Dear Diary,

Breastfeeding really grossed me out. I couldn’t watch it, be around it or even get my mind around the concept. I mean why do that when there are perfectly good formulas at the grocery store. My mother fed my brothers and I formula—Similac to be exact. That was the route I was headed when I was pregnant. No need to register for a breast pump, because I didn’t need it.

On May 30, 2006, I birthed my first son via an emergency C-section. Hours after he was born, the lactation Nazi bum-rushed me in my room and tried to force me to breastfeed. I was barely able to sit up due to my incision, and if I made it to the bathroom without peeing on the floor, it would have been a miracle. My hours-old child placed his small mouth to me and, with the suction of a Dyson, and caused me to howl in pain. There was no way that this was going to work! Instantly I was convinced that centuries of women before me must have had nipples made of steel. Mine definitely weren’t. My husband pleaded with me to try again. He begged in fact, saying that it was the only way for our child to have the best nutrients in this world. I suggested we try the world’s second best nutrients, because my nutrient conduits were not feeling it. So we tried formula.

Family of Four

My son didn’t care for it. I didn’t know what to do. I was starting to get to that point past exhaustion, where you are so tired that your face hurts. Between the sleepless nights and the overall frustration of not knowing what to do, eventually my instincts kicked in, and I forced myself to withstand the pain. And in less than two weeks, it got better. The pain completely went away and I wound up nursing my son for 14 months, then his baby brother for 17 months.

What sold me on nursing? To tell the truth—delirium. I was forced to breastfeed. I was desperate to find a solution to calm my hungry baby. But I quickly found that it was a lot easier to deal with in the late night hours. I could doze off to sleep because the baby was actually quiet. I sincerely started to enjoy it. What used to gross me out beyond belief morphed into a special moment that I shared with my baby. Believe it or not, I became one of those women who would tent up and feed my sons any and everywhere. When my boys got to an age where they were darn near pulling my shirt off to nurse, I sadly cut them off from their supply.

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Were you forced to breastfeed? I was! And I later liked it much to my surprise. I did certain things to make my experience more comfortable. Here’s what you can do to embrace nursing and perhaps even enjoy it.

  • Know that it is going to hurt like a beast.
  • If you are going to decide to do it, stick through and work through the pain.
  • Have a plan for pumping at work. I was lucky. My employer had a lactation room.
  • A Boppy is not just for propping up the baby. It works really well for nursing, especially if you have had a C-section.
  • Find a nipple cream, fall in love, and then marry it.
  • Nursing shawls are the truth! Here is what I used.
  • Nursing pads will save your bras.
  • Traditional Medicinal herbs and Earth Mama Angel Baby make a great lactation tea. It’s a homeopathic way to pump up your milk production. Pun intended.

That stuff that first comes out of your breast is called colostrum. And yes, it looks like vanilla pudding!

Since insurance now covers breast pumps, really do your homework and find one that you like. There are hospital grade pumps that you can rent that have more suction than a store bought pump, and pump super fast if you are having problems with your personal pump.

Feel free to toss out the hospital’s lactation consultant if she stresses you out. She works for you, not the other way around.

Hey DFTM Fam—Did you have second thoughts about breastfeeding like me?

Karla Trotman is the Marketing and Special Projects Manager at Electro Soft, Incorporated, an electronics contract manufacturing and engineering firm her father started 28 years ago. She also is the owner of Belly Button Boutique, an online boutique that specializes in products of comfort and support for pre- and postnatal women.

A Startup Nation Leading Moms in Business winner, Karla consults small businesses on successful implementation of social media into their current marketing strategy.  As an expert in pre- and postnatal comfort, Karla has been featured on NBC 10! Show, NBC 10 News, People Magazine’s Celebrity Baby Blog,, Huffington Post Live, books, radios shows and countless blogs.

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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