breastfeeding

Postpartum Diaries: Get Over It!

Get over it!
Right away!
Or else you'll miss it right it front of you
Put the phone down
Turn the tv off

The baby is crying and the only way to soothe him is with you touch

Man that sucks that my hands weren't the first one to touch my baby's skin.

Get over it!
You're holding your baby now.
Your baby is home now.
That was yesterday.

So I make sure my hand is the first one you touch every opportunity I get.
Pass the baby, You're spoiling the baby
You hold the baby too much
You're still feeding the baby.
You're still giving the baby the boob.

GET OVER IT!
It's what I feel is best.
It's what eases my stress.
That anxiety of not being with my baby.
That uncertainty of what's in the formula can
It's a remedy to help me get over it.

Sensitivity
Informed consent
Believing im doing my best

Almost a year ago and I guess I can get over most of it cause now I have new old shit to worry me.

I have to get over it because there's a new hill ahead of me.

The clock will keep ticking and before you know it I have to protect my anxiety.

I have to ease the worry of having my black baby in this world that wants me to get over the hurts that are fresh cause there will always be the hurt from way before.

Get over it.
Get above it
Over stand
And make sure you stick to you plan.
I was just trying to stick to my birth plan.

My birth plan stopped at A cause we didn't believe in plan B
We wanted this glorious
We wanted this family
We need to be a family

I was just tryna stick to the plan, my birth plan that put precaution to the hurt from other women before
And still I got hurt

Get over it
Get above it
Over stand they never wanted to acknowledge it because you walked into their turf.

Get over it
Get above it
Over stand the next, well maybe there won't be a next time

Get over it
Get above it
Over stand you will be strong enough and the next time will be a better time on your turf.

Shaina Holmes is a proud breastfeeding mom who lives in Brooklyn, NY

Shaina Holmes is a proud breastfeeding mom who lives in Brooklyn, NY

All we need is One Tit, One hour: My experience of being robbed of the breast crawl Part II (obstetric violence)

Violence as a public health issue is a real thing. Young men being gunned down is a public health issue just as much as failure to inform a mother on the best way to prepare for birth, both result in the mortality of, particularly, black children, young men and mothers. Violence stems from fear so what is society exactly afraid of when it come to the womb of black and latinx mothers?

The cause of so many horror stories from United States labor and delivery room outcomes stem from a series of obstetric offences that fall under the larger obstetric violence umbrella. Obstetric violence can be described as any unpleasant and non consent, or coerced act against a mother during prenatal visits, in labor and delivery, and postpartum. The mulitfaceted spectrum of violence shows up in many instances such as:

 -A mother's request not being honored or ignored during and after labor

 -Redirecting a mother's request, so that it meets the need of anyone other than her.

 -When a mother is constantly being offered an epidural during birth without receiving information about the high probability of long term effects on a mothers back.

 - Unneccessary utilization of any surgical equipment outside of an emergency (i.e. mothers being sold the idea that scheduling a cesarean for the best aesthetic but do not tell you that the epidural is required to have a cesarean).

 -The improper education on how to utilize a breast pump after birth.

 -Being discouraged or flat out opposed on the idea of having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) (2nd birth and on).

 -No education on any birth related terminology.

 And the list goes on...

 Obstetric violence occurs too often leaving mother's feeling traumatized and disempowered during a time they should be feeling the greatest joy of their labor of love. In my experience of violence, carried out in the form of being rushed when one hour skin to skin was requested, proved to play a huge role in my son being unable to latch on within his first hours of life. I almost gave up in the hospital due to pressures by staff and my mother saying that my son looked dehyrdrated and undernourished and that I had to stick a formula bottle in his mouth before he died, essentially. This added pressure, following my pushing him out, along with him not latching on, only exacerbated my self doubt as a care giver to the point of tears. Yet, right in that moment, my son rejected the bottle! He would not open his mouth as I cried in surrender and shame, for I had been pushed to the edge. Pushed by hopsital staff, physicians, and family. But HE REJECTED THE BOTTLE. Shortly after he began nursing like a champion. I was glad (an now impressed) that he hadn't rejected me and clearly felt the instinct to latch on. He simply needed time. But not every mother gets loucky to understand, witness, or experience this. Many mothers feel powerless because they, along with society, are taught to view providers as authoritative figures and mothers in labor and delivery are often victimized and even coerced into this unhealthy dynamic during childbirth. Providers are not doing a good job creating safe space for mothers because they are focusing on numbers and getting to the next mother. Without the necessity to utilize surgical tools hospital do not get as much funding.

 

The shame associated with our black bodies stems from historical systemic violence. The physical and sexual abuse we've encountered throughout colonialism and patriarchal dictatorships of, for example, having been ripped away in many cases from our young only to play the role of wet nurse to our master's children or being experimental subjects to our "authoritative figures" strongly plays into the dynamic of our labor and delivery room scenes. Subconsciously, our current mistreatment in the delivery rooms is endured because we feed into this false narrative of deficiency and not being enough as women in this patriarchial system. Imagine the level of self doubt felt women of color. During segregation we were not even allowed in the delivery and this worked to our advantage because many people of color resorted to midwivery. Once integration occurred racism followed into the delivery room and hospitals that serviced a majority of people of color were not well resourced. Simply pointing out the disadvantages.

 

But coupled with poor resources and being subjected to violence during the founding of this nation women of color are easily targeted and this needs to be eradicated. In my humble opinion the fact that 1 out 4 black mothers dies in child birth or gives birth to a pre-term or low weight child goes beyond genetic disposition (epigenetics). Violence shows up in oppression that breeds toxic stress no matter the socioeconomic status. Keeping individuals miseducated drastically decreases the chance to make informed decsions and restricting society from exploring and knowing our bodies perpetuates this oppression.

In what ways were you misinormed about the birthing process? Outside of labor and dellivery when have you felt powerless when going for a doctors visit?

I am a conduit advocating for women and children empowering them to know their true selves, and identify their purpose by way of education, love, and understanding.

—Ayo
Farahly Ayodele Saint-Louis is a Doula and coordinates programming related to reproductive justice. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York and also acquired a Master’s of Science at Hunter College. A native of New York, Ayodele holds strong ties to her Haitian origins. Inspired by a trip to Haiti in September 2009, she is determined to shed light on the taboo subjects of sexual violence and reproductive wellness among women and children through art therapy in Haiti and other developing nations. As a member of Big Apple Playback Theater Ayodele continues to utilize the arts as an outlet for healing and enjoyment supporting others in doing the same. She has a strong passion for, and seeks to contribute to, psycho-social improvement and healing, through the arts, birth work, and programming in developing societies with respect to women and children’s rights. Ayodele believes in the possibility of approaching the political process through a social justice lens and honoring humanity with the hopes of influencing the current state of the system. 

Farahly Ayodele Saint-Louis is a Doula and coordinates programming related to reproductive justice. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York and also acquired a Master’s of Science at Hunter College. A native of New York, Ayodele holds strong ties to her Haitian origins. Inspired by a trip to Haiti in September 2009, she is determined to shed light on the taboo subjects of sexual violence and reproductive wellness among women and children through art therapy in Haiti and other developing nations. As a member of Big Apple Playback Theater Ayodele continues to utilize the arts as an outlet for healing and enjoyment supporting others in doing the same. She has a strong passion for, and seeks to contribute to, psycho-social improvement and healing, through the arts, birth work, and programming in developing societies with respect to women and children’s rights. Ayodele believes in the possibility of approaching the political process through a social justice lens and honoring humanity with the hopes of influencing the current state of the system. 

All we need is One Tit, One hour: My experience of being robbed of the breast crawl

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When all is said and done I luckily and wholeheartedly enjoyed the 15 months of my breastfeeding experience, especially that I did it past the recommended 6 months and truly bonded with my baby. It wasn't all easy in the beginning. I struggled with formula feeding my son from 5 months while still nursing and thought I was a failure for it. I believed I could not make "enough" milk and that the milk I had was not sufficient for his sustenance. No family member had any advice to give me as I was one of the first among my generation to have a baby and the elders who were in close proximity did not have experience with breastfeeding, I was not breastfed. All of this was during the time I returned to my graduate studies and work after taking off one semester, but I was determined to continue nursing at night and throughout the day when I was home.

At the point of separation to continue my education and earn a living to feed my family, I still was grateful that my son was nursing at all though disappoinment that formula had been incorporated existed. It was blissful and, seemingly, a blessing to have made it all the way from my very doubtful initiation upon delivering at the hospital. I was in great doubt then of a guaranteed latch after being, I say this again and will continue to say it, robbed of my one hour skin to skin and breast crawl experience because resident physicians and my assigned physician insisted that my son get cleaned up and needed to be administered vitamin K and eye ointment, the latter I would not consent to though the former was mandated. With no doula, a birth plan and family members who somewhat supported my voice, until the doctor trumped it because of their trust in them, I was too exhausted to fight any more than I already had throughout my labor against being reminded to keep my gown on, having my cervical membrane skipped, without my permission, and being denied the opportunity to squat when pushing. I was through the fighting and defense, my treasure was delivered and I was too tired to demand that I get my skin to skin and I did not even know what the breast crawl was at the time, nonetheless I'd been robbed. Robbed of an otherwise beautiful and natural experience. And I was alone. Surrounded by people, humans, but separated from my baby that I gave birth to and denied the skin to skin that I did request in my birth plan (hyperlink) that I had my physician sign off on during my prenatal visit. With one hour skin to skin the baby naturally makes its way to its mother's breast in order to self latch by crawling from the stomach area where they would be placed and helping the mother deliver her placenta by applying pressure with their brand new feet. I was not given the understanding, patience, or even education about breast crawl.

I want to hear from you. What was your birth experience like? Did you have all the liberty as you wished, well informed or felt restricted? Did you choose to breastfeed. If so upon delivery?

"I am a conduit advocating for women and children empowering them to know their true selves, and identify their purpose by way of education, love, and understanding."

Farahly Ayodele Saint-Louis is a Doula and coordinates programming related to reproductive justice. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York and also acquired a Master’s of Science at Hunter College. A native of New York, Ayodele holds strong ties to her Haitian origins. Inspired by a trip to Haiti in September 2009, she is determined to shed light on the taboo subjects of sexual violence and reproductive wellness among women and children through art therapy in Haiti and other developing nations. As a member of Big Apple Playback Theater Ayodele continues to utilize the arts as an outlet for healing and enjoyment supporting others in doing the same. She has a strong passion for, and seeks to contribute to, psycho-social improvement and healing, through the arts, birth work, and programming in developing societies with respect to women and children’s rights. Ayodele believes in the possibility of approaching the political process through a social justice lens and honoring humanity with the hopes of influencing the current state of the system. 


Farahly Ayodele Saint-Louis is a Doula and coordinates programming related to reproductive justice. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York and also acquired a Master’s of Science at Hunter College. A native of New York, Ayodele holds strong ties to her Haitian origins. Inspired by a trip to Haiti in September 2009, she is determined to shed light on the taboo subjects of sexual violence and reproductive wellness among women and children through art therapy in Haiti and other developing nations. As a member of Big Apple Playback Theater Ayodele continues to utilize the arts as an outlet for healing and enjoyment supporting others in doing the same. She has a strong passion for, and seeks to contribute to, psycho-social improvement and healing, through the arts, birth work, and programming in developing societies with respect to women and children’s rights. Ayodele believes in the possibility of approaching the political process through a social justice lens and honoring humanity with the hopes of influencing the current state of the system. 

Here's Why Black Mothers Can't Breastfeed As Much As Other Women

Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Image

Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Image

By Jen McGuire

It's probably safe to say that the most satisfied kind of mother out there is a happy, healthy mother. Someone who has options, community support, and is able to make educated choices about how she would like to raise her baby. In 21st century America, one would think this description encapsulates most groups of parents. Unfortunately, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that was not the case. Specifically, the report uncovered several alarming reasons why black mothers can't breastfeed as much as other women.

The CDC looked at racial and geographical breastfeeding trends over a four year period, from 2011 to 2015. Researchers considered women in 34 states and tracked their breastfeeding statistics through the National Immunization Survey (NIS), specifically looking at breastfeeding initialization, exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months, and whether or not mothers were continuing to breastfeed until 12 months. The study found a significant difference in the number of black women who were exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months in comparison to white women (a full 10 percent difference) who were doing the same. The reason for the disparity? According to the CDC:

Certain barriers are disproportionately experienced by black women (e.g., earlier return to work, inadequate receipt of breastfeeding information from providers, and lack of access to professional breastfeeding support) .

The report also noted that the lack of support for black mothers begins at the hospital. Zip codes with a higher black population were less likely to "meet five indicators for supportive breastfeeding practices (early initiation of breastfeeding, limited use of breastfeeding supplements, rooming-in, limited use of pacifiers, and post-discharge support), than those located in areas with lower percentages of black residents," the report concluded.

To increase rate of breastfeeding among black infants, interventions are needed to address barriers faced by black mothers https://t.co/53lVFzxLRl

— Dr. EFleming (@DrEFleming7) July 13, 2017

This is a serious problem, not just for babies but for their mothers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life. Breastfeeding is hugely beneficial to both mother and baby, when possible. It protects babies from potential infection, reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer for mothers later on in life, and also aids in less postpartum bleeding. Not to mention the emotional benefits of bonding with your baby through breastfeeding and the fact that it is environmentally friendly (zero waste, of course). The fact that black mothers are disproportionately less able to breastfeed their babies because of socio-economic factors and lack of postpartum support is unconscionable.

CDC

So how do we go about effecting change, and supporting black mothers who want to breastfeed their babies? Several organizations are already in existence to combat the disparity between black and white mothers and their breastfeeding support. EMPower Breastfeeding: Enhancing Maternity Practices, is an organization supported by 93 hospitals across the country. It is funded by the CDC, and works at the hospital level to encourage breastfeeding support. Another organization, Black Mothers Breastfeeding, is a not-for-profit dedicated to "making a national impact on the reduction of racial disparities in breastfeeding success for black families." The organization provides education, resources, and continued support to black families who would like the opportunity to breastfeed.

Because parenting is supposed to be about making informed, supported choices. Not trying to parent your way around external limitations.

via Romper

Know Your Rights!

Breastfeeding While Working

PURESTOCK

PURESTOCK

60%

of women stop breastfeeding earlier than they would like.

50%

of new mothers report that their plans for employment had an impact on their baby-feeding decisions

Only 40%

of nursing moms have access to both adequate break time and a private space to express breast milk while at work

State and Local Breastfeeding Protection Laws

New York Nursing Moms Rights At Work

While at work you will need to pump breast milk during the day. That way you can keep your milk from drying up before you and your baby are ready to stop nursing. And you will be able to save milk for  your baby to drink when you are not there.

Even the state of NY thinks it's a good idea to breastfeed your baby. That's why there are very string laws that give you the right to express or pump breast milk at work. 

Many employees are also entitled to a non-restroom private space and time to pump under federal law

What must my employer do if I want to express milk at work?

  1.  They must give you time to express milk for your baby. New York Law says your employer MUST give you:
  • Unpaid break time to express breast milk at work or allow you to pump during regularly scheduled paid breaks.
  • A break once very 3 hours or as needed
  • At least a 20 minute break (or 30 minutes, if you need extra time to get the space where  you can express milk).

Your employer can ask you to wait, and take your scheduled break later than planned if they need you, or can't find someone to cover for you. But they cannot ask you to wait more than 30 minutes past your scheduled break time.

2. They must try to give you space to express

Your employer must try its best to give you a clean, private space, other than a bathroom, where you can express milk with no interruption. Some employers many not have to do this, if finding a private space would be too expensive, or would be too difficult because of their size, layout, hours of operation, cost, or nature of their work.

3. They must give you information and support

  • Under New York law your employer must give you written information about your rights.
Your healthcare provider should also give you information on your right to breastfeed in the workplace and at the hospital, the benefits of breastfeeding and how to get help if you are having trouble feeding your baby

Your employer may not discriminate against you or punish you in any way because you choose to express breast milk at work. If you need help using your rights, or would like more information, call 212-430-5982 for free and confidential legal guidance.

 


Paid Family Leave in New York State Benefits start on January 1, 2018.

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25%

Percentage of US mothers who return to work within less than 2 weeks of giving birth

 

3%

Number of countries that do not guarantee paid maternity leave (the United States, Suriname and Papua New Guinea)

 

13%

Percentage of private sector workers in the US who have access to paid family leave in the event of a new child or a family health emergency

 

What does the paid family leave law do?

The law guarantees workers time off to bond with a new child (including adopted and foster children); care for a seriously ill family member (child,parent,parent-in-law,spouse, domestic partner. grandchild, or grandparent); or address certain military family needs

Am I covered?

If you're employed outside the government in New York State, either full-time or part-time, you're probably covered under the law, regardless of how many people work for your employer

How much paid family can I take?

In 2018, you will be able to take up to eight weeks of family leave. Each year after that, the number of weeks available will be increased

How much of my paycheck can I get while I am on paid family leave?

In 2018, you will receive half (50%) of your average weekly pay, up to about $650 per week. Each year after that, you'll be eligible to receive a greater percentage of your pay while on leave

Will my job be protected while I am on leave?

Yes. You have the right to return to work. If you receive coverage through your employer, you also have the right to keep your healthcare coverage under its current conditions

When can I begin taking paid family leave?

If you've worked for your employer for at least six months, you can start receiving benefits on January 1, 2018. Otherwise, you may start receiving benefits six months after your start date

 

Paid Family and Medical Leave in the States

Since 2004, three states in addition to New York—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—have enacted programs to provide partial pay to workers taking time off to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill relative. These laws build upon existing programs to provide partial pay for a worker’s own serious health condition. Washington, D.C.’s City Council also recently passed a strong paid family and medical leave law. Still other states are lining up to pass their own paid family and medical leave plans.

Visit ABB Federal and Local Laws resources to learn more


New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Womenshealth.gov

Womenshealth.gov

250,000

62%

Estimated pregnant workers every year who are denied requests for accommodations, and even more don’t bother asking, for fear of retaliation
Of Americans have personally seen pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

What does the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) do?

The PWFA protects pregnant women and mother who have recently given birth from workplace discrimination. Employers have to allow pregnant employees to make changes to their work duties or schedule so they can stay healthy  and satisfy the "essential requisites" of their job (e.g. help with heavy lifting, breaks to drink water or rest,etc.) These changes are called "reasonable accommodations."

Am I covered?

If you are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, nursing or have a related medical condition and work for an employer in New York City (Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island or Queens) who has at least 4 employees, then you are covered.

What are my rights?

You are entitles to a reasonable accommodation at work as long as it does not cause an "undue hardship" for your employer. A resolvable accommodation could include temporary transfer to a less physically demanding position or a modified work schedule.

Do I have to be disabled to get an accommodation?

No. Even women with healthy pregnancies can get a reasonable accommodation if they need one, such as light duty to prevent injury. 

What should I do if my employer refuses to grant me a reasonable accommodation or punishes me for being pregnant or for asking for an accommodation?

Call  A Better Balance  work legal clinic hotline for help and advice at 212-430-5982. ABB is a not for profit legal center that works with New Yorkers who are facing unfair treatment at work because they are pregnant or have family care responsibilities. All of their services are free.

 The Federal Pregnant Workers Act