Breastfeeeding in Color

So I follow more than a handful of breastfeeding pages and I have to say my favorite thing about following them are the breastfeeding photos.

Yet there has been something that has been eating at me…..

The lack of diversity in these photos.

Now don’t get me wrong… I love all breastfeeding photos no matter what color the mother may be.

Yet I want more diversity.

By diversity I don’t mean more photos like this…

Himba mother breast-feeding her infant . Kaokoveld .  Namibia .

Though I do believe this other is beautiful and she is doing an awesome job breastfeeding …. I have to say I don’t look like this when breastfeeding. It was also this photo that put me over the edge when someone made the comment:

“It’s nice to see photos of black women breastfeeding.”

I may have screamed ” are you kidding me!” at my computer screen then went on ranting on  Facebook about how it would be nice to see a mom breastfeeding who looked like me NOT like she just stepped off the cover of National Geographic.

So I went on a mission to find photos of women of color breastfeeding. I advertised my project on 50 plus pages asking moms of color to send me their photos. After a week of advertising I have received 10 photos in my inbox. So I am reaching out from here. MOMS OF COLOR PLEASE SEND ME YOUR PHOTOS!!!!!

You may ask yourself “what does this woman plan on doing with my photos?”

I plan on creating a photo gallery, I plan on sharing them on my blog Facebook page, I plan on creating a billboard…. ok ok ok scratch the last one, but I want these photos to circulate like crazy. I want younger girls of color to see them for them who may not be exposed to breastfeeding to see women who look like them feeding their babies naturally. I want breastfeeding to not be seen a thing that only “white stay at home moms do” …. but that EVERY MOTHER CAN DO.

Thank you to Lashana J nursing her little one
Thank you to Lashana J nursing her little one

So have a photo? Send it to me at babywearingapmama@gmail.com along with your name and anything else you would like to say.

Look for this gallery to launch during International Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1st-7th).

Photo thank you to my friend Tigra L..... Much love mama!
Photo thank you to my friend Tigra L….. Much love mama!
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Its Not just some Slavery- Civil War Shit

life-and-style-alicia

I found this photo floating around my Facebook news feed. Why does it seem like when all  is going well in the breast-feeding word that something happens that results in ten steps being taken back?

There is nothing new about breast milk sharing at all… IT IS NOT JUST SOME SLAVERY- CIVIL WAR SHIT.

I have shared milk.

Yet there was a fact mentioned in the caption that one can not argue with the fact that yes slaves use to be wet nurses. Yet obviously the one who wrote that caption didn’t do their research or use common sense.

Seeing that if you were a slave you had no choice to breastfeed the child of the ones who deemed you as nothing more but property to be sold and traded when they saw fit.

Seeing that slave had to cut her own child’s breastfeeding relationship to go feed another.

Yet I want to believe that as that slave nursed the child of her owners she resented just the owners not the child. That she gave that child an abundance of love. Hoping he would remember it when he was older.

Oh and did I mention that if she wasn’t a wet nurse that slave was still made to stop breastfeeding her own child, so she could then give birth to another piece of property?

But you know….

That must be how milk sharing is now! (eye roll)

Last I checked moms today aren’t slaves.

They share milk because they want to.

They aren’t made to sacrifice their own breastfeeding relationship to feed another child.

I am pretty sure there are no harsh feelings when they hand that milk over to a mother or father who really need it

Yes its 2013

You would think by now sharing your milk would be widely accepted.

Hmm maybe that thinking is what is affecting the African American breastfeeding rates… seeing I have heard myself “oh why would you breastfeed you are not a slave anymore”! Yet that’s a conversation for another time.

Though you had no problem plastering it in a magazine

My question to you Life and Style what were YOU thinking when you let that caption go to print?

Now while you think of a politically correct BS answer to give everyone who has emailed you

Please excuse me as I go nurse my son and pump at the same time.

Embarrassed – Interview with Hollie McNish

Embarrassed || Spoken Word by Hollie McNish

I shared this spoken word poem a few days ago and my feelings have not changed. I still think HELL YES every time I watch (maybe 15 times no OK maybe more like 20).  I can relate… as I fed my oldest in many bathrooms and corners. To the point when I couldn’t find a place to hide I wouldn’t nurse at all I resorted to a bottle. Yet with my second according to the words of many friends ” we have seen it all”

That’s why when I listened to this poem I had to talk to her. Ideally I would have loved to sit face to face and maybe given her a hug or two, or maybe even three. I would have probably listened to her and had been so focus on her and her words Hollie may have felt was just a tad bit creepy. Yet sadly she is located across the pond. So had to settle for writing back and forth. Which even to her answers I would screamed in my head “HECK YES!”. Some of those screams may have exited my mouth.

Now on to the interview… Thank you again Hollie!

Who are you and what do you do?

My name’s Hollie and I’m a person, a woman, a mum, a girlfriend, a daughter! I write a lot of poetry and read it out for my job now. I also look after my daughter, tour and don’t sleep much anymore.

Where are you from?

From Reading, South of England, with a Glaswegian family, mum and dad both Scottish.

What do you do for fun when you are not writing?

I play with my daughter, go to the park, make soil castles, trampoline, football, read, see friends, go dancing.

When did you start doing spoken word?

When I was about 24 – I wrote poems since I was little and had about 300 in various books but didn’t want to share them with anyone until my boyfriend forced me!

What Inspired you to write Embarrassed?

Sitting on a toilet feeding my daughter staring at the toilet door which had a poster for a local hiphop night with a girl in a gold bikini the size of a marble. All good, but made me think, fuck this, why the hell am I sitting in here. It stinks and I feel like shit for something I know is a good thing to do.

Do you NIP( Nurse in Public) now? Why were you nursing in the bathroom, was there an incident that caused you to feel like you had to? (question credit going to Mandy)

From insecurity, embarrassment, because I had a few comments made about staying at home. I did a gig – on the poetry judging panel for a young persons competition and had to feed my daughter in the break – she was 2 months old and it was my first gig after birth. I was in a back room, away from the audience but with 3 other male poets, also judging, in the same room, on the other side. After I fed her, one of them said “I think it was too early for you to do this – and he was the guy that bloody booked me for the gig cos they’d once again ‘forgotten to get a female judge!!!”.

I am confident about some things, but not about parenting so much. When I was on my own I used to go hide – when I was with my partner, mum etc it was completely different. I fed my daughter partially till she was 2, I don’t anymore cos she prefers watermelon and apples now!! And yes, I did feed her in public a lot – cafes, restaurants, at festivals – though never completely comfortably, which annoys me still.

What words do you have for nursing moms who may feel uncomfortable nursing in public due to what others may think?

If you want privacy because you just do want privacy, don’t feel bad. But remember that all your insecurities are only their since companies came along. And most people who look at you are not looking in a bad way, they’re just looking, glancing, whatever. They’re probably thinking good things. I think I too often assumed people were looking in a bad way when they weren’t. The more you do it, the more other people will do it too.

Photo credit Kim Leng Hills Photography
Photo credit Kim Leng Hills Photography

Hollie You have any moms including myself who want to tell you THANK YOU!

Check out more of Hollie HERE

The diaper that changed my life

If you know me You know I love cloth diapers ( more of an obsession but whatever same thing). If you don’t know me I am letting you know I love cloth diapers. Along with being very passionate about informed birth choices, babywearing, co-sleeping and gentle parenting. Yet would you believe me if I said that the passion for the topics listed would have never been if it wasn’t for my first cloth diaper? Yes cloth diapering introduced me to the world of birth, babywearing and more.

You see when Cadden was about three months we hit the point of either we pay for the car or we buy diapers for the baby. I told my husband that we could do without the diapers and just put him on the toilet ( I later learned this was elimination communication). My husband was not for that so off for answers I went. I typed in the Google search bar how to save money on diapers and up popped the world of cloth diapering!

Caddens first ever cloth diaper... yeah didn't realize a cover was needed and yes pins were used.
Caddens first ever cloth diaper… yeah didn’t realize a cover was needed and yes pins were used.

I never turned back ( OK we use a sposie here and there). At the moment my obsession is with G  diapers ( No they didn’t pay me to say that).

536317_10100348869405318_321399276_n 100MEDIA95IMAG0067 0721121717d <<<<Caddens Journey with Cloth

 

1019122018a IMG_20130127_232609 1221121650e<<<<<<< Lyams Journey in cloth

Yes I proudly take pictures of my kids butts.

So how did cloth diapering make everything else roll into place?

Well when I first started cloth diapering I joined a open cloth diapering group here I met my now friend Leticia who made Cadden his first set of diapers. They were so damn cute. Well meeting her led me to the Minnesota cloth diapering group that I now admin with her and two other great ladies. Here I was introduced to the idea that you can give birth outside the hospital. I was introduced to what a doula is and their role… I actually met my doula who is also now a friend from this group. Without this knowledge I would have never had my youngest at a birthing center. I would have never met the awesome midwives who attended his birth. My husband would have never became such a huge supporter of births in birth centers and the use of doulas ( we are still working on a home-birth).

If cloth never showed up in that Google search the moms who gave donor milk to my oldest would have never existed in my life. The words yes its OK to sleep with your baby ( that baby is now two years old and still in our bed along with his 8 month old brother) would have never been read as I sat sleep deprived begging for help. My first “proper” baby carrier which was a ring sling made by a great mom wouldn’t exist well with me anyway. Maybe the fabric would have sat there waiting to be turned into the sanity saving carrier for another mom who couldn’t get anything done due to her baby wanting to be held 24/7.

As for breastfeeding… I would have never had the much-needed advice of moms who had been through the struggles I was facing trying to feed my first. Nor would they be the great support I have now with my second ( 8 months strong). I would not be completing the training I need to do to become a Certified Lactation Educator.

You see it might seem a little crazy to others for me to say this… Yet I would not be the crazy babywearing, pro breastfeeding, informed birth choicer, cloth diaper hoarder I am today if it was for the search on Google that landed my 3 month old in a cheaper gerber prefold with safety pins on the side.

yes I have a problem ... Cloth diaper rehab anyone?
yes I have a problem … Cloth diaper rehab anyone?

Please Pass the milk

My Breast have fed 7 babies. I only have two, so where did the other 5 children came from? Well lets see 3 adorable babies were the children of friends, the other adorable two are the children  from a mother who I had not met till the day she showed up my door with a empty cooler that I was happy to fill. I am pretty sure my neighbors thought ” why are women showing up at her door with coolers?” Yet again maybe my neighbors weren’t too surprised seeing I have cloth diapers hanging from my balcony on a daily basis.

YES… I milk share.  No I am not some weird lady would would offer to take your formula fed baby and nurse her because I believe my milk is the only way..(though if you wanted me to nurse your baby I would probably be happy to do so.) I am just a mom who is paying it forward.

My oldest cadden went to a friends birthday party and came home with a stomach bug. He after getting over the bug continued to puke. Puking to the point he was loosing weight and it was causing concern. He couldn’t keep down formula or cows milk. I ended up surfing online and came across milk sharing… I decided to ask moms in the cloth diapering group I am part of for their breast milk. ( I at this point in which he was a year old no longer had a supply due to poor breastfeeding advice and support … he ended up weaning at eight months.)

My husband thought I was nuts… though in a way I don’t blame him. Society today says if you can’t breastfeed then you automatically go to formula. Yet society has yet to give me an answer for what do you do when formula is just not working for you and your milk supply is gone. My doctor at the time thought I was nuts but yet again I thought she worked for the dairy association. I went ahead with the donor milk plan and to this day I thank the moms who had the generous hearts and extra milk to give Cadden. After that I was determined to pay it forward.

When Lyam was born I had my plan in place I was going to hopefully be able to pump and find someone who needed my milk. Apparently God also knew of my plan seeing after my milk came in I was pumping anywhere from 20 to 30 ounces a sitting.. I literally was spraying milk on my baby, on the cats, random strangers you get the picture. By the tome he was a month old I had frozen milk spilling out of our freezer. That’s when I headed over to my local human milk for human babies Facebook page ( see facebook does come in handy time to time!)

I met my first donor family… a mom of beautiful twins we talked for a bit and she showed up at my door with a huge cooler that was very full when she left. The I found my other set of twins who were preemies their dedicated mom who lived ten mins down the road from should up weekly for milk as she worked on building up her own supply. My last mom is mommy of a great little guy whose husband did most of the milk pick ups or we met in parking lots.

I in my honest opinion didn’t just fill breast milk bags for these babies I also sent much love to them and love to their moms for trusting me to provide their little ones with their meals. I spent and still do stay up late at night to pump not because I have to but because I want to, because I believe in the greater good and hope that if I ever needed milk a mom would do the same thing. I avoided certain foods so these moms hopefully didn’t have to spend sleepless nights trying to console a gassy baby.  I am also thankful. Thankful for an abundant supply to share, to the moms who once pumped for my now two year old. Thankful for the web forums that connect mothers with other mothers for milk.

Now am I saying milk sharing is for everyone no but I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to try it. For the mom who is looking for donated milk.. ask potential donors their health history if need its OK to ask many questions this IS your baby.

More about milk sharing

HM4HB

Eats on Feets

And the bashing continues…

For those who cant read backwards the caption above the photo says in short:

“This makes me f!@!## sick. This baby is less than 2 hours old. SMFH. You all should know ……… Ignorant Morons shouldn’t procreate.”

^^^Those words on the photo of a happy father feeding his baby make me want to scream and cry in disappointment of the ignorance and un supportive author

Now before you run and find the Facebook group that this was posted under .. by the way Breast is Best is an awesome group. I will let you know that this was not posted by a regular admin but a trial admin. The group has come out and apologized:

“All of us at Breast is Best want to publicly apologize for the horrendous lack of common sense displayed here earlier today. A friend of mine, who we introduced as a trial admin, was asked to help with fan questions, reposts and shares while I attempt to keep up with all the giveaways we’re hosting. What she posted today was clearly not in line with ANYTHING we have ever posted at Breast is Best, and nothing we would ever deem appropriate in any environment. I’m sad to say that I lost a friendship over this — with someone I just had lunch with this afternoon. I am more sad to know that feelings have been hurt unnecessarily.
Thankfully, the post was deleted after about two minutes, and obviously, her admin status has been revoked permanently. I’m ashamed and embarrassed that our page was portrayed so negatively, if only for a few minutes. Anyone who has followed this page for any amount of time knows that we support ALL moms, breastfeeding, supplementing or formula feeding from the start. We do not tolerate bashing and swearing here, especially not from one of our own. I am beside myself with anger and frustration, and still dealing with this on a personal level. I cannot begin to express my apologies enough, as the baby in the photo belongs to a friend of mine, who just became a new mama yesterday. Please bare with us as we continue to work through this mess. ♥ Deanna”

So no this post will not be about tearing the group apart.

What makes me sad about that picture is not the father who is feeding his child. Whether is formula or breast milk in the bottle at this point it doesn’t matter we don’t know the situation that is going on behind just this picture and I refuse to speculate. What saddens me is the fact that another human being could say this about another person/family. I think what hurts me even more is that human being was a woman.

We all know breast is best , in my perfect world every mom would be able to breast feed or have access to donor milk. Yet my perfect world is just a figment of my imagination… and only exists in my mind.  Moms will use formula…. its not poison as I have seen many write is it my choice for my family no but for others it is and for them it works.

Yet I time after time fail to understand why others don’t understand this. Why others in this case the author of the crap written on the beautiful pic of a father and his child feel that it is need to basically spew hate from their mouth or in this case thoughts that have been written down that will now exist forever.

I in all reality am tired of the breastfeeding vs formula feeding debate amongst us moms. We should uplifting each other and not bashing each other about how one feeds their child.

At the end of the day we are doing what is best for our child. We may not all agree and my choices may not be choices you would choose, and your choices may not be what I would choose. Yet this bashing of other families and moms needs to stop.