Keisha Knight-Pulliam says she was treated like a poor single mom by a lactation nurse after she gave birth to her first child, daughter Ella Grace, last month.
Pulliam, best known for her role as Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show, gave her birth story on her weekly podcast, Kandidly Keshia.
Pulliam reported that she was checked into the hospital before her delivery date. She revealed that she went in to see her OB during a routine doctor’s visit and learned that her blood pressure was dangerously high and she would need to get induced right away.
On that episode of her podcast, the 37-year-old actress said “everything was kept very private” for “safety reasons” and that her doctor and nurses did an “amazing job” taking care of her.
Post birth, after 12 hours of labor, Pulliam says she got biased treatment by an elderly lactation specialist, who had no idea who Puliam was.
The woman actually assumed she was a poor mother in need, the Beauty Shop actress revealed.
“Bless this old little lady’s heart,” Pulliam said while explaining that the woman handed her a hospital pamphlet, opened to a page that contained “about 30 different numbers and resources” for mothers and told her, “We have some great programs that you may want to take advantage of that you may need. Um, WIC is a great program.”
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states to provide basic nutritional needs of low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children up to age 5, usually via grocery vouchers. To qualify, a person’s gross income must be at or below 185 percent of the U.S. poverty income guidelines.
“So I guess she saw this little black girl with the little baby by herself and on the door, I didn’t realize that they’d put like a faux last name and the last name was Brown,” Pulliam continued. “So I guess she saw ‘Miss. Brown’ and was like, ‘She probably needs some WIC.’ So she said, ‘Yes, WIC is…an amazing program that you may want to take advantage of and I don’t know if you have insurance-‘ that’s when I stopped her, I said, ‘Ma’am, I have excellent insurance but thank you.’
It was presumptuous but well-meaning, albeit probably based on stereotypes about unwed moms of color delivering solo.
The House of Payne star also said the elderly specialist did not help her learn to breastfeed.
“Like, she didn’t want to touch me,” she said. “They literally will like, guide your boob, show you how to hold it, put it in the baby’s mouth. This lady was not trying to touch my little brown boobie.”
Eventually, the online cooking show host said her doula got her a replacement.