Breastfeeding Journey: Meka Harrell
We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding Week. A recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics which found that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys.
During this week, we will be sharing the feeding journeys of real parents in our community. Today, we bring you Meka’s story of overcoming latch issues to breastfeed her youngest child.
How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journey?
This has been such an amazing experience and also a roller coaster! With my previous 3 I never really “nursed” them bc they had problems latching on and I would just exclusively pump. I’m not sure why but I wasn’t as interested in nursing once they wouldn’t latch on, I figured the milk wasn’t coming out fast enough boy was I wrong! Now I am so in love with nursing Axel. It’s such an amazing bonding experience and it really touches me to have such a special bond with my baby. Also, it’s sooooo convenient!!! No dirty bottles, no worrying about pumping. Now that I’m back to work I have to worry about those minor issues.
What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter?
I thought that nursing would hurt so much and I just never felt comfortable to nurse in public as if I was doing something wrong.
Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey?
The only challenge I had this go round was latching because of an inverted nipple and Axel still isn’t a big fan of that side but he knows how to get the milk flowing once a he’s hungry.
What resources or support helped you on your journey?
I am sooooo thankful for the lactation nurses at the hospital! I probably would have given up again if it weren’t for them. They allowed me to come by the office as many times as I needed until we were able to get Axel to latch on good and get all this liquid gold! They are amazing women and I am forever thankful!
Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week?
I think it’s so important to have representation. I didn’t know a ton of black moms that nursed and I think the more we see the more comfortable we make other new moms. Especially when it comes to feeding in public! No one should feel ashamed to feed their baby. I will feed Axel anytime anyplace and with the summer heat I’m not thinking about a coverup.
Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse?
Don’t give up! The bond of nursing is so strong and it’s very emotional. Just to look down and see your child drinking your milk will really make you proud not only giving birth but continuing to grow life from your body. That’s just amazing to me. Also don’t feel bad if you have to stop, as long as you tried and please never compare your journey to any other moms!