Black Breastfeeding Week: How Breastfeeding Affects Your Sexuality, Heals Chaffing Nipples & Nourishes Your Baby

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Imani L. Whyte-Anigboro

Source: Imani L. Whyte-Anigboro / Imani L. Whyte-Anigboro

You shared a video of a woman saying they don’t want to be touched because they feel like their body is being used by everyone. And they want time where no one is touching them.

Yeah. You just feel over-touched. I feel that all the time. That’s me and my husband’s biggest thing. First of all, his love language is touch and affection. That’s not my love language and it never really has been. I’m constantly having my daughter claw at me because she wants to sit on mommy or she wants to hug mommy or she’s pulling my shirt down to nurse. There’s somebody constantly on me. Then my husband comes on me and he wants to kiss on me and rub on my neck. And I’m like, ‘Yo, can everybody give me 50 feet.’ I’ll tell him sometimes and he has toned down but you pray for a man to love you and God be like, ‘Here.’

Feeling over-touched is a real thing and it’s a daily struggle for me because I don’t have time alone ever…or very rarely. Because I’m her primary childcare provider. My husband works all day, then at night we co-sleep. And with breastfeeding, it’s dumb easy. I don’t have to get up. She still night nurses. She’s eating when she breastfeeds but she doesn’t take a pacifier like some babies do. So she nurses for comfort. I’m her literal pacifier.

Can you speak about the nutrients a child gets from breastmilk? And how long do babies need the nutrients breastmilk provides?

I am not a certified lactation anybody but the research I’ve done, the recommendation is three years. It used to be two but now it’s three. And that’s with the baby eating solid foods. So they’ll only be drinking breast milk in a cup or a bottle, at night or in the morning. So when people say they’re breastfeeding until 3 or 4, 9 times out of 10, they’re not pulling out their tit. It’s usually in the morning, at night, as a snack, in a cup, with a meal.

The nutrients. They receive everything. Everything you’re supposed to receive as an adult, they receive that and then some. Every single vitamin you take in, they get. The good, the bad, the ugly. Not only do they receive nutrients, they receive exposure to flavors. So they tell you don’t limit your palate because a breastfed baby is tasting what you taste. One day I ate a bunch of Oreos and I tasted my breastmilk and it tasted sweet. There was a time when I was eating regular food and it didn’t taste as sweet as it did with the Oreos. Those flavors are coming through in my milk, whereas a formula-fed baby doesn’t get that until you introduce solid foods into their diet.

My pediatrician told me that the only vitamin that doesn’t come through as much in breastmilk is vitamin D. So sometimes pediatricians will prescribe vitamin D drops for breastfed babies because they might end up with a deficiency. There are people in the breastfeeding community who feel like this isn’t true. To be completely honest, I didn’t give Brume the drops because the one they prescribed had a lot of sugar in it. She’s had her blood tested and she has no vitamin D. deficiency so she’s fine.

You said something about having knots in your breast. What is that about?

Engorgement. In the first 6-8 weeks, your body is just producing milk. It takes that long for your milk to regulate, meaning your body knows how much milk your baby needs, how much milk your baby is taking in. But before that your body is just making, making, making. And it can make a lot. And if you don’t get it out, it gets stuck. Your milk ducts get clogged because they’re so full. And literally your breasts feel hard. If the milk is really backed up, you can feel the knots in your breast and if you don’t get it out, it can cause mastitis and that is when you have an infection and you have to get a prescription. That’s another reason they tell you not to pump before six-eight weeks because your body hasn’t regulated.

And your body learns everyday. If your baby is going through a growth spurt and nursing a lot and you feel like there can’t possibly be any more milk, your body will make more to accommodate the baby feeding more.

What do you do to prevent chaffing and all that type of stuff?

For me, creams didn’t work. You kind of have to air it out, let the breasts hang free. Pressing a bra over brokem skin and bruised breasts wasn’t helpful for me. And after baby stops nursing, hand express it and rub the milk itself on the breasts and it will heal itself. And just let it air dry. It will heal itself. The milk will heal yourself.

That’s fascinating.

Breast milk is like what Windex was to the grandfather in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You can use breast milk for pink eye. Your baby got eczema, put it in their bath water, it’ll help their skin. If they have congestion, squirt the breastmilk up their nose. It helps them to not have diarrhea, to not be constipated. You name it, breastmilk will fix it.

When you are sick, you should breastfeed your child, barring you’re on some medication that will harm your baby. As soon as you get sick, your body is actively building antibodies. And with breastfeeding, those antibodies go straight to your child. So your child won’t get sick and will be able to fight sicknesses that will come to them in the future. But people don’t know these things.

Any doctor or lactation consult and doctor will tell you that the colostrum the comes out when you first give birth is very important. It’s very thick and that’s why it hurts so much at first. But it’s all vitamins. It’s just literally a smoothie of vitamins coming out of your breasts. So even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, I would strongly suggest that you at least those first 3-4 days to let your baby get that colostrum, whether you decide to pump it out or let your baby nurse. Because those vitamins are vital and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

What are the other benefits, the things you feel fortunate enough to have experienced because you’re breastfeeding?

The benefit is the bond. There’s a bond that is unmatched because I’m breastfeeding. There are times when I’m breastfeeding and we just stare at each other. She’s pulling at my face and loving on me and I’m loving on her and I feel blessed not only to be your mom but to be your mom in this way. And that makes me thankful and happy. As tired as I feel, I just feel so happy. Also, I don’t have to pack bottles. The bond, the convenience and she’s healthy. She’s healthy and happy. Not to say that other babies aren’t healthy and happy but mine is. And she just so happens to be breastfed. Also a huge benefit is that they still cannot duplicate it. They can’t duplicate something that changes from hour to hour. And again I can’t stress enough how much money I’m saving.

I didn’t know that I would like breastfeeding as much as I did. I knew it was something I wanted to do for my child but I didn’t know I would fall in love with it the way I did. I don’t mean how people say, ‘I just want to breastfeed my child all the time because I’m in love with her.’ No. I mean like I’m amazed by what my body has allowed me to do. And I want other women to know what I know and feel this feeling. And to have these options for their baby. I want moms to know as much as they can know. I feel like I have a future in lactation consulting. I feel like it’s in my path to do this for women. Like on some Erykah Badu sh*t. She’s still a singer but she’s also delivering babies. I’m going to be a fashion designer extraordinaire but I’m also going to be giving mothers knowledge and helping them in their breastfeeding journey to the best of my ability.

Yes, breastmilk is best milk but I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. But I want them to know. If you know everything I’m telling you and you still decide nah, cool. It’s your baby, it’s your body. But you just need to know.

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