Since giving birth to her twin girls, Cierra Robison has endured her fair share of "opinions" regarding her decision to breastfeed. Although most of the negativity has come from her own family, this new mom recently received a "surprised" reaction from a medical professional — simply because of her race.
According to Cierra, after her twins were born prematurely at 34 weeks, they were sent to the neonatal intensive care unit for monitoring. This mom from Texas went down to visit her newborns as soon as she was allowed, and most of the nurses were supportive when they learned that she was breastfeeding. However, Cierra shared that the head NICU nurse, who was working on her doctorate, had a shocking reaction.
"Once she found out I was going to be breastfeeding she asked, 'Now let me ask you a question . . . why do you want to breastfeed?' I was completely dumbfounded," Cierra told POPSUGAR. "I asked her, 'Why WOULDN'T I breastfeed?' She then proceeded to tell me how only eight percent of African American women breastfeed and how there's a negative stigma due to wet nursing during slavery."
Cierra asked the nurse how confident she was that the eight percent statistic was correct. Despite her being "pretty positive," the Centers for Disease Control actually reports that 58.9 percent of black moms initiated breastfeeding in 2008, and an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that 28 percent of these women were still nursing six months later.
The nurse then asked if Cierra wanted to supplement with formula anyways because she doubted that her girls would be able to properly latch. "Also false, they both latched perfectly fine at 1 day old," Cierra said. "I just smiled and told her no, but honestly I was hurt and began doubting myself."
When Cierra went back to her hospital room, she found the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page and eventually shared her story. "[I] was in awe at all the other black women proudly nursing their babies," she said. "I decided to share my story because there's no telling how many women get talked out of breastfeeding be it because they're young, old, have small boobs, are single mothers, or for any other reasons. I don't feel it is right! Unless there is a medical reason not to nurse and ANY woman wants to, she should."
Her girls came home at 6 days old, and now at 11 weeks, Destiny is 9 pounds and Delaney weighs 9 pounds 6 ounces. "I want people to know that it is OK to breastfeed. It's OK to follow your instincts," she said. "Find a support group and do what you have to do to feed your little ones!"