After a ‘Rocky’ First Breastfeeding Journey, Natasha Greene Learned That Support Is Key
Images via @asiliglam
Natasha Greene has a full plate—literally and figuratively! On top of whipping up mouthwatering comfort food recipes on Asili Glam (@asiliglamcooks), she’s Mom to an adorable toddler, and currently has bun #2 in the oven! While Natasha clearly has a gift for feeding others (we dare you to scroll through her recipes without drooling a little), when it came to nursing her son Nate, her breastfeeding journey took some surprising turns. In honor of Black Breastfeeding Week, Natasha shares her story and what she learned along the way.
How would you describe your breastfeeding journey?
My breastfeeding journey with my son was a rocky one. I was super excited and up for the challenge in the beginning. But as we journeyed through and the early weeks passed, I just could not produce enough milk at the rate he needed. We had to supplement pretty quickly to ensure his needs were fully met. We still breastfed for as long as he was interested, but it was an unexpected journey to say the least.
What kind of support did you have on your breastfeeding journey?
During our hospital stay we had a lactation consultant visit us in our room once to give us a few pointers, but that was my only official communication with a specialist. My husband was my #1 supporter. He was with me for every feed, supporting me in every way that he could.
What kind of support or information do you wish you had on your breastfeeding journey?
I wish I had lined up direct support and follow ups in the early weeks to help me increase milk supply and sustain it. Instead of waiting six weeks to go to my OB, it would be great to have a weekly check-in with a specialist to help with the breastfeeding journey in the early days. Those first few weeks are so important to overall routine and supply. That’s when I would have wanted specialized help the most.
What surprised you about breastfeeding?
I was shocked how natural it was for my baby to find my breast and automatically latch without being taught. It truly is a natural and magical thing to experience.
What did you like best about breastfeeding?
I liked that I was bonding with my son and that I had everything he needed to be nourished in those early days. It was beautiful to watch him feed and be satisfied, knowing that I was always there to meet his needs.
What challenges did you face while breastfeeding? How did you overcome them?
I had many challenges during breastfeeding, one of which was having to wear a nipple shield to assist the baby with his latch. It was quite frustrating getting the hang of applying the nipple shield correctly in time for each feed. My husband was there with me and helped every step of the way. He helped me keep the shields clean and in proper rotation to ensure application was as easy as possible.
Getting on a proper pumping schedule was also overwhelming, and I felt like I didn’t have enough quality information on how to create the best schedule for myself. I Googled a ton and found a schedule that seemed to help me with increasing my supply for a little while.
Lastly, milk production was also a challenge for me. I tried increasing my water intake, having oatmeal, and taking lactation supplements, but nothing seemed to work. What helped me was realizing that a fed baby is best, and if we had to do combo feeding, that was going to be the best solution for us. In the end that helped me the most. It doesn’t have to be only one way when it comes to feeding your baby.
What’s your best piece of advice you have for Black parents-to-be hoping to breastfeed?
The best piece of advice I have for Black moms-to-be is to go for it! Arm yourself with as much postpartum support as possible and don’t hold yourself to “figuring it out on your own.” There are resources out there and help just a phone call away—from lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, night nurses, mother’s helpers etc. Call upon the help you need and set yourself up for success to get the results you want. I know I will with Baby Number 2!
More on Black Breastfeeding Week:
- Unpacking the Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding
- Where Black Parents Can Turn for Breastfeeding Help
- Backlash Didn't Discourage This Black Breastfeeding Mama!
- This Mom Never Intended to Breastfeed—Here's Why She Changed Her Mind
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