Deciding to breastfeed was never a question for Diamond Massey, mother of two and licensed cosmetologist from Detroit, Michigan. She always knew she wanted to breastfeed her children and she was determined to do so. Massey’s breastfeeding journey began when she was pregnant with her daughter. Expressing she wanted to breastfeed, a counselor at Women, Infants, and Children referred her to Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) where she could attend breastfeeding classes and meet with like-minded mothers. BMBFA is a nonprofit in Detroit, Michigan, that supports Black families by reducing racial disparities in breastfeeding.
But determination doesn’t always mean calm waters. Both of her children were born premature with birth weights of just 5.1 pounds. As a result, both her daughter and son had problems latching.
“My first—my daughter—she was so small and so little, she never latched on. I had to pump around the clock for four months straight because I wanted her to have nothing but breastmilk,” Massey recalls from her first breastfeeding experience.
When Massey became pregnant with her son years later, she knew she had to seek out help right away for her breastfeeding journey to be more successful. Massey started attending breastfeeding and lactation classes through her local hospital and returned to BMBFA to get the information and support she needed early in her pregnancy.
Massey’s advice to moms breastfeeding for the first time? “Make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you are not taking care of yourself, if you are not eating properly or not drinking enough fluids, it is going to cause your flow to slow down. As moms, we forget to take care of ourselves a lot and it is easy to forget about yourself when you have a newborn child. All of that weighs on your physical and mental when you are trying to breastfeed.”