn’t.

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