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Black Breastfeeding Resources: Online and Social Media

Black breastfeeding has gone social! Check out our round up of blogs, Facebook pages, and organizations thats support breastfeeding in our community. Please feel free to add to the list, so our mamas know where to find support!! Listed below are a few websites to help nursing black mothers with their breastfeeding journey: Free To [...]

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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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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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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

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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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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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Nominate your favorite mom for a chance to win!

My Kid-Free Summer Kicks Off At The Residence Inn by Marriott

 

My Kid-Free Summer

Kicks Off At The Residence Inn

by Marriott

By Kimberly Seals Allers

Every year since my divorce, my summer ritual includes packing up my children, going to the airport and putting them on an international flight to London, England where they spend the summers with their Dad, the “wasband.”

This is never easy. But after a few anxious hours until I know they have safely landed and have been picked up, followed by a few transitional days of mixed emotions, I’ve learned to ease into my kid-free summer.

Usually, in preparation, I outline my work, personal and home projects that I want to take on. This year, my plan was to dive in head first into the edits for my upcoming book, prepare for speaking engagements, strategize next steps for my First Food Friendly movement based on a new way to think about supporting moms and their infant feeding choices–BIG PLANS!!

But this year, instead of getting into being distracted by work, I did something else first. I got away…

I escaped to a Residence Inn by Marriott within driving distance, for a three-day mommy retreat. Of course, my house is empty, why do you need a retreat, you may ask?  Well, sometimes the emptiness and the extreme quiet reminds me of the reasons why my house is empty and extremely quiet and that can sometimes spark emotions that are counterproductive to getting things done; especially creative things that need your full mental game.

With my Kid Free Summer Kick Off GetawayI got to enjoy the pleasures of a one-bedroom suite, the wonderful breakfast (I can still taste the waffles), the indoor pool and hot tub, while having the option to make a snack or cook a meal in my fully equipped kitchen. It was just what the doctor (Dr. Phil, I suppose) ordered.

A few days away at the Residence Inn gave me ample space to work, a big bed to lay in, a living room area for a change of scenery (when said bed was tired of me) and then a late night swim and hot tub soak–things I could never get at home (especially the ready-made breakfast that I didn’t have to prepare!) Oh, and I started my day in their great fitness room. Score!

It was such a great kick off for my kid free summer, I came home energized– excited about the strategic planning I had done, and the book pages I had written, and all the sausages I ate at the free breakfast!

I guess next time; I should go WITH the children. Until then, I’m grateful to have been a part of the Resident Mom Club and the opportunity to turn a usually difficult transition period into a great Mom getaway!

We’re giving away a $250 Residence Inn by Marriott gift card to an Amaz-INN Resident Mom! Nominate your favorite mom to win. Tell us on Twitter or Facebook in 150 characters or less why this mom is so Amaz-INN and deserving of a Residence Inn gift card. You must LIKE our Facebook page (if you haven’t already done so), and be a follower of @MochaManual and @IamKSealsAllers on Twitter to make a nomination. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #AmazINNMom & #RIMoms

Speical thanks to the Residence Inn by Marriott  for this Amaz-Inn treat!

Our giveaway ends July 29, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.

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Trayvon Martin

Why Trayvon Martin Has Everything To Do With Black Women’s Birth Outcomes

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Why Trayvon Martin Has Everything To Do With Black Women’s Birth Outcomes

 

By Kimberly Seals Allers 

For years I’ve been talking about all the research that shows that stress is a key cause of the ongoing poor birth outcomes of black women. Often, I get pushback and confusion. But the truth is, black women, regardless of socio-economic status, are still twice as likely to have a low birth weight baby, three times more likely to die during childbirth, and twice as likely to have a pre-term baby.

 

The fact that more African American babies are born too small, too sick or too soon is a key factor in our three times higher infant mortality rate–and my key motivation for getting in to breastfeeding advocacy work. These infants are the ones who need the nutritive and immunological benefits only found in breast milk the most–for them, it can literally mean their survival.

 

I have also received more than my fair share of *side eye* glances from people who ask me why black mothers need their own parenting destination, like the Mocha Manual I am often questioned as to how black mothers’ parenting experience is any different than a white mothers’ experience. 

 

To respond to Side eye point A regarding birth outcomes, I usually point to groundbreaking research, like that of Dr. Michael Lu on the life course perspective on birth outcomes. Watch the video above on how racism impacts pregnancy outcomes or Dr. Fleda Jackson’s many pieces of research at Emory University and for the Joint Center for Poltiical and Economic Studies

 

I share how Scientists know that stress on the mother causes her to produce stress hormones, which can adversely effect the development of a fetus’ hippocampus and amygdale, two areas of the brain associated both with the fight-or-flight response, memory formation and anxiety. And that prolonged stress in the mother decreases the sensitivity of those two areas of the brain to mediate its own stress response, which has been linked to, among other things, ADHD. Still, so many people don’t really get it. 

 

So I often share my personal story of how when I was first pregnant, I prayed to God for a girl–literally–because I was afraid that I was not capable of successfully raising a black male child in this society. I feared raising a black male child in this society. And that fear was a constant source of stress. That stress was probably rooted in growing up watching my own mother fear for the safety of my younger brother. I remember her constantly warning him to not wear baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts because police (especially in New York City) stereotype young black men with that type of clothing and often shoot first and ask questions later. 

 

I remember her sitting by the window or pacing the living room on nights when my brother was not home by curfew. 

I remember both my parents giving my brother the “talk”–not the sex talk–but the life-saving one on how to respond when you are inevitably stopped by the police for no reason but for DWB (driving while black).

And let me just say, that I grew up in a middle class section of Queens, in a private home, with two cars, and a mother who was at home until I was in middle school. 

Even still, these were her fears. And she knew that neither money nor education–my brother attended Hofstra University–would not protect him nor assuage her. 

 So somehow my mother’s fears became my fears. God answered my prayers and gave me a girl as my first child, but my son came four years later. 

 

And so like many mothers, and likely every Black mother, especially those with a young black male in their care, I shed tears last week over the verdict in the case over Trayvon Martin’s unnecessary death. 

 

 I cried because I know the world is full of George Zimmerman’s–people who assume our young men are “assholes” and up to no good even when they themselves have no good reason to think that. And that in a jury of so-called peers, my innocent yet dead child would be referred to as “that boy”–unworthy of being called by his name. The real possibility that a George Zimmerman could come in contact with my son, and possibly brutally end his life, continues to stress me. And haunt me. 

 

And so I hope that in the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, there lies proof of exactly the kind of unique stressors black mothers contend with. I hope the people who have questioned how stress could be connected with pre-term labor or low birth weight babies or challenged me as to why black mothers face issues so unique that they are deserving of their own online community, can see exactly what researchers mean.  These are not the worries you can Calgon-bath or Yankee-candle away. 

 

And I sincerely pray that both of these issues, questions and challenges can be silenced, once and for all, and forever laid to rest in peace right alongside Trayvon Martin’s 17-year old, bullet-shattered body.

 

In motherhood,

Kimberly  

 

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7 Tips For Managing Pregnancy & Work!

7 Tips For Managing Pregnancy & Work

 

7 Tips for Managing Pregnancy & Work

From morning sickness and more frequent bathroom runs to that pregnancy brain making it harder to get work done, we’ve got 7 tips for managing the workplace while pregnant. Don’t worry, we’ve got tips for coping with morning sickneness too!

  Always know where the nearest exits and  restrooms are:  Think like you’re on the airplane. You never know when a spontaneous vomiting spree may hit.  Being able to identify the nearest stairwell, supply closet, or vacant cubicle will be very helpful!

 Adjust your routine: As you now know, morning sickness can last all day! It’s hard to take a meeting, write a report, or train staff when you’re barfing your insides out. The first thing is to remember you can’t pop out of bed, run through the shower, and get to work anymore. In fact, rushing around in the morning can make you even queasier. You need more time to manage the morning sickness. Try waking up a little earlier to get your morning sickness rebuff routine down pat.

 Start identifying an ally:  This may be a good time to seek out an ally in the workplace, someone you can trust.  I mean really trust.  The last thing you want is for your boss to find out about your pregnancy through the grapevine.

Delegate and accept help:  This is a good time to start asking others for help. You don’t have to do it all. And if someone offers to answer your phone while you close your door to grab a power nap, accept.

 Find a place for a nap:  Whether it’s at your office, the company medical room, your car, or at home. At some point every pregnant girl needs a nap, even it’s for twenty minutes.

 Be gracious and offer trade-offs:  Some of your coworkers may feel that they are doing their fare share to cover for you, now that you’re tired, off ill, or missing work because of doctor appointments. Try to make amends by being extra thankful of their extra work and offering to help them out when you’re rested and have your energy back.

 Lighten up:  Don’t make an unrealistic schedule. You may have to cut back on your extracurricular involvement to carve out time for rest and de-stressing.

 Dig out your sense of humor:  It may be the only thing that saves you sometimes. Know that despite your best efforts to be professional, there’s still a strong chance one of your colleagues will inevitably walk into your office and find you face down, asleep on your desk, drooling all over your desk calendar!

 These tips are excerpted from Chapter 2 of The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy (Amistad/Harper Collins) by Kimberly Seals Allers (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0013MT99W/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1373322269&sr=8-1&pi=SL75)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Barbara L. Hanson

12 Foods To Help Boost Your Metabolsim: Including Delicious Dark Chocolate!

Photo Credit: Barbara L. Hanson

12 Foods To Help Boost Your Metabolism

Yay! Dark Chocolate Made The List!

 It’s Tasty Tuesday and two of our favorite moms, Tia Mowry-Hardict and Tamera Mowry-Housley share great food choices to help build your metabolism on their lifestyle site (tiaandtameraofficial.com)

 Ok so we’ve all been working hard to eat healthier and tone our bodies for the swimsuit season. What you might not know is there are foods that take care of some of some extra calories for you! Whether it’s foods that make your body work harder to digest, or that contain a particular compound that help lower your insulin or increase fat-burning, there are a handful of ingredients that can give your metabolism a jump start and make it easier for you to have a healthy weight and a healthy heart. Here are a list of 12 and how they help:

Green Tea
Switch up your morning coffee (or afternoon latte) for some delicious green tea to bring on some great health benefits. The caffeine combined with antioxidants called catechins are said to stimulate your nervous system and increase fat-burning.

Grapefruit
This low-sugar ball of deliciousness can help reduce insulin levels after eating a meal. That means your body processes food more quickly and you burn more calories and store less fat.

Broccoli
Broccoli, good for you? This one is no surprise. But you might not know that because broccoli contains calcium and vitamin C, the super duo can together help boost your metabolism.

Oats
These guys are rich in fiber, which means they need a lot of calories to break them down. Plus, like other whole grains, they keep insulin levels low after you eat, helping you burn even more calories!

Brown Rice
Speaking of other whole grains, brown rice is delicious and so good for you. It’s full of fiber, which means it’ll boost your metabolism, help you stay fuller longer, and help you lose weight. Choose brown rice and whole grains over white rice and white flour anytime!

Dark Chocolate
You might have heard that dark chocolate contains antioxidants, but did you know it can help you lose weight? Apparently people who eat chocolate have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which prompts the body to store fat. Next time you’re stressed and craving some chocolate, go for it!

Hot Peppers
Peppers like Cayenne, chili, jalepeno, and habanero contain capsaicin, which is an irritant and you’re probably familiar with the burning sensation they produce. The heat can boost your metabolism by up to 25% and can even increase your energy!

Beans
Because beans are full of soluble and insoluble fiber, they use more energy (aka calories) to break down and again, lower insulin levels after digestion. So says the University of Colorado that if you eat foods high in “resistant starch” you can increase your calorie-burning power up to 24% in a day!

Almonds
These nuts are high in fat, but the fat they contain is a good monosaturated fat. According to this study, these good fats can have a positive effect on insulin levels and also make people feel more full so they eat less overall.

Apples
Yes, the doctors knew what they were talking about with that “apple a day” thing. Because they’re full of fiber, they’ll help you stay full longer.

Ginger
I throw this one in my green juice because it has so many health benefits. Besides all the great things I mentioned in my earlier blog, the spiciness can decrease appetite, improve digestion, and boost your metabolism after eating!

Garlic
Another food I toss into my green juice! Garlic has the ability to break down fat, increasing the metabolism. It works by both lowering unhealthy fats in the blood (that lead to high cholesterol) and also by reducing fat in the body’s fat cells.

Photo credit: Barbara L. Hanson

 

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