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Black Women Do Breastfeed: Yaya Alafia Posts Breastfeeding Pic on Instagram

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After the unbelievable social media dust up over NFL linebacker, Philip Wheeler’s girlfriend, Ashley Nicole posting a breastfeeding picture on Instagram, new mom Yaya DaCosta Alafia decided to post her own pics in solidarity. She wrote:

I know i’m mad late, but i haven’t been on the computer much lately. just heard about the uproar over @ash3nicole pic & had to post a copycat photo in solidarity. hope you don’t mind, beautiful sistren. i’m so proud of you and stand by you! #breastisbest#whattheyaremadefor #getoverit #mamasunite#movement. 

The 31-year-old new mom, actress and former Next Top Model runner-up gave birth to her first child, son Sakara, with husband Josh Alafia, on September 12.

We support you Yaya and Ashley!!

As we work to normalize breastfeeding in our community, we know that celebrity role models matter. So do everyday, around-the-way role models. That’s why we love to feature both on this site.

To help shift the tide for improved health outcomes for our infants and to give more black mothers the preventative health benefits of breastfeeding, including a proven reduced risk of certain cancers, we need more mothers and all mothers to share positive and supportive messages about breastfeeding.  Join in !!

Check out Yaya on Instagram.

 

 

 

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ManDay! Chris Rock to Single Moms: Stop Driving A Car With Your Feet

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I admit, Chris Rock is one of my favorite comedians. In one of his ROFL performances he talks candidly (how else would he do?) about parenting and women who think it is just fine to raise their children without the father. Here is the cleaned up version of his comments, to the best of my ability: “A bunch of girls think that you don’t need a man to raise no child. Shut up! (expletive expletive) …Yeah, you can do it without a man, but it don’t mean it’s to be done. You can drive a car with your feet if you want to, it don’t mean it’s a good (expletive) idea!”

I couldn’t agree more. Not everything that can be done, should be done. Here’s a better idea: For us to end the cycle of poor health, poverty,  under achievement in schools and irreparable emotional scars on our young boys and girls,  we need to end the dangerous narrative in our community that we don’t need our men and that our children will be just fine without their fathers. This is a lie.

Men are critically important to infant health and childhood development.  Women need the support of their male partner to give their babies the optimal nutrition from birth–breast milk. Children need their fathers from infancy, point blank.

But let’s face it from the baby showers to so-called family supportive posters with no dad to be found, men often get pushed out of the picture.  Add to this an “I got this” mentality among black women and a dangerous thinking in our community that glorifies the single moms that do it all without a father and you’ve got the makings of a serious problem–one that can impact the health outcomes for black infants.

A while ago, I (jokingly) wrote that I feared Essence magazine might cancel my subscription or ban me from the office building (I’m a former senior editor) for saying something that may sound harsh on black women but needed to be said. It was this (no joking): Black women may be unknowingly contributing to the breakdown of the black family by continuing a cultural legacy of acting like we don’t need our men.  Saying, “forget him” or that we will be just fine. This is dangerous thinking on our part (read my full post here). Yes there was a time during slavery when we couldn’t count on our men as caregivers and providers because they could be taken away from the family at any given time.  Later many of our men went North for work and women had to run the family on their own. But those days are over. But ideas that our men are unreliable and unnecessary linger like a painful scar–and our children pay the price.

Last week I was in San Antonio at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation‘s First Food Forum, an annual gathering of breastfeeding-related grantees. I had the pleasure of moderating a dynamic panel discussion on the role of male caregivers with some amazing men involved with male engagement in various ways. Here’s what I learned:

We have to stop assuming absent or distant dad’s just don’t care and allow that feelings of inadequacy (men are told to provide and protect.  If he can’t do that he may feel be has nothing to offer and just stay away), his own fears or perhaps the mothers attitude may also play a part.

A few weeks ago, I attended the screening of a documentary called Spit’in Anger, produced by the non-profit, Father’s Incorporated. The powerful film chronicles the impact of absent or distant fathers on the lives of several men of different ages. The story included the journey of Kenneth Braswell himself, the founder and executive director of Fathers Incorporated, who has spent over 23 years advocating for fathers and creating father support programs but never dealt with the impact of his own absent father .  Too many black men have grown up without present fathers and have never had a safe space to express that pain –many men at the screening opened up that night (read Kenneth’s recent letter to LeBron James). It was a powerful evening. But it became very clear to me that when it comes to fatherhood, men can be what they didn’t see.  And, more to the point, “Hurt people hurt people.”

So we need to create space for understanding black men beyond “he ain’t isht” judgments and valuing their contribution only in dollar amounts.

We have to stop saying our men “don’t care” when that is our assessment not their actual words. When I work with young moms and they say the father “doesn’t care” I always ask ‘what makes you feel that way?’  A  young mother of a two-month old in Milwaukee told me, the father showed up at the birth and that was it.  I shared that showing up at the birth sounds like someone who cares to me. After we talked she realized that after he showed up at the hospital nobody in her family spoke to him. Some members were very rude and that he might have felt pushed away.

And my good friend Kuroji Patrick, a devoted father of five and a powerful advocate for male caregivers particularly as it relates to breastfeeding support, always talks about being ignored or not addressed by doctors and nurses while actually standing next to his wife. By and large negative stereotypes about our black men affect doctors, nurses, lactation consultants and other healthcare professionals.  This has to stop.

As women we have to stop confusing our relationship with the father with the child’s relationship with the father.  Those are two separate things.  As a divorced mother, I learned this lesson myself. One has nothing to do with the other.  Neither does child support.  Whether or not my ex-husband had given me a dime has never come in between my children spending time with their father.  My children being with their dad is priceless to them (and me) and I could never equate that to money or material things.

We need a new way of being and a new mantra for the sake of our babies. It goes like this: We need our men. We need our men.  Our children need their fathers.  Breastfeeding mothers need their men.

And until we have tried everything, put aside our baggage, asked ourselves the tough questions, let go of our judgment, and opened up every opportunity for our child’s father to be in that child’s life–that we are not driving cars with our feet anymore.

In motherhood,

Kimberly Seals Allers

 

Kimberly is a Food and Community Fellow with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation increasing awareness of the first food–breast milk.  
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Poppin Bottles

A Must See: Watch This Hilarious “Poppin Bottles” Video!

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“Poppin Bottles” Video

(No, It’s Not What You Think)

 

There comes a time in every new parents  life where they realize their life will never be the same! Check out this hilarious Youtube video, “Poppin Bottles”  and enjoy the new way to celebrate parenthood…it’s a party like no other! Trust us, you will be up all night:-)

Special thanks to Ron “R.S.” Stephenson and his cute little co-star for sending us this video!

Follow Ron on social media to enjoy and share more funny videos here:

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Double Leche

#BreastfeedingIsFunny: Why Breastfeeding Makes Me Laugh

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 As National Breastfeeding Month is coming to a conclusion, our Kimberly Seals Allers encourages moms and dads to discuss the lighter and funny side of breastfeeding. We’re proud to work with the creators of a new, humorous webisode, Double Leche , for our first #BreastfeedingGotJokes social media campaign. Watch the hilarious Double Leche Trailer on Youtube and join in on the conversation all day today on Twitter and Facebook beginning at noon! Tell @iamKSealsAllers and @Double_Leche  your funny #breastfeeding stories using the hashtags #Breastfeedingisfunny, #BreastfeedingGotJokes and #bfisfunny. Looking forward to hearing from you!

#Breastfeedingisfunny: Why Breastfeeding Makes Me Laugh

by Stephanie Faith Scott and Jennifer Weedon

When I became a mom, I couldn’t believe all of the discussion around nursing. I had always anticipated a natural, simple, universal experience, the way humans had fed their young since the beginning of time. Yet, it made some people uncomfortable (myself sometimes included).  The momosphere was humming with blogs on the mommy nursing wars.

Double Leche  is the brainchild of me, Jennifer Weedon, and J. Sibley Law. We were all involved in the film business prior to becoming parents. We spoke about how the three of us all had one thing in common. After the birth of our children changed our lives, we found it more important than ever to keep our senses of humor. Parenting is the toughest job we will ever have and  the one with the most impact! In order to keep one’s sanity in the midst of the hard work and discipline it takes to be a good parent, we must keep laughing. Double Leche  is our attempt at that.

Double Leche  is an official selection in the comedy category for the 8th Annual Independent Television and Film Festival, taking place September 26th - September 28th, 2013.  For more information, go to www.itvfest.com.  You can also watch the Double Leche trailer.

Why Breastfeeding Makes Me Laugh

1)There will always be a moment where some stranger, somewhere, will see your boob in an exposure accident.  It is better just to accept this fact. Ladies, someone out there is going to see it, just can’t control when or where it will happen.  Buy a pretty nursing bra from Linda the Bra Lady and just deal with it.

2) Dad, father-in-law, step-dad, grandpa…..yeah, you get the picture.  Having to nurse in the presence of these dad types can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you have nowhere to excuse yourself.  Like that first time they visit you in the hospital after your birth.  Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and way too exhausted to think yourself out of that one while holding your newborn.

3) Got to love the required lactation rooms provided by your employer.  They certainly get creative.  Everything from tiny closets to a private room full of cubicles with pumping women with magazines and hand sanitizer for those larger organizations.  How about that unused office?  Always get a chuckle when “kiss-ass Charlie” just can’t get that promotion and the bigger office.  Now he’ll never get thatoffice.  Thank you Department of Labor (sorry, Charlie).

4) There is always a husband or significant other out there who wants to taste the breast milk.  Please just humor him.  Then take him to get some Breast Milk Ice Cream.

5) Breastfeeding causes jealousy.  I laugh at how different we all are and the incredible pressures we put on ourselves to be perfect mothers.  You may have it all planned out during your pregnancy exactly how your breastfeeding experience will go, and read tons of breastfeeding books.  However, for some of us, the reality of it is not as simple as the books say.  Life is unpredictable, and sometimes things can get in the way of your plans.  We’re not always prepared for the unexpected.

Our web series, Double Leche , explores the funny and awkward moments of breast feeding.  Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoubleLeche and follow us on Twitter @Double_Leche.

Bios of the “Double Leche” team:

Jennifer Weedon Palazzo is a mom and SAG-AFTRA actress who has appeared in films The Height of the Sky, A Beautiful Mind, commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Spice, and theater Under Milk Wood. Jennifer blogs for ParentSavers.com and DigitalChickTV.com. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, actor and pianist Evan Palazzo of The Hot Sardines, and their son. She is the producer/writer of the web series, Double Leche andSlummy Mummy. Visit www.jenniferweedon.com or follow her on Twitter: @Slummy_Mummy

Stephanie Faith Scott is an actress, producer, grants administrator extraordinaire, and mother.  She is the star and creator of the web series, The Retributioners, and was one of the very early creators of web programming starting in 2007.  She also co-produced the short film That’s What She Told Me, which was an official selection in several film festivals.  As an actress, she been in such films as The Video Guys, S&M Queen for a Day, and Plus.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two-year old son. You can follow her on Twitter at @retributioners.

Valisa Tate was born in Kalamazoo, MI where she studied the arts and excelled in sports. While attending Michigan State University, she earned a B.A. in Advertising and began modeling. She continued her studies with an emphasis in Art Direction and Graphic Design at Portfolio Center in Atlanta. Shortly after graduating,Valisa moved to New York City towork as an Art Director. After a long spell of creating ads, she decided she wanted to be in them. She broadened her career and currently works as an Art Director, Model, Actress and Stunt Woman… a quadruple threat of sorts. Valisalives in Brooklyn with her husband and is the mother of two girls which is the hardest job of all. To learn more about Valisa, visit: www.valisatate.com or www.valisatatedesign.com/.

J. Sibley Law, Founder and CEO of Saxon Mills, is the creator of a twenty online television series ranging from cooking shows to animation series to political spoofs to comedy series. One of the first YouTube Partners (ever), he is extraordinarily prolific in both his creative and business ventures. An Official Honoree of the Webby Awards, he regularly creates commercials for broadcast. Additionally, he co-founded the NYC Web Series Writers Group for the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV).  He is a co-founder of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (CT) and was its executive producer from 2005-2010. Follow J. Sibley on Twitter at @moonbath.

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Venezuela

Venezuela Promotes Breastfeeding Over Baby Food

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Venezuela Promotes Breastfeeding Over Baby Food,

Corporate Media Spins Out of Control

 

Venezuela’s national assembly is debating a reform to its breastfeeding law, which could see baby food companies like Nestle fined in certain situations. The corporate media have reacted hysterically to the law, claiming that President Nicolas Maduro is “taking bottles from babies’ mouths”.

Though breastfeeding is widely promoted by the Venezuelan government, and public breastfeeding is relatively de-stigmatized, a study by Venezuela’s National Nutrition Institute (INN) between 2006 and 2008 showed that only 55% of mothers exclusively breastfed when their baby was born, going down to 20% when their baby was three months old, and 11% by six months.

The percentages have probably increased since then, with broad educational campaigns in public schools and health centers, and actions such as mass public breastfeeding in plazas, organized by the INN.

However, the low figures reflect the low confidence some mothers have in their ability to breastfeed, as well as the power of multinational infant formula companies in health centers. It is common practice to give infant formula to babies from the moment they are born, without the consent of parents, according to LactArte, a pro-breastfeeding collective in Venezuela. Companies give gifts and other promotions to health workers and health centers in order to create alliances with them, and give free samples of the products to new mothers, thereby creating dependent consumers of new born babies, or at least discouraging exclusive breast feeding.

What the law actually says

In 2007 Venezuela’s national assembly passed the Law of Protection, Promotion, and Support for Breastfeeding. The law regulates the way baby formula and baby food companies advertise and label their products, and how they interact with hospitals and clinics. However, the companies have been ignoring the law, as it doesn’t specify penalties. The reform to the law currently being discussed is looking at penalties of US $600 – $50,000, and also training for health professionals. Once the reform is passed in first discussion by the assembly, it will be subject to “street parliament” – discussion by collectives and Venezuelan citizens, to then be passed by the national assembly in second discussion.

The 2007 law argues that breastfeeding provides babies with “all the necessary nutrients” in their first six months, as well as “protecting them and immunizing them from illness and contributing to the development of their breathing and gastrointestinal capacity”. It states “mothers have the right to breastfeed their children, with the support and collaboration of the fathers… [who] should provide all the support necessary so that mothers can provide this human right… The state, with participation from organized communities, will promote, protect, and support exclusive breastfeeding…of children under six months of age and breastfeeding with complementary food … until the age of two”.

Concretely under the law, health workers and health centers must help mothers start breastfeeding within the first half hour of birth, and guarantee that the newborn is always near the mother after birth, except in exceptional medical situations. They should also educate mothers, fathers, and the family on the issue, and abstain from providing babies under the age of 6 months with food other than breast milk, except when there is a specific medical need. Health centers must create human milk “banks.”

Breastfeeding rights in Venezuela

Last year, with the passing of the new labor law, women’s breastfeeding rights were further expanded. Post-natal leave was extended to six months, and articles 344-352 state that mothers have the right to two half hour breaks per day to breastfeed. If there is no breastfeeding room provided by the work place, that is extended to two 90-minute breaks, and all employers of more than 20 workers must maintain a nursery center with a breastfeeding area.

Special thanks to Tamara Pearson of  Venezuelanalysis for providing us with this information.

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Tips & Resources

BBW Turned up

Nationally Recognized Advocates Launch First Annual Black Breastfeeding Week, August 25-31, 2013

  Nationally Recognized Advocates Launch First Annual Black Breastfeeding Week, August 25-31, 2013  NEW YORK— August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and a group of nationally recognized breastfeeding advocates have declared August 25- 31, 2013 as Black Breastfeeding Week, marking the inaugural celebration of black life with a community forum in Detroit, a live interactive webinar via [...]

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Double Leche

#BreastfeedingIsFunny: Why Breastfeeding Makes Me Laugh

     As National Breastfeeding Month is coming to a conclusion, our Kimberly Seals Allers encourages moms and dads to discuss the lighter and funny side of breastfeeding. We’re proud to work with the creators of a new, humorous webisode, Double Leche , for our first #BreastfeedingGotJokes social media campaign. Watch the hilarious Double Leche Trailer on [...]

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Breastfeeding and Drugs

Taking Care Of Your Health Doesn’t Mean You Have To Stop Breastfeeding

  Breastfeeding on Drugs: Taking care of your health doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding By Kate Rope  Two months after my first daughter was born, I developed debilitating inflammation around my heart. I had suffered from it during pregnancy and now it was back. I called my rheumatologist in a panic to ask [...]

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Venezuela

Venezuela Promotes Breastfeeding Over Baby Food

  Venezuela Promotes Breastfeeding Over Baby Food, Corporate Media Spins Out of Control   Venezuela’s national assembly is debating a reform to its breastfeeding law, which could see baby food companies like Nestle fined in certain situations. The corporate media have reacted hysterically to the law, claiming that President Nicolas Maduro is “taking bottles from [...]

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Affordable Care Open Enrollment Begins October 1, 2013 Are You Ready?

The Affordable Care Act Enrollment Begins on Oct 1, 2013 Are You Ready? New Website and 24/7 Call Center Answers Questions & Takes Applications The Obama administration kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help Americans prepare for open enrollment and [...]

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Issues & Perspectives

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What’s Missing From Earth Day Celebrations? More Talk of Breastfeeding

Today, as over one billion people in over 192 countries celebrate Earth Day and everyone is thinking about ways to be more environmentally conscious. But few things are more “green” than breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is often framed as a personal decision, but it is most definitely also a planetary one. Breastmilk is one of very few [...]

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chris-rock-tweet

ManDay! Chris Rock to Single Moms: Stop Driving A Car With Your Feet

I admit, Chris Rock is one of my favorite comedians. In one of his ROFL performances he talks candidly (how else would he do?) about parenting and women who think it is just fine to raise their children without the father. Here is the cleaned up version of his comments, to the best of my [...]

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Church

What Black Churches Can Learn from the Pope

I hope I don’t get banned from the next TD Jakes movie for saying this but I think black churches can learn a thing or two from the Pope. Not in a theological ideology kind of way, but a few weeks ago Pope Francis did something extremely powerful for the health of all infants in [...]

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BBW Fist Bump

Dear White Women: Top 5 Reasons Why We Need a Black Breastfeeding Week

The news had not been posted for two hours before the brouhaha began on Facebook. Yesterday, myself and two of my comrades in the movement to shift breastfeeding culture in the black community, officially announced August 25-31st—the last week of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month—as Black Breastfeeding Week. About two weeks ago, I wrote a piece [...]

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BBW Turned up

Nationally Recognized Advocates Launch First Annual Black Breastfeeding Week, August 25-31, 2013

  Nationally Recognized Advocates Launch First Annual Black Breastfeeding Week, August 25-31, 2013  NEW YORK— August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month and a group of nationally recognized breastfeeding advocates have declared August 25- 31, 2013 as Black Breastfeeding Week, marking the inaugural celebration of black life with a community forum in Detroit, a live interactive webinar via [...]

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Stats & Studies

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African American Teen Births Drop 24%, Hispanics 34%, Says New CDC Report

According to a new CDC report released this week, the rates of teen births fell 24% among non-Hispanic black teenagers, 34% for Hispanics and 20% for non-Hispanic white teenagers. The decline among Hispanic teen births is most noteworthy since they previously had the highest teen birth rates. Eight states had declines of 30% or more [...]

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breast_cancer

PLANNED PARENTHOOD URGES WOMEN UNDER 40 TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR BREAST HEALTH

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, is encouraging women under 40 to take control of their breast health during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “Early detection saves lives,” said Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Women under 40 too often aren’t aware of [...]

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breastcancer

Prevention is Power: Protecting yourself and your community from Breast Cancer

As we all know October is the dedicated month for breast cancer awareness, but obviously it’s more than just pink ribbons and annual walks. More women (and men) are taking the initiative to obtain more education about the increasingly dangerous disease that openly effects our families, friends and communities on a daily basis. People are [...]

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Courtesy of tbrelearning.org

IS ELECTRONIC MEDIA MAKING SMARTER BABIES?

    We live in an increasingly technological world, in which seemingly every person of every age is constantly using an iPad or smartphone, not to mention television or a personal computer.   Even grade school kids are connected to every form of device available and there is a huge variety of media at their disposal [...]

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cute-black-baby-boy-440x586

Autism On Rise in Black Community: 10 Tips for Parents Dealing with Autism

The Center for Disease Control released staggering statistics on autism last week that has parents around the country concerned: One in 88 children now have autism, up 23 percent in just the last two years. Learn 10 tips from autism experts on what you can do to help your child.

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