In honor of Black Breastfeeding Week, we’re interviewing a few moms to gain a better understanding of their experiences with breastfeeding and motherhood as Black women. 

Influencer JaLisa Vaughn is a self-described “super planner.” 

“I didn’t know a lot when I got pregnant, so it was Researchville for me. I wanted to learn everything,” she remembers. 

Her preparations were so thorough, in fact, that she even had a plan for if things didn’t go according to plan.  

“I tried my hardest with my birth plan, but even with things not going my way, my goal was staying calm, cool, collected, and letting things happen as they may,” she says. “I didn’t want to bring my daughter into the world frantically. I wanted to let her know she was safe as she entered the world Earthside. If I had not prepared my mind and mentality I would have been frantic.”

JaLisa Vaughn and infant daughter

Once her daughter, Harper, arrived safe and sound, JaLisa got a chance to practice something else she’d long prepared for: breastfeeding. 

“I knew for sure wanted to breastfeed. My midwife had taken me through educational courses, and my doula as well, so I was really prepared,” she says.  “But I was also open to whatever happened. I knew I could see a specialist to help with breastfeeding.”  

After giving birth, JaLisa was able to lean on her support team—her midwife, doula, and a lactation consultant—to help her latch. But even though little Harper latched right away, like birth, breastfeeding wasn’t total smooth sailing. 

“Day two of being Earthside, we realized she had tongue tie,” JaLisa explains.  

Fortunately, they were able to quickly resolve the issue while they were still in the hospital—which meant a world of relief for JaLisa.  

“Being a first-time mom I thought that was just how breastfeeding was supposed to feel, but after we fixed the tongue-tie, she latched even better, and it was like, oh wow! It wasn’t painful.” 

Seven months later, JaLisa and Harper are still on their breastfeeding journey—which has been a positive one.

“I didn’t expect to be this fulfilled. I underestimated how much work it took but also how rewarding it would feel,” JaLisa says. “I feel like superwoman. I felt that during pregnancy and labor, and now I’ve never felt so powerful that I can keep this tiny person alive.”

JaLisa Vaughn and daughter Harper

She credits a lot of her experience to preparing in advance and having a strong support system—including a midwife well-versed in Black maternal healthcare who would urge her to use her entire hour-long visits to ask questions.

“Anytime my intuition felt anything, there was no stupid question. Nothing was too small or insignificant to ask about. I knew it could change the whole trajectory of my pregnancy and delivery,” she says.

She urges fellow Black moms to surround themselves with a good care team as well. But her biggest advice? Trust yourself. 

“I didn’t know how smart my body was when it came to breastfeeding. My body and Harper have a connection. It taught me how to trust my body a lot more, seeing how I can give her exactly what she needs exactly when she needs it,” JaLisa says.

“You are the most amazing, powerful being. Women are superheroes,” she says. “I think showing up for your little one and attempting to gain any form of education to learn how to be there more for our children is great.”

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