August 2017 - Baby Tula Blog

August 2017 Archive

Breastfeeding Journey: Chalice Ebow

We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding Week. A recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics which found that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys. Today, we bring you Chalice’s story of the learning how much energy is needed on your feeding journey. 

For more information, Black Breastfeeding Week shared their top 5 reasons for needing Black Breastfeeding Week here.

How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journey?

I’m  blessed to say that my breastfeeding journey has been a breeze. From the moment Jax was first placed on my belly, he scooted his way up to my left breast and immediately began to nurse. Then, as I’m  embracing this precious moment and  wondering if this little  person  had been here before, he pops his head up, takes a glimpse around the room, then  proceeds. Lol! Minutes. After. Being. Born! Seriously, I birthed somebody’s grandpa. I also had to nurse him every hour that first couple nights because he had jaundice. It was draining, but it was preparation for what was to come with those frequent nightly feedings.

What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter? 

I think myself, like many others, think that nursing comes natural and that it’s less work because your tools are “built-in.” It’s definitely still work.  I didn’t expect the frequency for sure.  That can be draining. There were times that I would struggle to find time or energy  to eat and not doing so just makes you weak. I’m [not] embarrassed to say that I was a huge foodie before pregnancy, but with breastfeeding, my appetite is on a new level! Now I just have an excuse to eat. Hey, at least I’m burning calories every time my baby eats! #Winning

Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey? 

Knock on wood, none thus far and we’re going 10+ months strong! I would say that sitting still and dedicating time to pumping has been tough for me. I have a nervous energy and don’t really do a good job of sitting still. Some may refer to it as a short attention span… Whatever! Lol! I do have quite a stash built up, but haven’t had to use much since I’m at home with Jax. Once I build up the courage to leave him overnight to get to a beach (wishful thinking), I’m sure that stash will come in handy! Oh, he’s getting teeth now which means I may need to add to this answer in the near future.

What resources or support helped you on your journey?

Having a supportive team around you in itself is a blessing. Even though my mom, mother-in-law, or bonus mom didn’t breastfeed, they still supported and encouraged it. My sisterfriend, Liz, also had a baby a little over a year prior to Jax’s birth, and she was my breastfeeding guru. She was my go-to and her dedication to it was an inspiration for sure. Last but not least, m y honey (Jaxon’s father) was a pure BEAST (in a good way, that is). Although he had to wake up for work, be on his feet and attentive on a daily basis, there wasn’t a nighttime feeding or  diaper change  that he’d miss . We’ve burned the midnight oil many-a-nights.  Good times and memories which I’m ever so grateful for.

Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week? 

I’ll be completely honest here and keep it 100% REAL. BLACK WOMEN RARELY BREASTFEED! That’s the bottom line. I don’t know why and I’ve had this conversation time and time again with my mom and friends. I’m not sure if it’s because we aren’t informed/aware or that we haven’t really seen it in our families. Maybe it’s the negative association with our history that makes it frowned upon or   maybe we simply aren’t willing or able to put forth the extra effort. I really do not know. Granted, there are times when our health or even our schedules may not allow for this type of commitment, so I understand. I have, however, noticed an increase in our involvement though, so that makes me proud. Whatever the reason or preference may be, I do believe that we should at least educate ourselves and be willing to try. It is a sacrifice and one of the most selfless acts you’ll ever experience. Women are just phenomenal! Look at what God created our bodies to do — grow a child in our womb, deliver it, and produce the nutrients needed for that child to grow and sustain. Go us! I’m very thankful for efforts such as Black Breastfeeding Week and World Breastfeeding Week as a whole that aim to spread awareness and celebrate our sacrifice.

Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse?  

Be persistent. I’ve helped a girlfriend of mine and my cousin to get their babies to latch on properly. My friend would get frustrated because her baby’s latch was uncomfortable for her and he’d get fussy as she’d try to correct it. All it took was patience. It’s super hard when your baby is wailing because he’s starving, but dedicating the effort to getting it right that one time can result in pure bliss on your journey.

Do your research. Reading and preparing for this can give you an idea of what’s to come so you aren’t completely caught off guard. There are also resources such as The Baby Cafe, WIC offices, local coalitions, etc. that offer FREE support in just about every community. Many people aren’t aware of this. Lastly, you can always take to the internet to forums to get others’ real life experiences. 

Reach out! If you know of someone who has breastfed or is breastfeeding, reach out to them. The worst you can get is a “No!” Also recognize and accept that everyone’s journey is different. Life may throw us a curve ball and guess what we can do about it? NOTHING! We adjust, learn as we go, and keep it moving. Though I’m no expert,  I’m always volunteering advice or help when it comes to breastfeeding. I’ve offered my support in the wee hours of the night  to loved ones and I’d do the same for a stranger. Leave me a comment on social media @SimplyChalPal, direct message me, contact me on my blog SimplyChalPal.com, stop me in the mall, or whatever! Helping others along this journey called life is truly satisfying for me. We’re in this together mama!

Thank you Chalice! You can following Chalice on Instagram or her blog.

Black Breastfeeding Week Feature: Breastfeeding In Color

Finding a support system is so important to any new parent. With a recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics finding that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys, community organizations and their team are incredibly necessary. Today, we feature Isreal of Breastfeeding In Color. Her DC area group is working to raise awareness and support a community so often overlooked.

We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding WeekFor more information, Black Breastfeeding Week shared their top 5 reasons for needing Black Breastfeeding Week here.

How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journey? 

There’s so many ways to describe this amazing journey. When I had my son, I’m not going to lie it was rough. I was a single teen parent basically making ends meet and on top of that he had a lip tie. It was difficult but when he turned six months it was smooth sailing. The journey with my daughter was and is awesome. She’s three now and still nursing. 

What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter?

Man the most common misconception I heard was that it was going to make my breast sag…

Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey? 

I would have to say milk supply. I had to educate myself on how to maintain a good milk supply. Another challenge was hearing the opinions of others. Many people are not knowledgeable about breastfeeding so seeing me nurse my 2 year old was like WOAH, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

What resources or support helped you on your journey? 

In all honesty I had no resources or support that helped me during my journey. Lactation consultants were only available during the time I had to work so I couldn’t even use them. They weren’t accessible.

Why did you start ‘Breastfeeding in Color’ and what is your goal for starting it? 

Oh man, where do I start. I started BreastfeedingInColor because I wanted to make breastfeeding an option to a demographic that is constantly overlooked by the healthcare system. I started BreastfeedingInColor to mainly improve the breastfeeding rates among Black moms in the DC area.

Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week? 

Black Breastfeeding Week is important because Black breastfeeding rates are extremely low compared to other races. Breastfeeding isn’t visible within the black community as much as it should be. The Black infant mortality rate is high and breastfeeding can lower that.

Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse? 

The advice I have is to do what is best for you and your little one. Breastfeeding is between mother/ parent and child. Nobody else. Don’t allow anybody to shame you into feeding your child any way you do not want to.

Is there one particular story that stands out, of a family you were able to help support on their feeding journey? 

I remember helping this amazing single mom who lived in a “not so safe” neighborhood in DC and she automatically assumed that I wouldn’t do a home visit because other lactation specialists and support workers refused to visit her. She was so happy when I told her that I was coming. I helped her with nursing and baby wearing. I provided her with a baby carrier which she loved and demonstrated how to nurse in it. Man, that was a good day and that made me realize why BreastfeedingInColor is necessary and here to stay. 

Thank you Isreal! You can follow BreastfeedinColor on Instagram, Facebook, and their website

Black Breastfeeding Week Feature: Attached

Finding a support system is so important to any new parent. With a recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics finding that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys, community organizations and their team are incredibly necessary. Today, we feature the New York based group Attached. Carolina and Anastasia, who run the group, share their personal feeding journeys and the special community their organization offers.

We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding WeekFor more information, Black Breastfeeding Week shared their top 5 reasons for needing Black Breastfeeding Week here.

Tell us about Attached, and who is behind Attached?

Attached is ran by two moms, Carolina and Anastasia,  but Attached is really a community. Our community was started to support Parents of Color living in low income neighborhoods like ourselves who were seeking a natural holistic intuitive approach to parenting. It started as light support in various parenting methods and quickly snowballed into outreach for caregivers in crisis situations. In all things we want equity and equality for all, sometimes that means bridging the gap with our own bodies and all of our Attached babies in tow. We are dedicated to helping other parents in need and in conjunction with World on MY Shoulders we are able to further our reach and continue to support caregivers in their unique journeys.

How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journeys?

Carolina: 

would describe my latest nursing journey with my 2 year old son as bumpy then semi smooth. The earlier weeks were a struggle.

Anastasia:

It hasn’t always been easy but I have a lot of patched up boo boos, naps, early bedtimes, and numerous redirection saves I’ll always be grateful for because of breastfeeding.

What resources or support helped you on your journey(s)?

Carolina:

My greatest support was my community. Who backed me up when I needed help. Unfortunately when I tried to get help from doctors and nurses I was met with misinformation.

Anastasia:

I grew up in Guyana where breastfeeding was normal and practiced widely. I myself was breastfed until 6 and always knew I wanted to with my own children. Even with my resolve I was not ready for the journey alone unsupported. In Carolina and our community I found the strength to persist through many ups and downs.

Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey?

Carolina:

Yes, my son was born prematurely and spent a little while in the nicu. While there I was told I should pump and that nursing was probably not going to happen. This hospital also threw a curtain around me so that any of the fathers who might have come in would not feel uncomfortable even though I was the only parent in the room. Once I got home I had to work on weaning my baby off the bottle and onto the breast.

Anastasia:

My son was born via cesarean section and I was not shown a proper latch during recovery. I was left alone with him after the operation at which point I fell fast asleep with my newborn suckling away. By the end of my hospital stay my nipples were cracked and bleeding. I hand expressed and fed him with a spoon for almost two weeks before I finally figured out how to latch him on correctly.

What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter?

Carolina:

Breastmilk alone is not enough especially for a boy. My baby in the nicu needed formula to grow strong.

Anastasia:

After a year breastmilk no longer benefits the child’s nutritional needs – first dentist

Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week?

Carolina:

Black breastfeeding week is important because of the misconceptions and myths that surround our communities when it comes to breastfeeding. There’s a stigma around breastfeeding and with proper information we can surpass the stigma.

Anastasia:

There is a long and painful history behind Black health and lack of equitable health care. Breastfeeding is optimal nutrition for babies but many Black people worldwide are not afforded the luxury of choice. The choice to stay home to establish a proper milk supply before maternity leave is up around 6 weeks if you’re lucky. The choice to question their doctor’s advice as being based on racial motivated stereotypes of Black people. The choice of finding a doctors who will accept Medicaid and give you the same care as the privately insured. Black breastfeeding numbers reflect the absence of choice, information and support for Black caregivers seeking breastfeeding as an option. Black breastfeeding week is the collective cry of outrage for our women and babies who continue to slip through the cracks of the health care system.

Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse?

Follow your gut if something doesn’t sound right to you research and then research some more. Surround yourself with a supportive community and learn to trust your intuition. Sometimes you just need to relax, take a well deserved nap and take it one day at a time.

Is there one particular story that stands out, of a family you were able to help support on their feeding journey, that you’d like to share with us?

Along our six year journey we have aided many families in their breastfeeding journeys. It is really difficult to pin down one or even a handful of interactions that haven’t imprinted on our hearts for life. What we can say is it is really something special to witness when a parent nurses  with the aid of a carrier for the first time. It’s like this moment of absolute timid wonder and amazement then realization that they can actually see this being kinda sorta practical and then months later to have those same parents say that they are still nursing because of their carrier.

Thank you to, both, Carolina and Anastasia of Attached! Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and their blog!

Breastfeeding Journey: Rina Thomas

We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding Week. A recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics which found that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys.

During this week, we will be sharing the feeding journeys of real parents in our community. Today, we bring you Rina’s story of the importance of finding support while on your feeding journey. 

For more information, Black Breastfeeding Week shared their top 5 reasons for needing Black Breastfeeding Week here.

How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journey?

I sometimes get teary eyed just thinking about how incredibly empowering this journey has been for me. Looking at my girls and knowing that I nourished them for 9 months inside of me and continue to nourish them from my body for months thereafter, it’s just an amazing feeling. 

What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter?

I honestly believed that when people said “breastfeeding is natural”, that it also meant it was easy and that’s just not the case. There’s a lot of challenges that can come with breastfeeding whether it’s your 1st child or 3rd.

Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey?

Absolutely!! With both of my girls I had some challenges. With my first, I wasn’t producing enough milk which really freaked me out so I took the advice of my friends and sought out a lactation consultant who really helped me get through that rough patch. With my second daughter, we discovered she had an upper lip and tongue tie pretty early on which made our nursing sessions beyond uncomfortable and painful for the both of us. I honestly didn’t think I would be able to nurse her much longer but after getting it revised, it was as if I had a brand new baby, happy and content and I actually looked forward to nursing her.

What resources or support helped you on your journey?

The village of mamas that I rely on have really helped me along the way!! I know so many moms with different experiences and resources that are always willing to help  and provide advice or sometimes just a listening ear when I need it the most. 

Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week?

The truth is that while trying to prepare myself to be a mom for the first time, I quickly realized that breastfeeding advocacy is mostly led by white women–I recall very clearly being obsessed with reading every book, blog, and article that claims to get you ready for your new baby and realizing that very few (if any) of the authors and writers looked like me or “spoke to me”. I would literally have to go out of my way to find something that felt like it had me in mind. I think that the absence of black voices in this instance creates a false narrative or at the very least, perpetuates the myth that black women do not breastfeed. Black Breastfeeding Week provides the platform to initiate conversations, pass on information, and shatter that myth.  

Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse?

Seek support, find yourself a cheerleader or several. Even if you don’t think you need it because you’ve got the whole “breastfeeding thing” down, it’s nice to have people in your corner to cheer you on from the beginning when your nipples are cracked and bleeding all through when your toddler is pulling down your shirt in public for a refill (if you choose to nurse that long). Surround yourself with people that will lift you up and support you through your journey, no matter what path you choose and how long you decide to stay on it. 

Thank you Rina!! You can follow Rina on Instagram.

Breastfeeding Journey: Meka Harrell

We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding Week. A recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics which found that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys.

During this week, we will be sharing the feeding journeys of real parents in our community. Today, we bring you Meka’s story of overcoming latch issues to breastfeed her youngest child. 

For more information, Black Breastfeeding Week shared their top 5 reasons for needing Black Breastfeeding Week here.

How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journey?

This has been such an amazing experience and also a roller coaster!  With my previous 3 I never really “nursed” them bc they had problems latching on and I would just exclusively pump.  I’m not sure why but I wasn’t as interested in nursing once they wouldn’t latch on, I figured the milk wasn’t coming out fast enough boy was I wrong! Now I am so in love with nursing Axel. It’s such an amazing bonding experience and it really touches me to have such a special bond with my baby. Also, it’s sooooo convenient!!! No dirty bottles, no worrying about pumping.  Now that I’m back to work I have to worry about those minor issues. 

What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter? 

I thought that nursing would hurt so much and I just never felt comfortable to nurse in public as if I was doing something wrong. 

Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey?

The only challenge I had this go round was latching because of an inverted nipple and Axel still isn’t a big fan of that side but he knows how to get the milk flowing once a he’s hungry. 

What resources or support helped you on your journey?

I am sooooo thankful for the lactation nurses at the hospital! I probably would have given up again if it weren’t for them.  They allowed me to come by the office as many times as I needed until we were able to get Axel to latch on good and get all this liquid gold! They are amazing women and I am forever thankful! 

Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week?

I think it’s so important to have representation. I didn’t know a ton of black moms that nursed and I think the more we see the more comfortable we make other new moms. Especially when it comes to feeding in public! No one should feel ashamed to feed their baby. I will feed Axel anytime anyplace and with the summer heat I’m not thinking about a coverup.   

Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse?  

Don’t give up! The bond of nursing is so strong and it’s very emotional. Just to look down and see your child drinking your milk will really make you proud not only giving birth but continuing to grow life from your body. That’s just amazing to me.  Also don’t feel bad if you have to stop, as long as you tried and please never compare your journey to any other moms! 

Thank you Meka!! You can follow Meka on her blog and on Instagram.