My NICU Breastfeeding Journey and What Black Women Should Know About Donor Breastmilk

I didn’t grow up in a family of breastfeeding women.  Formula was all I knew, but my professional work in maternal child health influenced my decision to breastfeed with my first child. 

When my son arrived, we were prepared in every way. Everything leading up to and during the delivery went as planned. I anxiously took him to breast, and I was devastated when he couldn’t latch to my flat nipples, which were a result of a breast reduction I’d undergone 12 years prior. 

Hours later, I gave him formula as I tried to work past our issues and determine if the problem was my post-surgery breasts or his latch.  Lactation specialists tried to help, but after many attempts, and what I now know in hindsight to be not trying enough, my breastfeeding journey came to an end shortly after I made it home where there was no peer-to-peer support.