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Black Celebrities Divided on Breastfeeding

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Kimberly Seals Allers: If there was ever a mommy cause in the black community that was in desperate need of a spokesperson, it is breastfeeding. Historically, breastfeeding rates among black women have been lower than any other ethnic group for over thirty years.

faith evans and deborah cox on breastfeeding

More celeb mommy voices sharing their thoughts on breastfeeding could help turn the tide -- or at least spark more conversation! As part of momlogic and's look into this phenomenon, we tracked down a few black celebrity moms and asked them to share their candid thoughts on breastfeeding.

Faith Evans, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter and mother of four, told us,
"I never breastfed. To be honest, it never really crossed my mind. It wasn't big in my family and it wasn't really encouraged or handed down as the thing to do."

On the other hand, Deborah Cox, platinum-selling recording artist and mother of three, including 3-month-old Kaila Michelle, feels differently. "I am a big believer in breastfeeding," she says. "I breastfed my oldest for nine months, my second for six months, and I plan to breastfeed my new baby girl for at least six months. At the end of the day, you have healthier kids. Plus, while I was breastfeeding, a lot of the baby weight just dropped off."

What are your thoughts? Share them in our momlogic community!

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gigohead  May 20, 2009, 10:17 AM

I think this isn’t just relegated to the black community, its also spilling over to the Hispanic community as well. I think it’s lack of education that’s causing this decline. One reason may be, Not enough training after delivery at inner city hospitals. Private hospitals offer “lactation specialists”. I have yet to see one come into my room after delivering my two children at a city hospital. I also believe WIC has made it too easy for women to get the milk fund and over look natural lactation.

I’m delighted that more faces are coming out and supporting breast feeding. The more awareness, the more acceptance.

jennifer May 20, 2009, 10:35 AM

I am pretty sure Halle Berry breastfed too! It is all about education and resources. A new mom often needs a lot of support in the first few weeks.
As you continue reporting on this issue, how about providing a list of resources/services for breastfeeding moms? There are many free services, websites, and groups that are available for new moms who are breastfeeding.

Ria May 20, 2009, 12:04 PM

I don’t think its true that there isn’t ecough education. I had my daughter when I was very young on Medicaid, and the lactation specialist spent a lot of time in my room. Nowadays WIC requires that you take weekly nutrition classes as well. So, that’s my experience. That being said, why try and force or guilt women of ANY ethinicity into breastfeeding? In the end, I wound up bottlefeeding after 3 months because of projectile vomiting, and the fact that I needed my boyfriend to take up some of the feeding responsibilities.

Christine May 20, 2009, 12:58 PM

Thank you, Kimberly. Breastfeeding can save lives. Your series of articles is the first I’ve seen like it. Black women need to be the MOM - no one can tell us what to do! Partners, mothers, mothers in law can discourage all they want, we know breast is best for our babies. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

shannon May 20, 2009, 1:10 PM

Thandie Newton breastfed each of her kids for a year, and Erykah Badu breastfeeds too (she mentioned once that she nursed her son for 2 years). Vanessa Williams breastfed her kids, one of them for 2 years (although she went on “The View” and mentioned that that was too long for her). Jada Pinkett Smith also nursed her kids, also for 2 years. So did Sherri Shepherd. Holly Robinson Peete nursed her twins.

lorina May 20, 2009, 3:51 PM

As a black education woman I would say the biggest “mommy cause” in the black community is teaching our young black girls NOT to get pregant before they have a chance to get an education. It saddens me to see so many young girls having babies with men (boys) who can not nor will not take responsibility for them. We (the older generation) need to teach our young girls to respect themselves, to strive for an education and to wait longer to become parents.

anony  May 21, 2009, 12:17 AM

Breast feeding is a personal choice and may not be the best option for every mom but I agree that there isn’t enough information/education out there about it. My mom breastfed all of her kids and while I knew this when I had my first baby the thought had never even crossed my mind until my mom asked me if I had considered it. I don’t recall any discussions about it in shcool… and it wasn’t a hot topic in 1991… so the thought truly never crossed my mind till my mom asked me about it… and then of course I did my own research . More education and discussion would be helpful in encouraging more women (of all races) to make more informed choices.

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