There are so many myths about breastfeeding, and Kimberly Seals Allers, Maternal Health Advocate & Journalist, has heard plenty of them. “There are some that are pretty out there,” she says. “I met this woman who had successfully breastfed for a while. I asked her about her journey and she was explaining to me that she didn’t have any issues, she just tried to make sure that she wasn’t in the heat for a long time so her milk wouldn’t curdle.”
Nope, breast milk won’t curdle when it’s still in the breasts. And exercising doesn’t lead to sour milk. Breasts don’t need to “fill up” before you feed your baby, and pregnancy actually changes breasts more than breastfeeding does. Those are just a few of the myths that Allers busts on the fourth episode of “Wine + Gyn.”
As the co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week, Allers is all about educating people about breastfeeding, especially women of color. “I’m a storyteller, and I felt the story that was being told about black breastfeeding in this country was negative and inaccurate, and we needed to help shift that narrative,” she says in the episode. “Over 40 years, the rates of breastfeeding in the black community have significantly lagged those of white women. I really thought that it would be great to have a special time of awareness building and really celebration. Even for me, I was really struggling with breastfeeding, and didn’t really have any friends who looked like me. Most of my friends who helped me were my white college girlfriends. It was really troublesome that I didn’t know more black women who had breastfed, even in my own family.”
According to the CDC, 66% of black women breastfeed, compared to 75% of white women. Allers is determined to change that. Breastfeeding has so many perks, including reducing everything from childhood obesity to type 2 diabetes to the risk of ear infections. And studies have shown that breastfed babies are more intelligent.
“And the bonding that happens, if I think about nursing my son, I can give myself goosebumps,” Allers says. “As a woman, the idea of feeding my baby from my body really speaks to me. When I was breastfeeding I felt like a superhero.”
Watch episode four to catch Allers address the challenges of breastfeeding, the scary truth about some formulas, and why breastfeeding is worth it.