African-American celebrity moms who breastfeed
Everyone needs a role model. It may help to know that there are other African-American moms who support breastfeeding too. Fortunately, a growing number of African-American celebrities are speaking publicly about their breastfeeding experiences. Some breastfeed proudly in public. Here is a list of celebrity moms of color who support breastfeeding.
As part of her Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity, former First Lady Michelle Obama said we need to support breastfeeding mothers. “Whether we do it in our workplaces or in our child care facilities, breastfeeding is one of the ways to reduce the level of obesity in a child,” Obama said. “The longer a mother can breastfeed, the better off a child will be on a whole range of health issues.”
Beyoncé caused a stir in 2012 when she breastfed then 7-week-old Blue Ivy at a downtown Manhattan restaurant where Beyoncé was dining with husband Jay-Z. After being chosen for People’s Most Beautiful Woman cover, the new mom said, “I lost most of my weight from breastfeeding and I encourage women to do it. It's just so good for the baby and good for yourself.”
Six weeks after giving birth to daughter Nahla in 2008, the Oscar-winning actress made her first public appearance at a charity golf tournament. After posing for photos, she announced she had to leave suddenly, saying, “My baby is calling for my breasts.”
After the birth of her second child in 2011, boxing champion Ali proved that strong women breastfeed. It’s hard to argue against a boxer, especially when she said, “It’s such a short period of time in a child’s life that you are going to be breastfeeding, so let mom do her thing.” She’s now the spokeswoman for Best for Babes and Healthy Child/Healthy World, which encourages moms to raise healthy babies.
The neo-soul singer supports natural childbirth and breastfeeding. The mother of three children has been a licensed doula since 2001 and is studying to be a certified midwife. She can even be seen nursing one of her kids in a music video.
The actress’s son Cree was born in June 2011 via an emergency C-section. Mowry breastfed her son and appreciated the bonding moments. “It is the one time we can connect and just spend some quiet time together,” she said. “I just fall more and more in love with him when I do so. Rubbing his hair and seeing him smile just melts my heart.”
In true Sister, Sister fashion, Tamera and her twin, Tia, have both taken on breastfeeding! Tamera breastfed her son, Aden. Though she knows breastfeeding can be a challenge, she loves nursing and calls it “a beautiful bonding experience.” She advises new moms to “relax, be patient, and enjoy the moment.”
The singer said taking a breastfeeding class helped dispel a lot of myths for her. “I think a lot of people think you’re just supposed to have this natural instinct that's supposed to happen out of thin air,” Keys said. “There’s a technique to learn and if you don’t know it, it’s not your fault. I was glad I [took a class] because I felt kind of prepared a little bit.”
Holly Robinson Peete
The veteran actress is outspoken on health issues, especially those that affect the African-American community. The mom of four admits to being “one of those annoying celebrities who talks about breastfeeding.” She credits breastfeeding for helping her lose her pregnancy weight, even with twins, and without going on any special diet. “There's a reason you’re hungry. It's because you’re feeding your kids,” Peete told Makeover Momma.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Today, Jada and Will Smith's son Jaden and daughter Willow are talented teenage performers. But when they were babies, Smith breastfed them on movie sets. When she was pregnant with Willow, she told Fit Pregnancy that she nursed Jaden for 18 months.“That baby never even saw a bottle. He went everywhere with me — premieres, award shows. I would just find a back room and hook him up,” Smith said.
From a secret wedding to a new baby, this actress is well known for keeping her personal life private. However, the Scandal star shared that she breastfed her daughter, Isabelle. As for life after baby, Kerry is continuing to take a proactive approach to her health.
Kelly says she first got that “I'm a mom” feeling while breastfeeding. The singer breastfed her son, Titan, for three months, and even shared a sweet breastfeeding moment on Instagram!
The award-winning singer isn’ shy about motherhood — her pregnancy with daughter Sy’rai was the focus of a reality show in 2002! Brandy breastfed for more than a year and is supportive of moms breastfeeding in public.
R&B singer Monica has two sons and a daughter, Laiyah, who was born in 2003. She is one proud mom who breastfed and finds it exciting to balance work and mommyhood. Monica says, “My children are my everything.”
Since choosing to breastfeed her twin sons, actress Zoe Saldana tweeted about the process, asking moms everywhere for advice.
This star actress, children’s book author, and breastfeeding momma has something to say when it comes to getting back into shape post-baby. After the birth of two boys, Xen and Zeke, Campbell said, “I just want to get back down to 130 pounds. Breastfeeding helps!” She explained that going back to work while breastfeeding was challenging, but she made sure to take the time to enjoy the milestones in her new sons’ lives.
Tonya Lewis Lee
A proud mother of two, this best-selling author and TV producer has made her mark in supporting black mothers. In 2011, she stood by former Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin during the release of The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding and she promotes projects like Black Breastfeeding 360°. In regards to breastfeeding, Lewis Lee said, “My husband and mother supported me.” She’s also the spokesperson for the Office on Minority Health’s Healthy Baby Begins with You campaign.
Lisa and her husband agreed that breastfeeding their children was important. The former WNBA all-star athlete and Olympic gold medalist calls breastfeeding amazing. She said, “My baby whines, and my breasts automatically fill up with milk. That is incredible!”
Like many new moms, singer and chef Kelis says she wasn’t sure how she would feel about breastfeeding. However, she “quickly realized its brilliance.”
After seeing negative reactions to breastfeeding photos, the actress and model posted two breastfeeding pictures of her own! She has used hashtags such as #breastisbest, #mamasunite, and #normalizenursing to show her support for breastfeeding.
This Grammy-nominated singer and mother of three knows all about juggling work and family life. She recalls breastfeeding during intermissions while playing a lead role on Broadway! Though she faced challenges while finding the perfect balance, Deborah is “a big believer in breastfeeding.”
Sojourner Marable Grimmett
This well-known mommy blogger, global advocate, and mother of two boys fought to get lactation rooms added to Atlanta’s International Airport! She has been featured in major media outlets talking about the importance of breastfeeding, and she credits her husband with helping her to feel comfortable nursing openly.
Ashley is proud to feed her son in public — and she got lots of attention for posting fierce breastfeeding photos online. “[I] was on the way out the door but then mommy duty called... Everything stops for him!” Ashley said. In 2004, the fashion model participated in a mall demonstration to support a mom's right to breastfeed in public.
A southern belle with a love for fitness, this Real Housewife of Atlanta says she’s all about the benefits of breastfeeding. “It tightens up your uterus,” Parks said. “It brings everything back in places very quickly. And it cuts down on buying milk and going to the grocery store. Milk does a body good, and if you can make it yourself, then why not?”
As one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi Burruss is used to the limelight. So when her son Ace was born, she wasn’t afraid to share her reality as a new breastfeeding mom on social media. In an Instagram post of Kandi breastfeeding her son Ace, she wrote,“This pic might be a bit much to share on the gram but this is my reality right now. Save your negative comments… #KandiKoatedMilk.”
This award-winning actress and proud momma is not afraid to speak up about breastfeeding in the workplace — even when she is on the red carpet. At the 2016 Emmy awards Show, King recalled her experience on the set of Jerry Maguire 20 years ago: “They took breaks when it was time for me to nurse, and that's what I remember. I remember being able to be an actress and still be a mom, and that’s special.”
Other proud breastfeeding moms
Other proud breastfeeding moms are:
- Essence Atkins
- Melanie Brown
- Mariah Carey (who had twins!)
- Reagan Gomez
- Kimora Lee Simmons
- Ananda Lewis
- Nia Long
- Christina Milian
- Nicole Ari Parker
- Paula Patton
- Nicole Richie