Mamava Mama: Carlisa Thomas
Ten years ago Carlisa Thomas was a new mom who didn't know anything about breastfeeding. Today, after five kids and one powerful mama group, Carlisa is a confident breastfeeding mama who wants to help other moms.
Educate yourself about breastfeeding.
Looking back, Carlisa wishes she could have breastfed all of her children, but as a first-time mom, she didn't understand the health benefits. "I was 16 when I had my first child and I didn't know anything," she says. The hospital where she gave birth didn't prove a lactation consultant: "It was very pro-formula. I was there for three days and no one said anything to me about breastfeeding." Carlisa is not alone in her experience. In fact, according to research, black women are 9 times more likely to be offered formula in the hospital than white women. After learning about the health benefits of breastfeeding from her best friend, Carlisa decided to breastfeed her next child.
Be proud of yourself.
For years, Carlisa felt shy and uncertain about breastfeeding in public, even when she used a breastfeeding cover. A few times she even received derogatory comments when she'd forgotten her cover. But then Carlisa joined other breastfeeding moms to participate in a group photo session. There she met other mamas who supported her and encouraged her to feel proud and confident of her choice. Now, Carlisa says, "I nurse uncovered and unbothered because I’m doing what’s best for my baby."
Follow your baby's lead.
From poor latch to low milk supply, Carlisa's had her share of challenges on her breastfeeding journey. But her youngest son has been nursing for almost two years now. "We have an incredible bond and I'm so amazed that my body could provide for him," she says. "I plan to continue breastfeeding him until he decides to stop. I wouldn’t have it any other way."