In the interview below, Erica shares her experiences with us. She is such a bold and confident momma! The photo of her sons together just melts my heart. Enjoy!
What has your breastfeeding journey been like?
I have two children (an eleven year old and a ten week old), and my journey was different with them both. With my older son, it was more of a struggle. I ended up supplementing with formula, and it always made me feel badly and as if I somehow did something wrong. With my second son it has been completely different. I was scared because of my earlier experience, but I felt committed and strong about making it work. I did my homework and my research and I felt so much more ready to advocate for myself and for my baby. It has been so smooth and wonderful this time around! It has felt so healing for me.
Did the women in your family breastfeed?
Nope, they didn’t at all.
What made you want to breastfeed?
Knowing about all the health benefits was a huge thing for me; I want to give my children the best leg up that I possibly can and it felt like a really good way to do that. Plus there is something incredibly empowering about knowing that my body is still sustaining my baby even after they are outside of the womb. The bonding that you share is unmatched.
What is the biggest bf challenge you’ve overcome?
I have had to go back to work full time once my younger son was ten weeks old, and I was really worried about how that would affect our relationship with nursing. Thankfully with the support of my family and my team at my job I have been able to pump (my job has been kind enough to give me a wellness area where I can pump in comfort and privacy), and my son is able to still get the benefits from breast milk. I, of course, miss being home all the time and being able to feed him directly from my breast, but I am so grateful that he is able to go seamlessly from a bottle of pumped milk to my breast. It makes the time we are together even sweeter.
Who are your biggest supporters?
My husband is my biggest supporter for sure. He has been so wonderful in helping foster the breastfeeding relationship myself and my younger son have. I also have wonderful friends who are always ready with advice or an encouraging word if I need it.
Tell us your favorite story about an experience with breastfeeding.
I think it would have to be when my younger son was first born. In less than five minutes after birth he was already latching in like a champ! It was such a beautiful moment because I had worried about it so much before he was born. Also, getting used to nursing in public. I have now nursed everywhere from Chipotle to a brewery, and I love having even a little part in normalizing that, most especially for Black folks. One of the things that was always hard for me is that I didn’t see people who looked like me breastfeeding and I really longed for that. I am happy for any experience I can to show others that we are out here. Representation matters.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or encourage other moms?
I feel as though my story is a testament that even if you didn’t have the best experience with breastfeeding before, if you have the opportunity to try again that you CAN succeed and do well. Don’t give up, even in those moments when it is tough. Find a support system that will help you and love you through everything; it makes such a difference.
Representation MATTERS! I love that Erica isn’t afraid to be a strong voice for Black mommas breastfeeding. Amazing ❤ Did Erica’s story resound with you? Leave us a comment below, and check back soon for more stories!