I am almost due with my second child (2 more weeks! Yay!) and I am still currently breastfeeding my son who will turn 3 in June. I don’t plan on weaning him anytime soon, but rather I’m letting him wean himself. I’m not sure how many other mothers of biracial children, if any that I’ve witnessed myself, have decided to breastfeed this long. I just wanted to be an encouraging voice that breastfeeding past the first year can be done and is such an incredible bonding experience with your already amazing biracial child. I feel that in a world that is so full of judgement, our children in particular are susceptible to possibly more judgements than some, I want to give my son the confidence to be able to face that world.
Considering that in 2012, only 10% of children in the United States were still breastfed at 18 months old (Centers for Disease Control) we are going against the norm, however, as parents of biracial children we’re already going against the norm. Every parent wants to do what is best for their child and I know now that extended breastfeeding and tandem breastfeeding are two options that will help me in particular reach that goal. I can only hope to encourage others who have felt shame at any time for extended breastfeeding that they are doing the right thing for themselves and their child.
I think about how often I receive disapproving looks for being a white woman with a black man, especially since our move to Texas, I am so grateful that during my breastfeeding experience I have not received any comments about how I choose to nourish my son. However, I’m sure that with another coming once I am breastfeeding both of them in a public place the looks and comments will probably ensue and all I can do is offer those individuals a confident smile and inform them about how wrong their behavior is. I know that I would never allow someone to make my son feel that he is less because he has parents of two different races and I will never let him feel inferior because he takes comfort in the nourishment of my milk supply. Neither should you.
We have so many worries as parents, even more once you are the parent of a child who isn’t like other children, whether it be their race, mental, or physical capabilities and we should be encouraging of one another to just provide these children with the best life possible. Breastfeeding is the answer for my family. We have cured so many issues with my breastmilk or my “moo moos” as my son likes to call my breasts. Breastmilk has a natural source of antibodies and because of this is a wonderful way to heal many skin issues. For instance, my son’s first and only severe diaper rash occurred after he had a case of diarrhea. Diaper creams weren’t working and neither was coconut oil as so many people had informed me to do. Instead I hand expressed my milk to the raw area and within hours there was a significant difference. This is only way that breastfeeding has helped my life and my family’s in a positive way.
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I have been noticing that when I nurse in public other moms will often ask me questions a plethora of curious questions. These range from, Is your child a genius now? To How have you been able to keep your supply up? I always answer honestly, but understand that some will only take my words with a grain of salt. No, my son is not an Einstein, however, is very smart for his age and has been sick far less from his fellow toddlers. I’ve been able to keep up my supply by drinking LOTS of water and eating the right foods. Just like so many individuals are curious about biracial children and their parents the same can be said of those who haven’t been exposed to breastfeeding.
I will be attempting to become a lactation consultant once my children are a little more independent and I have time set aside to fulfill the requirement to receive my license. I felt that this blog should be a platform to encourage mothers that by breastfeeding for a one week or 3 years they are providing their child with a wonderful, natural thing. I understand completely that it isn’t for some women out there and those women are totally entitled to that choice. However, I have witnessed the confidence that my son has gained from doing something so natural and I plan to do the same for my daughter. Not only is our bond stronger, which let’s face it, in a world of ever growing technology it can be easy for children to distance themselves from your company, this is a definite plus. My son is also going to have an excellent bond with his sister. He asks me all the time which “moo moo” is his and which is his sisters. I inform him that he will have to share and she will always get to drink first and then it will be his turn.
I understand that tandem nursing seems intimidating and daunting for some, trust me, I’m a little scared for the first week home with my newborn and toddler! Thankfully, I know that the benefits will outweigh any fears or reservations I may have. I hope that any mothers out there who feel judgements from being the parent of a biracial child don’t feel any added pressure not to breastfeed because it might be too outside what is “normal”. Biracial breastfeeding can be key in forming an initial connection with your child and this can encourage your child to turn to you when they have questions about why they are different, why you are different from them, or when they just plain feel alone when they are surrounded by so many other individuals who are alike.
I would love to offer any answers to those who have questions about breastfeeding. While I’m not certified I will answer to the best of my ability, based on personal experience. I would also love to hear about your own experiences with breastfeeding, whether it be extended or tandem.
~ Brittany Smith, guest blogger
Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support is appreciated. ~Regina Wellman
“National Immunization Survey (NIS).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 July 2015. Web. 12 May 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/nis_data/index.htm
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