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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (And A Year In Review) From The LjB!


I just wanted to write a quick post and greet everyone for the New Year!

As I've been reflecting on the past 365 days, I'm pretty amazed at all of the things that have gone on around here. 2012 was intense. It brought about new excitement, insight and revelations for me. For starters, even though I initially believed that becoming a Certified Lactation Consultant would be the way I would advocate and challenge social inequity through breastfeeding support, my vision became much clearer and I realized that is not part of the plan that is laid out for me, since I realized my heart is not in consulting and believe my effectiveness in working towards social justice will be farther and wider reaching on a different avenue. I became a member of two new breastfeeding coalitions this year -- BCW and ROSE (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere), as well as a midwifery organization, where I trained as a Full Circle Doula to decrease the high rate of maternal-infant mortality among Black women. I also joined an anti-racism breastfeeding committee organized by the BCW, as well as attended two nurse-ins -- one at Target and the other at Applebee's -- because I give a sh*t. At a national breastfeeding summit in Atlanta, Georgia, focused on finding ways to increase initiation and duration rates among Black women, I spoke about looking beyond these normalized breastfeeding protagonists but take a critical look at the unique and complex history of Black women in this country --and engage more community members who are interested in challenging socio-political inequity, structural violence and cultural insularity -- and redefine Black breastfeeding support. I helped build a national database dedicated to increasing the ability of business owners to cater to women who express milk on the job, received a Certified Lactation Educator certificate right before my birthday, opened an online Zazzle store I refer to as the 'Anti Breast Is Best Shop', and created items dedicated to raising awareness around structural and systematic oppression in breastfeeding, and moving away from idealism. From the shop's profits, for the first time made a donation in the name of this blog to an organization that caters to low-income pregnant women. I attended my very first breastfeeding legislation meeting at Seattle City Hall, and stemming from that it is now illegal in the city for businesses to ask women to cover up while nursing, I continue to help plan a Big, Bad Breastfeeding Summit addressing racism, white privilege and power that will be happening in June, helped spread the word about the politics of breastfeeding in the Black community on two different occasions on the Queen Ifama Show -- the first earlier this year and the second just recently. I was selected to speak at the Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposia this coming Spring in North Carolina, where I will, of course spread the word about breastfeeding and Black Feminism. Surprisingly and thankfully, I finally discovered that indeed Black Lactation Consultants actually DO exist in Washington State, published my 100th blog post, but in the meantime pissed off a whole lot of people by writing 'against the grain' and was, for a minute, banned from facebook for it. DAN-GER-OUS! *wink*. Even still, the number of people who subscribed to the LjB doubled in 2012 from 2011. Finally, with family and friends, I celebrated my great nephew's first birthday, my third year of being smoke-free happened in July and I set the wheels in motion towards greater endeavors in education.

I can't say there were not times -- often -- that I didn't want to throw in the towel. I feel as if I get so entrenched in what I do that it seems to overtake me. Recently, someone told me "you can't take the weight of the world on your shoulders." But even though I've had those moments where I wanted to quit every other day or more frequently because there are so many challenges, there was always something that kept me going. I usually recognize this as my promise to my foremothers, foresisters and others who came before me. For those who were met with hostility and even death for attempting to speak out, for being caught learning how to read or for various other ways we too often take for granted. When I learned about the history of Black women in this country, I promised I wouldn't remain silent -- that I would give my best to voice these women and shine a light on their lives and work towards challenging injustice. I would repay them. The universe chose this recompense be through breastfeeding support. Within this area, I can examine the inextricable link to areas, of racism, sexism, health and wellness, dominance, culture, class elitism, family structure and countless others, through a historical and contemporary framework, and on a local and larger context. And with anthropology, add an additional and extremely rare dimension to Black breastfeeding support.

I remain here because of those from long ago -- who, without the simple act of survival, I would not be here today. I do so for those who stand next to me now and cannot speak, and in solidarity with those who do, and I help set the stage for those who will one day take my place. None of this possible without the support and encouragement from others who just know and understand. For me, the strike of a new year does not mean I start over. I only continue, and I'm excited about what lies ahead. Have a happy, safe, prosperous, healthy and glorious 2013. And thank you for being a part of this journey.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Benefits of Breastfeeding w/Queen Ifama and Sister Acquanda

I was on the Queen Ifama show this past Sunday on Blog Talk Radio. The 'Truth Terrorist' invited me to be a guest to talk about breastfeeding, and introduce an initiative to support Black Feminism in breastfeeding.

I had such a wonderful time talking about something I'm so passionate about. I love offering insights and ways to get more people joining in and explaining why we need to be proactive in breastfeeding support, and hearing their suggestions as well.

I was a bit nervous in the beginning (hence why I dorkishly explained my username), and when I was asked about being a doula, totally didn't explain exactly what the significance of doulas are for Black women and why we need them. Gah!

*Sigh*

After I listened to the show, there were some things that I felt may not have come across as clear as I would have liked, or that may be interpreted incorrectly.

Here are a few things I'd like to clear up: 
  1. Breastfeeding is not a 'fix-all' button! I believe breastfeeding can and does help avert illness, infant mortality as well as offer many other benefits even on a local and global level, but I am unsure if I came across as suggesting if we just breastfeed then all health and social ills associated with a lack of tradition will simply disappear. I have not, do not, nor will I ever subscribe to this. Even though I agree with Queen Ifama -- that we will be healthier as a society overall, there are far too many issues that we, as a collective people, must work on. 
  2. When I talk about the 'Strong Black Woman' in this context, it is not a suggestion that I believe Black women are superhumans. Instead, one of the most dehumanizing results of racism and sexism is this myth that has been sustained for generations. Black women have been made to seem as if she can handle the weight of the world -- without flinching -- and with a smile, while silently suffering in her mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. 'Strong Black Women' are dying. When I reference this figure, it is because I believe this is one of the many forms of oppression situated at the center of low breastfeeding rates. 
  3. "We must all work at dismantling the stigmas to bring the one that is responsible for lowered breastfeeding rates to the top." Correction: They are interlocking. We must eradicate them all.
Overall, I think it went really well -- I didn't leave crying this time around. I was invited  back anytime, which is good because there's definitely a whole lot more I'd like to talk about. I was also told I could even put a panel together for the show -- and that's insanely tempting. Who's down?

I'm on in the second hour, at the 63 minute mark, and for about one hour through the end of the show discuss Black Feminism in theory, praxis and politics of Black breastfeeding. I'd love to know your insights or what you think about the topics at hand. 

Disclaimer: Queen Ifama cusses, just in case you're sensitive to profanity. 

Listen to internet radio with Queen Ifama Da Rebel on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, December 21, 2012

Guest Post: Baby Health Care-Essential Skin Care Tips for Your Newborn

A baby will make you love stronger, your home happier, and the future worth living for. A new born baby creates a cheerful environment in the home. They possess sensitive and delicate skin. For the parents, it is important to understand that skin care is compulsory for the new born baby for their health and growth. Keep your babies well nourished. Until ten to fifteen weeks after their birth the production of melanin is at a lower rate in their body. This makes their skin sensitive to external ventures. A newborn baby is born with a special protective cover known as vernix. This cover will peel off in the first week.

Chemicals, and dyes in baby products like detergents, cloths and others are the main reasons for rashes, skin allergies, and dryness. Hence you should care about the products that are used on your baby's skin. Before taking the baby in your hands, wash your hand properly with hand wash. Regularly massage your baby’s body. For this purpose make use of organic and natural oils. Here are the various tips for new born baby skin care.

The first thing you have to do is avoid the use of baby products. You have to strictly say 'no' to baby products for a few months if your family has suffered from skin problems. The baby’s immune system takes sufficient time to develop, and most of the baby products have chemicals and fragrances. Since the immune system of a baby is not fully developed these chemicals may cause allergies and rashes. Wash baby clothes separately.

After bathing her, use a fresh, soft and clean cloth. Maintain separate towels and cloths for baby, and keep her well moisturised by applying moisturiser. Change diapers frequently to protect her from diaper rashes. Trim finger nails of the baby to protect her from scratches on her face and eyes. To trim the nails, make use of a baby nail file. If you find rashes on your baby’s skin it is better to check with another brand of diaper before going to consult a doctor. Don’t use baby products which are alcohol based, as they cause skin irritations.

A sponge bath is preferable for babies, as they do not get dirty frequently. For this, clean just the diaper area with a little cleanser or water. The best idea is to use popular brands. Because all we know that health is the real wealth, it will not be a bad idea to spend for health. Even if these products cost a little more the use of these products is preferable.

About The Author:
Maria Benson, a professional blogger, is interested in finance and politics and she has been writing articles on several such categories. Her hobbies include painting and reading, during free time. Her interests are researching financial products and services and writing reviews on them. She is working on ppi claims and she is looking forward to posting a few articles on it. Catch her @mariabenson10.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breastfeeding Security vs. Breastfeeding Sovereignty plus #DoulaProgression (Video)

I can't explain how thankful I am for coming across the video below. It allows me to explain more in detail about what I mean when I say that breastfeeding is not just breastfeeding. It also is another way to view why Breast Is Best just won't work, and if we want to truly increase our level of participation and promote liberation and self-empowerment, we must get to a point where we explore other areas that are at the center of lowered rates.

Megan Carney, who appears in the video, is a professor of anthropology at the University of Washington. She focuses on the political economy/ecology of food, on critical race and other social theories. I found this video where she explained Food Security vs. Food Sovereignty, telling us that the vast difference between the two lie in accessibility, production and power. Food security, she explains, though people may have enough, have adequate access and it is made safe and affordable, this type of structure remains infused with governmental policy, political control, and is weighted in favor of authoritative figures. Food security does not take into account the differences in the way people view and acquire food -- through a culturally specific lens, but its purpose is to fill bellies. Food sovereignty on the other hand, is concerned with working towards recognizing members of various groups and the community as a site of empowerment, agency and mobilization. Food Sovereignty is organized by the people, and takes into account that the one-size fits all approach does not work. It recognizes the varied practices and social and cultural lenses are necessary and work more at producing the uniqueness and specificity of a particular group.

How is this connected to breastfeeding?

I think this parallels the lot of breastfeeding advocacy I see. Most, if not all messages around the topic are largely concerned with the practical aspects of infant feeding -- getting a baby to suck. I feel what is too often overlooked is the idea that deeply woven into the tradition are ways at examining how people practice and how attitudes are shaped around this custom. A recent article in American Anthropologists underscored that 'Breastfeeding involves much more than feeding; it entails intimate social interactions that reflect cultural ideas and practices about social relationships, childcare, and child development,' and that 'many other ethnographers have suggested that breastfeeding should be viewed not only as a health-relevant activity but also as a sociocultural activity.' I talked about something along the same lines earlier this year at the ROSE Breastfeeding Summit, and encouraged the audience that in addition to advocating the tradition to Black women in the community, to take a more critical and holistic look at what lies at the center of lowered rates -- especially cultural insularity, apathy and others, and recognize the need for more engagement from all people.

In the same context of security, and even though most disagreed with me about not looking to celebrity icons for breastfeeding support, I felt very strongly about this when the world all but praised Beyonce's public nursing. I know that to many people, it was seen as a significant achievement for Black women and especially, as some said, to 'Black lactation activists'. The social networking sites blew up with tweets and posts about this 'monumental moment in history'. Those looking for a Black diva-esque-type role model -- a non-crunchy sistah, believed this representation would fuel a breastfeeding revolution in our community. I understand it's a sensitive area for so many working to save the lives of Black women and children, which is why I have and will continue to approach this area with sensitivity. I'm happy to know Beyonce breastfed whenever and for whatever amount of time, but in my mind, not only did it I feel that leaning towards this type of representation only contributes to the hierarchy and reproduces the cycle of domination in a society concerned with constructing protagonists just to advance a system based on greed and self-interest, but the sentiments around Black women's breastfeeding just wouldn't last. What happens when the novelty wears off, or her popularity declines, just as starters? This is also seen, I believe, with many other entities that do not take into account the varied cultural languages or the lens of the people. It remains top down. The issues are, of course, much larger, and go much, much deeper, but this is an example of how we remain fixated on power structures instead of engaging our local groups to find out exactly what breastfeeding means to them. What does breastfeeding mean to different groups in language, culture, custom, religion and various other ways of trying to understand. A one-size-fit-all approach is detrimental.

Empowering people to understand the need for more community and cultural involvement, and work at the foundation of issues within and outside of breastfeeding towards a real social change, is what will move us in a direction where our efforts will transcend generations. We must make a true, concerted effort at dismantling issues of power, challenging cultural insularity, inequity many others, in order to progress and move forward. And get to know somebody! Understanding others and working together to confront systems of domination needs to be the goal of all advocates, lactation specialist and anyone interested true social equality. Everything else, in my mind, is not a marker of transformation and liberation, but is just a game of follow the leader.

Watch the video, and then share your thoughts.




References:
Fotus, Hillary, et. al. 2012. "A Biocultural Approach to Breastfeeding Interactions in Central Africa." American Anthropologist. (114):(123-136).

#DoulaProgression

Ya, so I don't really know how to cook well and all, but obtaining a food handler's permit is still a requirement so I got one. I had no idea where to go at first, until my friend told me I can get one online. I visited the Washington State Department of Health, and enrolled in the short course which largely consisted of watching animated slides on how to safely handle food in order to avert bacterial contamination, followed by taking a 32 question quiz and paying the 10 dollar fee. The card lasts for two years. I also got a new book -- In The Way of Our Grandmothers: A Cultural view of Twentieth-Century Midwifery in Florida, which I'm reading now and plan on reviewing as well as submitting as a report, and I'll it check off when complete.

Young, Gifted And Black: My joy of today (Video)

The other night someone tweeted a line from 'Young, Gifted And Black' that sent a rush of inspiration through me, and seemed to replace the discouragement I had been feeling lately. I was having one of those 'I'm done!' moments. Too much injustice and opposition. And too much apathy.

I think this song came through right when I needed it. It reminded me that just the same as Nina Simone used her voice as a weapon to sing against the deeply embedded racism and anti-Black sentiments in this country, this happens with anyone who is working towards equity and who has garnered a level of consciousness and refuses to remain silent. It may not seem like much right now, but I hope this post serves as at least some level of encouragement to all of you activists, advocates and whistleblowers who work to actualize justice and truth, and that when you feel discouraged and wonder if you are indeed making a difference or want to give up, that you recognize you are making a difference! If this were not so, then you wouldn't face so much opposition. Take joy in knowing you are powerful -- moreso than you realize, I'm sure. Thanks to Nina for this one. And to my Twitter pal, for sharing.


Young, Gifted and Black. Oh, what a lovely, precious dream. 
To be Young, Gifted and Black. Open your heart to what I mean.  
In the whole world you know, there's a million boys and girls who are Young, Gifted and Black 
and that's a fact. 

You are Young, Gifted and Black. We must begin to tell our young.
There's a world waiting for you. Yours is the quest that's just begun.

When you're feeling real low there's a great truth that you should know
When you're Young, Gifted and Black your soul's in tact.

To be Young, Gifted and Black. Oh, how I've longed to know the truth.
There are times when I look back and I am haunted by my youth. 
But my joy of today is that we can all be proud to say to be Young, Gifted and Black is where it's at. 
Is where it's at. 
Is where it's at.

What brought you to breastfeeding or birth interest, advocacy and activism?

It's fascinating hearing folks' stories on how they came to breastfeeding and birth advocacy, justice and activism. Or how they became interested in it. The majority of people I come across are women who seem to share the sentiment that after having their child(ren) fell in love with motherhood so much they wanted to extend a special type of care. Others just love babies. And some say they came on board once learning about maternal-infant mortality.

One of the more amazing stories I've heard is from someone who was called by her ancestors. She told me that through spiritual communication they guided her on a path to advocate for babies, and she later found out these ancestors were lay midwives. She said she wasn't interested in this type of work before, but has since developed a passion for it and is now finishing a degree in maternal-child health. I know for myself the universe summoned me. I literally heard the word 'breastfeeding' whispered in my soul one day. From that point I found myself thinking about it day and night, and it became almost an obsession. I thought it was the strangest thing in the world since I had no kids, have never breastfed and didn't see this changing. I remember I kept wondering 'Why am I thinking about breastfeeding?', since besides sporadically asking and even persuading some women I've known to nurse their babies when I found out they were pregnant or once they'd given birth, that was the extent of my advocacy. It would never have dawned on me in a zillion (or more) years I would be crusading to this extent. Or that I'd be obsessed with the politics and even construct my own theory around Black women's traditions.

Since I've begun this 'lactation journey', not only have I been able to see clearly why I'm here, but I can see an evolution that's taking place. I just became a doula, and am looking forward to exploring the depth of birth and breastfeeding, and the links of oppression and liberation that are embedded in these customs. Whether this will be my path for the next 5, 10, 20 or 30 years only time will tell. But for now I've fallen in love with what I do. But that's my story. What brought you to this realm? Or, what brought you to the point that you're on a blog dedicated to increasing breastfeeding rates among Black women? I'd love to know. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Documentary Review :: DADS AND BREASTFEEDING: The Official Guide For New Fathers

DADS AND BREASTFEEDING: THE OFFICIAL GUIDE FOR NEW FATHERS is a short documentary created by Quashier S. Flood-Strouble, who appears in the video and can be seen in the screenshot below, is a breastfeeding peer counselor, Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), mother of three breastfed children and by her brother, Mu-Tor Flood, PhD student in Psychology. The siblings created the film in order to raise awareness around the importance of breastfeeding and to highlight the significant role fathers can and should play in supporting their breastfeeding partners. This documentary relays the message that "Dads should support breastfeeding because it is the safest, easiest, cheapest, and most natural thing for the family." It is the "Only DVD on breastfeeding from the male perspective."

The 28 minute educational video narrated by a male, provides interview-style presentation with practical insight from nearly one dozen dads. These fathers, sharing their knowledge on the tradition, discussed the long-term benefits of breastfeeding, immunity building, maternal-infant bonding, economic benefits vs. purchasing infant formula, SIDS reduction, weight loss, skin to skin, positioning, latch and others. Healthcare professionals such as a Certified Lactation Consultant, Certified Lactation counselor, Clinical Psychologist, and Registered Nurse also provide clinical information, further underscoring the significance of mother's milk.

Another theme is relationship and bonding between dad and baby. Even though fathers do not breastfeed children, the narrator emphasizes that their role is part of a successful nursing experiences and their bond with the baby is just as important. He offers a few ideas on ways to initiate this. Fathers can, for example, recognize infant hunger cues, as well as read to babies in order to stimulate brain development. They can also ensure they hold the baby in order for the baby to learn to recognize facial structures at an early age, and speak to him or her. Some dads suggested some of their methods are singing, skin to skin, or other soothing techniques such as rocking.

DADS AND BREASTFEEDING is useful for those who are unaware or unsure of their role in supporting women who nurse. It provides a no-nonsense way to understand basic information about the benefits of breastfeeding and how male figures can help out.


I was really excited about receiving this documentary. The only other video that I know of that really has ever added a father's input is one I saw at the ROSE Breastfeeding Summit earlier this year; the presenter discussed the necessity to move from a breastfeeding dyad to a breastfeeding triad. This is the same message in DADS AND BREASTFEEDING.

For me, I believe there is space in the tradition for far more support besides those in the tight-knit circle, but I think this video is a starting point that allows us to see that others must focus on the importance of breastfeeding. I'm happy to see that infant feeding and nourishment among other benefits, in education and support, is shifting away from being the sole responsibility of the woman and that the scope in building encouragement is being widened. I'm happy to add DADS AND BREASTFEEDING to my collection of educational resources.



Writer(s): Mu-Tor Flood, Quashier S. Flood-Strouble 
Production Company: MQF Productions, LLC
Year: 2012
High Definition DVD: 69.99
Run Time: 28 Minutes
Language Format: English/Spanish
Genre: Education
ISBN: N/A (© 2012)

Thank you, MQF Productions (@MaliykaisHealth), for providing a copy of DADS AND BREASTFEEDING: The Official Guide For New Fathers, for this review. 

Note: All opinions are my own and honest, and I am not compensated by the producer. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I LOVE BEING A DOULA (Deep down in my soul): A Reflection on ICTC's Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training

 © 2012 ICTC Training Handbook 
I'm a doula! Well, until I complete all of the requirements outlined in the program to become certified I'm just a provisional doula. But I'm still a doula. Over the weekend I completed the ICTC (International Center for Traditional Childbearing) Full Circle Doula Training, in Portland, OR, and not only was I introduced to important and practical methods for caring for pregnant and birthing women, but I feel I experienced a transformation in the way I think about participating and how I will apply my knowledge.

The founder of ICTC, Shafia Monroe, has been a midwife and healer for over 30 years. Her interesting story started out when she was a child and cared for sick animals in the neighborhood. Later, after learning about the high rate of maternal-infant mortality among Black women and babies, she proactively searched for someone to teach her midwifery and has been in the realm since, traveling the world teaching others and participating for better birth outcomes.

The Full Circle Doula model was invented by Mrs. Monroe, to ensure a midwifery model of care. It provides methods for caring for women during all phases of pregnancy, labor and postpartum, and ICTC also holds the belief that a doula should act as a 'one stop model' and supply information for women on community resources or direct her towards a list, should she need it. Full Circle training lasts for four days. In addition to talking about placentas, blood pressure, breastfeeding and missed cycles, we discussed health inequities and injustice, the effects of racism on pregnancy and birth outcomes, class issues and also watched documentaries on granny midwives and heard more about how lay midwifery became outlawed. The extensive textbook that is provided with the course, is filled with lessons about Black infant mortality -- the 'Intolerable example of national oppression in the USA', labor terminology, birthing plans, nutrition, family rituals, postpartum depression, increasing milk supply, domestic violence, HIV, common medications, stages of labor and many others. I also really appreciate the small articles in the text written by Mrs. Monroe -- sections such as Black Fatherhood, and Sensuality of Pregnancy and Birth, for example.

Being a doula means that I am a birth companion. Unlike a midwife who is a healthcare provider, a doula provides emotional support, education, advocacy and guidance. I celebrate a woman's pregnancy and comfort her during labor, and focus on her at all times. I also compliment her partner's support. Because I learned the Full Circle model the relationship will (hopefully) begin in early pregnancy and we can establish that much-needed level of trust and partnership before labor and delivery, and that lasts into the postpartum period. Some doulas may help out with other small children and also do light chores around the house and cook. Some benefits of doulas are reduction in the rate of C-Sections, reduction in epidurals, a decrease in the length of labor, and increased breastfeeding -- all of this is significant for Black women especially, who face the highest rate of maternal-infant mortality.

I realized I knew more about birth mechanics than I thought I did; I have been around birthing women for years -- I have 16 nieces and nephews, (and have played a part in raising each). I've also been in the delivery room a few times, and even videotaped my now 19-year-old nephew's birth. But I also learned an invaluable amount of information that I didn't. I also knew I was heading in a direction that would allow me to have a more in-depth understanding and provide a new outlet to increase my advocacy. Not too long ago when someone asked me about birth history and theory and I couldn't really offer any information, that was a turning point and ignited a desire to gain more of an understanding of the 'politics of reproduction'. When I called to check in on my good friend and her new baby girl a little while ago, that is what I believe solidified my desire to become a doula, since I have been active in breastfeeding advocacy and wanted to go deeper. That was my entry point.

 © 2012 ICTC Training Handbook
Initially, I thought becoming a postpartum doula is how I would support women and continue to promote breastfeeding. I have written before about my thoughts on the practical aspects of birthing, and how I felt meeting with them after they gave birth was how I would practice. But after taking this course and learning the importance of focusing on all aspects of women when they're pregnant -- while they are laboring and after they've given birth, up to one year, I can't imagine not following the all-encompassing Full Circle model for complete emotional support and advocacy. Not being thorough is not even my style.

When I was younger, I wanted to have babies in the bathtub of my home with all of my family around and also become a midwife, but since that's not the path I'm on today, it never would have dawned on me I'd become a doula. I also think it's interesting that since I have helped raise so many kids and have taken part in all of those parental rites from changing diapers, to helping potty train, time-outs, E.R. and Dr. visits, piano, football, ballet, parent-teacher conferences, talks with the school principle and the slew of other things that involve children, I've always said the only two things I've never done were give birth and breastfeed -- but I'm not so sure about that anymore. Being a breastfeeding advocate and now a doula places me in that context, and allows me to experience this vicariously and spiritually. It's fascinating how the universe works.

It was affirming being in an atmosphere that centered the experiences of Black women. In addition to being taught practical aspects of care and given information on our lives and viewpoints, I felt as if for a few days I was able to view relatively through this cultural lens and view the way Black midwives practiced, which greatly enriched the experience. This conjured up sentiments for me, where I felt myself coming to tears on several occasions during class. Aside from the reasons I was even there -- the reality of infant and maternal mortality, I chalk these emotions up to recognizing that what I have begun searching for is becoming actualized -- I'm moving towards a greater level of consciousness. This is when I begin to ask the question 'How can I fully understand the stories of Black women in a historical and contemporary context if I don't know how we birth?' I want to visit the foundation of Black birthing, and better understand the larger framework. I feel like I'm being summoned from those areas that have remained in my periphery, and that I've been able to step back into history and hear the stories of so many women on how I can learn this birth culture and see where it leads me.

Everyday class began with reciting The Black Grannies Midwifes Prayer from the 'Southern Lay Midwives As Ritual Specialties' followed by singing the 'Black National Anthem'. Throughout the day, we learned techniques on massage, birth practices, meditative strategies and building a doula business. At the end of the day we also sang -- about how we love being a midwife, healer and doula. I'm reveling from the experience. I also feel like I gained a lesson in self care by learning new ways to care for Black women, because when I learn how to better care for other Black women, I learn how to better care for myself. And even though I'm still not exactly sure where this will lead, I am 100% certain I am headed down the path I am meant to be on, and I am looking forward to seeing how this will all evolve over time. I am thrilled I took this course.


Below is the list of requirements that must be completed in order to become certified. I found out that my Certified Lactation Educator (CLE) certificate is nil in the context of this project. Even though I had 'audit a breastfeeding course' checked off in my initial post, I had to remove it. Here is the updated image of my doula progression. I really appreciate this list of requirements, since I believe it's rigorous for a doula course. Next, I'm working on the food handlers permit, CPR card and book reports of my choice of titles from the list of required texts. So far, I have Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers, and The Archaeology of Mothering is on its way to me. And I'm also looking for pregnant women. They're quite difficult to find when you're actually searching.

Even though I have two years to complete this list, I'm hoping to get all of this finished as soon as I can -- hopefully within the next year (sooner if I can help it). I'll keep checking them off as I go, so make sure you keep an eye out.

Black women and babies are dying and it's devastating the human race. WHEN WILL YOU FUCKING CARE?

I try to stay away from profanity -- on my blog -- and even my Twitter stream and any other social network. Not because I have an inherent moral issue with swear words. On the contrary, I definitely can get in my fair share. But it's out of respect for my mother, and the strong Christian woman she was, who was always offended by them, and the fact that I do have a semblance of consideration for other people is why. I think about her and out of this respect, think of others who may have the same viewpoint and I refrain. That's it. There is no other reason. On another note, a friend of mine tells her children in addition to kicking and screaming to cuss loudly -- if someone is approaching them and trying to abduct or cause some other type of harm. It gets people's attention.

Yesterday I drove my little sister to the dentist. After a quick trip to the thrift store down the street to browse for a few, I was back in the parking lot of the dental office because I just didn't feel like going in, and sat outside in the car. I fell asleep for over an hour and woke up to half of my body being numb, apparently because of the position I was in. This may seem like no big deal to you -- falling asleep in the car -- except I never do that. Ever. Over the past few days I've been sullen and lethargic. I'm depressed. I'm depressed about of all of the attitudes of apathy around me and the carelessness regarding Black women and our children -- it's everywhere. It seems no matter what is done folks just don't seem interested enough to try and do what they can to help out. And I feel like I can't speak loudly enough to get anyone's attention.

I posted a link on facebook twice, asking my nearly 200 friends to vote for La Leche League of Washington to win a $5,000 award they're competing for -- one that would help out tremendously, by allowing us to provide scholarships for registration fees, and also it would help pay for travel, etc. for speakers for the upcoming summit on racism, white privilege an power in breastfeeding -- addressing these issues among communities of color. No one responded. Excuse me, except people who are on the planning committee. The second time it remained untouched. But this is only one of many examples that I've experienced recently. It never stops amazing me that I can be deleted countless times from facebook, and have people refuse to associate with me in various other contexts because of my political views, but when people remain silent then all is well.

As I've been over here sulking and wanting to sleep the day away, I thought about an article that was posted not so long ago on the mahogany way birth cafe, where Darcel, the blog's owner, criticized birth advocates, and asked what exactly will it take to get their attention on Black maternal-infant mortality? "When will you care?" When will the issues of health and wellness surpass the issues of race to make them become the true birth justice activists they claim to be. Here's an excerpt. Read the full article here:
I really want to know when will you care? When it’s your friend, someone you work with? When your son ends up with your half black grandchild? When you end up pregnant with a half black child? When will you see these posts, statistics, articles, and do something about it? How can you call yourself a birth worker, or birth activist, and sit by while innocent black babies die at an alarming rate? When will you be able to step outside of yourself to help a community and movement you claim to care so much about? Or is it that you only care when it concerns you?
Experiencing these types of apathetic attitudes is nothing new. And I'm not really surprised at the continued lack of regard for the lives of Black women and babies, but it's hitting me on a new level. I'm tired of seeing it so deeply from people near and far, and constantly seeing the utter lack of interest in the things I find important -- things that are important -- human life.  And I don't know how to process it. I don't need to spout off the sobering statistics from the CDC, World Health Organization, and any grassroots organization because I'm sure folks are well aware of these issues. I'm convinced they are. Just unconcerned. But I  have a few question of my own. Tell me when will you fucking care?

When will you drop a fucking nickel on a cause that's worth something, rather than rushing out to buy material shit, with resources mined from earth's materials and built on the backs of vulnerable communities?

When will you volunteer or otherwise spend one fucking minute of your time working towards equity instead of looking for others to do it for you, as you try and remove yourself from responsibility?

When will you stand the fuck up to issues of socio-political inequity, structural violence and cultural insularity, and recognize you are not helpless in making an effort to challenge these? To push towards a more just society -- so people can live?

When will you sit the fuck down and strategize on how to find practical or creative ways to counter oppressive tactics directed towards vulnerable populations?

WHEN WILL YOU MAKE A FUCKING EFFORT?

When will you stop fucking pretending to be ignorant of racism and its fundamental impact on health and social equality? When will you speak up about it instead of remaining silent? Or, when will you stop referring to race relations in passing -- as if it's just a side note instead of the main component?

When will you give a fuck about breastfeeding and why doesn't it bother you that Black babies are disproportionately not receiving proper nutrition. Is it because you never had any issues nursing your own child? Maybe you did, maybe you didn't. Or maybe you don't have children at all, when will you fucking recognize this issue requires a collective effort -- and that you are affected? There's a bigger picture. This is your concern.

Black people, when will you care? When will white people care? And Brown and Red and Yellow people? When will heterosexual people, and gay people and men and women and trans and non-gendered people realize you need to pay close attention to what's going on? What about atheists and Christians, Muslims, and Jews, Buddhists and everyone practicing and non-practicing, old and young people care about the staggering rate of maternal-infant mortality among Black women and Black babies?

When will your consciousness extend beyond your fucking nose, and you make yourself accountable for supporting Black maternal-infant mortality by remaining complacent?

Tell me!

I want to know!

Though sometimes I wonder why I even bother.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breastfeeding & (BLACK) Feminism at the UNC

On Tuesday I found out my abstract was accepted for next year's Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposia at the University of North Carolina, It Takes A Village To Support A Nursing Mom and I'm pretty excited about it. I'd been asked by a couple of people if I heard anything back from the board members. I hadn't. But there was a good reason, of course -- they lost my submission. I knew something was up when I didn't hear anything from them -- AT ALL, on whether I was chosen or not, so I contacted the committee and eventually found out what happened. Oopsie. No big deal, though they were very apologetic and told me after some digging they located it and sent it off to the powers that be for consideration, and after a few days got back to me with the news.

I have to be honest that a 20 minute presentation station to talk about Black Feminism seems a bit slim. I'm thinking at least a good two or three hours would be more up my alley to possibly touch the tip of the ice *smile* but I guess I'll just have to make do. I'm totally kidding, btw. I don't like public speaking that much.

I'll be presenting on viewing breastfeeding advocacy through a Black Feminist framework, and offering ways to engage more community. I'm really glad about this whole thing and can't wait to get started planning.

I created this 'Chip In' to help offset the various charges associated with presenting, and that will allow me to continue this important work. Thank you in advance for any consideration.

New Books :: Breastfeeding + Anthropology + Black Feminist Anthropology (Video)

I got new books! Ones that feel like they have been on my wishlist for what seemed like forever and I finally got around to ordering them. What do they all have in common? They are written by anthropologists. There's not much out there in the way of breastfeeding texts from an anthropological perspective, so coming across these is awesome and rare. The Anthropology of Breastfeeding: Natural Law or Social Construct discusses the deeper issues behind breastfeeding, and since the text is still en route to my house via USPS, here's what Amazon.com says about it:
'On the whole, the debates surrounding the issues of breast-feeding - often reflecting ethnographic and ill-informed medical and demographic approaches - have failed to treat the deeper issues. The significance of breast-feeding reaches far beyond its biological function; in fact, the authors of this volume argue, there is nothing `natural' about breast-feeding itself. On the contrary, attitudes and practices are socially determined, and breast-feeding has to be seen as an essential element in the cultural construction of sexuality. This volume offers an `ethnography' of breast-feeding by examining cultural norms and practices in a number of European and non-European societies, thus presenting valuable and often astonishing empirical material that is not otherwise readily available. The highly original focus of this volume therefore throws new light on gender and on social relationships in general.'
Next, I haven't had all that much exposure to Katherine Dettwyler's work. I do know she is from here in the U.S. and Breastfeeding Biocultural Perspectives is her second text -- that is co-edited, her first single-authored is on death and dying. I visited her website 'Thoughts On Breastfeeding' on a few occasions, and saw her in the documentary Breasts recently, but that's pretty much the extent. This book is about examining the biological process of breastfeeding along with the culturally determined behavior. The cover says this viewpoint 'has important implications for understanding the past, present, and future condition of our species', which can all happen through this custom. I'm excited to see what it has to offer.

Finally, Faye V. Harrison, PhD, a cultural (political) Black Feminist Anthropologist and professor at the University of Florida who focuses on the African Diaspora, human rights, critical race feminism and others. . .  . and her work changed my life.

When I was an undergrad I came across Dr. Harrison as I was preparing to enroll in an independent study course. I found myself at a point where I began to question the ethics of anthropology, and began to have doubts about the ideas of going off to a foreign land just to study people and produce scholarship in order to finish a dissertation and get a PhD, among various other concerns. I couldn't fully articulate my thoughts at that moment but it seemed exploitative and weighed heavily on me. At this same time I was also extremely lonely and discouraged and was yearning to find more Black women in the discipline; besides the few white women that had been elected the voice of 'women' in the field -- Margaret Mead, Eleanor Leacock, Sally Slocum, the mainstream theoretical perspectives taught in class are all made up of 'Dead white men on parade'. I came across Dr. Harrison's professional website and sent her a message and graciously she provided me with information, names of other Black women in the field and told me about her book Outsider Within: Reworking Anthropology in the Global Age that at the time of our correspondence was not so long ago published. It was through this text is where I discovered that anthropology can reach far beyond the mainstream white-centric and often imperialistic ideas of ethnography, note-taking, and promoting 'Otherization,' but it could radically transform, promote social equality and voice (especially vulnerable) communities. This is what I was looking for. And it opened up an entire new world. I ended up doing a presentation in the Anthropology Department, based on the information from this independent study and the theory from Outsider Within, along with another text I used for the course, Black Feminist Anthropology, to ask why, in a discipline that claims to largely debunk social stratification, do we continue to promote racist and gendered ideology, exclusivity and marginalization and why it's important to see the viewpoints of Black women anthropologists, and hear what we had to say then and what we continue to say now. I titled it Anthropological Theory! Where Are Our Sistahs? Were it not for Dr. Harrison's work, there is little doubt that I would not be here today promoting breastfeeding from the angle that I do. And more than likely, I probably wouldn't have even continued studying anthropology. Instead, I'm almost certain I would have dropped the discipline all together for disappointment and changed my major, but I once again fell in love with it since it was now in alignment with my personal and professional beliefs.

Resisting Racism And Xenophobia is edited by Dr. Harrison, and is a 'collection of essays [that] focuses on the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, class, and nationality that exert a huge influence on human rights conflicts around the world.' Though it does not explicitly discuss breastfeeding or birth, racism and xenophobia underscore disparities, and must become central to the conversation. I'm thrilled I finally own a copy.

I found this video with Dr. Harrison that is from a recent talk she gave at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In it, she discusses The Cultural Politics of Race in the New Millennium. Listen carefully.


Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Word(less words) Wednesday: A Giveaway! (Closed)

If you follow me on Twitter, then you'll know that a few weeks ago I said because I'm insanely busy right now (I'll let on to what's happening soon enough:)) I wasn't going to post anymore until sometime next month -- late next month -- maybe even early next year. Ya.... about that.

The bumper sticker below is the latest addition to the Lactation Journey's Anti 'Breast Is Best' Shop. I was inspired to create this after a recent talk I heard on racism and the importance of naming exactly what it is we're challenging. It is also a way to continue to move past the superficial and idealistic views on breastfeeding and create dialogue centered around that which underpins disparities -- in order to work towards equity. I thought one of you might like to join in or continue this conversation by rocking a free bumper sticker.


Leave a comment on this post by next Tuesday and it will count as your entry. All names will be entered with a winner selected at random via random.org, and announced in next week's blog post. Leave your email address with your comment: yourname (at) emailserver {dot} com, net, etc. Winner must respond within 24 hours, or another will be selected. This giveaway is open to U.S and international participants. 

If you appreciate giveaways on the Lactation Journey Blog, please consider donating $1.00 USD, in order to help me offset the shipping & handling charges I incur to bring these to you. Thank you in advance for any consideration.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Why don't babies transnationally continue to breastfeed while under Obama's watch? #Election2012












Because they're dead. 


'Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.' Ghandi

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The white privilege epiphany, the trend of anti-racism and the reality of mutated oppression


There's someone out there who can help me articulate what I mean when I talk about anti-racist work being a trend, because I don't have the word or words for it. And I'm almost positive that some scholar has already written about the topic that I've yet to see -- but since I don't have access to my personal library right now and I'm behind on my reading, I'll have to explain what I mean. I'm perfectly willing to admit that my antenna is raised around the issue because of my perceived skepticism -- or whatever that word is I just learned from watching a video by a local psychologist who does antiracist work here in Seattle. It means I'm suspicious.

Let me tell you what I'm getting at.

For me, most noticeable in learning the history of oppression directed towards communities of color, and especially in the direction Black people, is that the so-called 'post-racial' society we live in today is nothing more than a reflection of hundreds of years of domination that dons a veneer of equality, yet the foundation remains rooted in racist ideology. It just looks different. I recently revisited Black Sexual Politics -- a text by Patricia Hill Collins because I wanted to see if she could help me understand and then explain what I had been thinking about. In it, she discusses one of the ways racism continues to maintain its forces, all while appearing to have disappeared. Dr. Collins discusses the global quest for dominance and the continued disadvantages of groups. My emphasis is on restructuring the racial hierarchy, as Dr. Collins explains in her chapter 'The Past is Ever-Present: Recognizing The New Racism':
It is important to note that the new racism of the early twenty-first century has not replaced prior forms of racial rule, but instead incorporated elements of past racial formations. As a result, ideas about race, gender, sexuality and Black people as well as the social practices that these ideas shape and reflect remain intricately part of the new racism. The new racism thus reflects a situation of permanence and change (Page 43-44).
One example Dr. Collins uses to describe the new racism is via the film industry. She says that even though our society has progressed and Black people are now 'allowed' in various so-called desegregated spaces like films, rarely are they prominent figures. This dynamic not only further marginalizes Black bodies, but it perfectly maintains the dominating forces of whiteness. I recently discussed something along these lines in a brief post regarding the maternal-infant Mammy, and my experience being at an institution that appeared to be inclusive and encompassing -- de-segregated on the surface, but to me was simply a breeding ground for the production of white-centric birth and breastfeeding practices.

I've come across more and more white people these days who are talking about the recent revelation of their whiteness -- that their entire lives they had no clue that strategic methods have been built and maintained with them in mind. Many, usually through taking courses at school, appear to have just learned that for no other reason than their skin color, they are afforded access and advantages in a society that values people who look like them. What I've noticed is that often times these manifestations come with a desire to put a hand in 'fixing' things by 'helping out'. I will be the first to admire anyone who works at creating change in this world, and I also understand the importance of allies in anti-racist work -- or in many other areas, but to me the larger picture just looks like something else.

The other night I was online looking for articles to share with the anti-racism breastfeeding committee I joined a few months ago. I was in search of articles on the topic not only because I wanted to see what was out there but I also wanted to know just who was writing, and exactly how they expressed their desire to end racism -- and what new ideas I could find. Unfortunately, when it comes to breastfeeding and racism there isn't much. I did, however, come across a few birth articles on the topic, and what stuck out to me the most were the ones on antiracism and anti-oppressive work in these practices. What caught my attention from the few individual and group organizations who appear to be working towards a 'liberatory culture' were on gathering funds to send women of color to midwifery school, or the coalition here in town staffed with white people who focus on supporting people of color and on informing other white people how they benefit from whiteness. They even go so far as to tell their members to shop at certain locations in order to help keep the doors of Black-owned businesses open. I have also begun to see these ideas in both personal and structural spaces that speak to other whites that their advantage can be used in order to give people of color a 'hand up'. It sounds admirable, I guess. Except for I have yet to see any real substantiative critique of the underlying structure that strengthens the framework of these issues -- how are these anti-racists working to end a system that values their whiteness?

I'm not accusing anyone's sincerity. I'm not saying people don't have good intentions, and I'm not calling anyone racist. What I am saying, however, is the issue is much larger than someone you or I know, and that even historically though many white abolitionists spoke ardently against the institution of slavery, had no interest in finding ways to garner true social equity for those enslaved, more than they did at working towards the greater attempt at preserving their own moral consciousness -- or, as one of my former (white) professors put it "They just wanted to remove the stain from their soul." And it appeared progressive. But this type of 'help' only worked at fortifying the ill practices and legal segregation which emerged in the subsequent years after abolition. It did nothing to change the foundation.

Because I want to examine more closely what lies below the surface and engage in more dialogue in order to find ways to challenge oppressive behavior that continuously mutates between generations, I'm calling on more critical thought from birth and breastfeeding advocates, anti-racist and anti-oppression activists. I'm concerned that the current structure of antiracist work serves as nothing more than a gateway for this cycle of dominance to continue. Without remaining aware and criticizing the structure that supports this ideology that values whiteness in society, anti-racist work is moot, and is indeed just another reflection of our current times, where just like Patricia Hill Collins' example of mutated racism, the more things seem to change -- the more they will only remain the same. 

Please share your thoughts.

I just became a member of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing



I just became a member of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC)! ICTC was founded by Shafia Monroe, and is a 'infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion, midwife and doula training non-profit organization,' that aims to increase the amount of midwives of color, and is based in nearby Portland, OR.

Lately, I have been interested in learning more about birth practices among women of color. I believe my desire to examine this area comes from an eagerness to go deeper with breastfeeding advocacy, and to increase my knowledge by exploring the social, cultural and political links that support barriers that exist in birth and breastfeeding traditions. I'm really interested in learning more about Black lay midwifery, and have already been adding 'must read' texts to my wishlist. Some of those can be seen here. I think this is a start to beginning that search.

Even though becoming a member of ICTC is not required, because I really value their outlook and mission, and because they're close enough for me to travel to, this is also where I have decided to pursue the Full Circle Doula Training to become a postpartum doula --  I am hoping to sign up for December's course. I'm happy to be more connected with this organization and community of people who emphasize decreasing the maternal and infant mortality rate by increasing the breastfeeding and birth rates among Black women. And I'm happy I'm one step closer to becoming a doula.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The impact of institutional racism, power and white privilege on breastfeeding rates and maternal-infant health

We have finished the 'Call For Proposals' for next year's BIG, Bad BREASTFEEDING Summit addressing institutional racism, power and white privilege in breastfeeding and maternal-infant health, and I am more excited about this than you know. I'm glad to see this important topic make headway instead of being situated as a side note. Please understand that this venue is open to all interested participants -- professional and non-professional breastfeeding advocates, social justice and anti-racist activists, healthcare workers, community organizers and anyone interested in finding ways to enact critical social change and increase our breastfeeding rates. It would be good to see you. And better to hear you speak.




Paying it forward: The LjB gives back!

I am thrilled to share that just a few days back this blog made its very first donation! A little while ago, I opened the Lactation Journey Shop, an online store created not to try and make money, but in an effort to move away from the superficial and idealistic views on breastfeeding, and address the underlying issues at the foundation of disparities -- to give people something else to think about. You can read about it here. Over the past number of months, the LjB has generated a small amount of funds, largely from the sale of this merchandise -- and part of that was donated. The money went to a small Doula organization on the East Coast, that provides mostly free and other low-cost birth services to low-income and young women. They also offer breastfeeding awareness education classes to the community, as well as other workshops to aspiring and practicing doulas, in an effort to help lower the infant mortality rate and empower women on their birth and breastfeeding decisions.

It has always been very important to me to, when possible, be able to support projects that work towards a more just and equitable world. I'm so happy to be able to do this and look forward to more opportinities to 'pay it forward'. I also want to say thank you to anyone who has ever supported the work of this blog. I couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Word(less words) Wednesday: The modern maternal-infant care Mammy

I think this caught my eye because just the other day I read an article that dealt with students at a local school and it made me think of Mammy. This school, trying to gauge how the students felt about the current racial atmosphere and attempting to find ways to make the campus more inclusive, gathered information from students and from those responses they expressed that what they were learning was nothing more than how to care for white women. Even though the image below is even a mockery of  the archetype, whose historical depiction negated her life and circumstances, and she was made to appear that she was around to happily serve white women and their babies -- in my opinion this reflects much of what we see today. I wrote about my experience obtaining my CLE at this same institution, and how the course portrayed the entire breastfeeding experience  central to white women -- and didn't even provide information that would be relevant to the communities I want to serve -- why I'm even here. Yes, I did fill out the feedback form. Thankfully, from what I've recently read about the school, there appears to be a genuine effort, or at least a desire at restructuring the curriculum, making it more diverse, anti-racist and inclusive at all levels. But this is much larger than one midwifery school.

I know the structural framework surrounding maternal-infant care remains focused on white women's needs, outlook and desires, and just the same as I think about Mammy in this recent situation -- I can't imagine things any different in other spaces. I'm looking for more insight and dialogue on this, and to learn exactly how oppression and exclusion have been re-configured and mutated. How else are our current birthing schools creating Mammies that nullify our experiences and make it seem as if we happily ignore our lives and culture in order to cater to white women and their babies? Am I being too critical, or have times changed? 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Radical Breastfeeding Webinars Are Here!


I am so excited to announce that I am now hosting online webinars! Hosting an online conference-type meeting is something I have been wanting to do for some time now, in order to discuss things that are close to me and that I am very passionate about, and I have finally been able to carve out space and time to continue my passion.

What is the content?: If you've kept up with this blog, then you will know that I don't really operate around breastfeeding mechanics. Even though at one point I was on my way to becoming a Certified Lactation Consultant, and you can find a few things around here geared towards breastfeeding basics -- like latching a baby and a couple of other tips, the practical or mechanical aspects are not really my focus. Instead, I emphasize the social and political aspects -- from a critical, holistic and anti-racist perspective, and tend to keep away from ideas like 'Breast Is Best', etc., since I believe in looking deeper at things I believe are at the backdrop of disparities.

Your cup of tea?: If you are reading this post and have been following this blog then you are interested in Black breastfeeding -- and you are also probably interested in finding ways to combat inequality, racism and other social factors.

The overall goal is to provide new insight and create new ways to raise our consciousness about issues that are often overlooked, and find new ways to challenge these. It is also my hope that this arena will serve as a space to learn from others about their experiences and their traditional knowledge, which will work to increase our understanding of each other, and inevitably our rates.

Presentations: Unless I state otherwise, these will be 90 minutes each, and 30 minutes of that will be dedicated to questions and interaction.

More info: I created a new Webinars page at the top of this blog, which I really encourage you to visit in order to stay up to date on topics, current schedules, further reading, times, etc. Through the link, you are also able to register and pay for your virtual seat on that page.

Current Webinar

Title: Examining 'non-traditional' approaches to increasing Black breastfeeding support.

Price: 35.00

Register: Here

Date: Because I believe in the importance of this topic, I will be hosting this session once per month beginning on January 10, 2013 and lasting until June 10, 2013. You can choose which session you'd like to attend, but recognize that even though you may be thinking about participating at a later date, anyone can sign up at any time and space is limited. Make sure you register as soon as you can to reserve your virtual seat.

Description:The history of Black and African American women in the United States is unique and complex. More than any other, the health and social disparities continue to be weighted heaviest against this group, as we continue to suffer the greatest inequity in breastfeeding rates. Nominal attention is given to those within the close-knit circle to support this dyad, but the overarching messages continues to emphasize this feeding tradition remain central to the mother-infant dyad. This model inadvertently creates barriers and hinders changes that can take place at various social, cultural and political levels.

For this reason, it is necessary to take a holistic look, and examine the areas outside of what many view as the normal representation of infant feeding, that will allow for a greater understanding as well as new ideas, perspectives and levels of involvement, which can increase our overall participation and inevitably our outcomes.

This explores the exclusivity of breastfeeding and I will, through a historical and contemporary context, provide information on how and why we need to expand support given the unique and complex history of Black women in the U.S. We will discuss everything from slavery to misrepresentation to anti-racism and white privilege, body image, and various other topics. This is an expansion of my presentation at the recent ROSE Breastfeeding Summit in Atlanta, GA, titled Occupy The Bridge: Looking Past Protagonists, and Re-Working the Center.

I really hope to see you.