I learnt the hard way round.
On these squares, you can be forgiven for thinking life is rosey in others worlds. It’s not common for health care professionals to share their personal stories, and I am calling time on that!
Breastfeeding my children was the hardest thing I have EVER done! I didn’t even know what an IBCLC was before I desperately booked one. It as been a long bloody (literally!) road.
I was suspicious of the diagnosis of a tongue tie as a way to make money off of me and yet, I found the money and I booked that appointment that honestly, changed our lives.
Roll around to the next baby and I had many supporters on speeddail and my only regret was not reaching further into my pocket to get that home visit. Instead, I packed my 24 hour old baby up for a 3 hour round trip to see the IBCLC I knew and trusted with another tongue tied baby.
Most of my investing in endless study days, conferences and even training to be an IBCLC, have been to unpick ALL of the issues we experienced as a breastfeeding family. It has been hard. It has been emotional but it has been worth every tear if I can help YOU shed one less that I did.
I will be there, in your home if you need me. I will take a payment plan, I will find child care for my home educated children so I can come, I will stand in your corner as you fight hard to achieve your #goals
You are fierce, you deserve support that recognises that.
And this is why I do what I do.
#breastfeeding # support #motivation #journey #life #lessons #investment #wortheverypenny #makeingchange #diversityininfantfeeding
This blog is born out of the conversations I have had / seen about about Black Breastfeeding Week in September 2019.
If you have thoughts like these, read on.
- Black breastfeeding week is a USA thing.
- I support everyone who seeks my support.
- I do enough, this week does not apply to me.
It is uncomfortable
If you meet me in real life, or online, you will know I am willing to have the uncomfortable conversations and as such, I have had requests for resources from others like me, who want to work through the issues around undeserved populations and parenting / breastfeeding support in the UK.
I do not write this blog to stoke my own ego ( although it is cathartic!), I write it to share things that helped me on my journey of self discovery so far. Please do share with me what helps you on yours, let us learn together and change the unacceptable.
From the beginning
Familiarize your self why black breastfeeding week has come to the UK.
Bais (see video) needs active self reflection to unpack – this is NORMAL and a continuous process & takes time.
Understand the lack of representation in supporters affects us all, from the angle of the text books to the ‘accepted wisdom’ of breastfeeding support.
Now, if you are ready, read on.
Last year, the first UK black breastfeeding week caught my attention. I was transfixed but unsure of it’s relevance to me, confused by what it all meant and still wrapped comfortably in my own privilege.
I read blogs about why black breastfeeding week was coming to the UK and I felt unsure what I could do to effect the change needed. I started conversations that met walls. I retreated, for a while.
Roll forward to the 2018 MBRACE report, and I was firstly aghast at the statistics before us. Black women where 5 times more likely to die in the perinatal period than white women, and for no obvious reason.
I repeated steps above, hit walls and retreated again. As time passed, I became confused by the lack of public outrage. I saw more voices in the circles I enhabit, talking louder and louder about bias, racial in equality and it just couldn’t keep it in along longer.
It became clear to me that I needed to know more and so began my own personal journey into the world of my own bias, privilege as a white, middle class, woman in the UK.
In April, I poured my energy into a poster about bias, I took it to a a place with many breastfeeding supporters and I met silence. I cannot know what this means, but I assume that it means, they where not ready to do the work. You can see the poster in its full glory, by downloading it bellow.
Maybe now you are a bit further along and think..
- I don’t know where to begin
- I want to fix this
Here are some things I found helpful and you might want to look at ;
Blog – a 2019 piece, with lots to think on. Good if you feel you need to ACT NOW.
Dear white women are you behind whats suppressing black breastfeeding rates by Kimberly Seals Allers
Food for thought
Why people of color need spaces without white people by Kelsey Blackwell
Work book – Unpacking White Privilege in her book (formally downloadable workbook) – Me and White Supremacy by Laya F Saad
Book/ Audio Book – Fabulous book about the UK perspective of being a person of color, in the UK Why I am no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
In person events
Attend a Black Breastfeeding Week event near you, this one is streaming online for £5 tomorrow !
One to wait for…
I am Not your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
To sum up…
When we stop and examine our own behaviors, we can check ourselves having different expectations of and reactions to people who do not look like us. It is unethical, once a harmful practice or action has been pointed out to us, to continue to act in the same wayTessa Clark April 2019
Social Media accounts to follow..
Nov Reid – Anti Racism speaker
Abuela Doula – Doula trainer for BAME familes
1-2-1 Doula – Doula, educator, running BBW 2919 in London
Another day and another common query from a parent. This one wants to share all the positive effects of carrying with her pregnant friend & gift her a stretchy wrap.
My friend is having a baby in Nov and I want to gift her a stretchy for those first weeks and months! Any brand you recommend?A caring friend, 2019
I could give a one line answer & a link to my personal favorite brand BUT not only is that not my style, it doesn’t fit with my desire to empower parents.
So wether you are wanting to buy a wrap for a friend, or looking for yourself, I hope this information will help.
Stretchy Wrap (Video)
What is a stretchy wrap?
Let’s start at the beginning.
- A stretchy wrap is a long, stretchy length of t shirt like fabric
- They usually come in one size fits most length.
- They are often a cotton blended with something stretchy.
- Most often used between newborn and around 3 months, although many use longer.
- Two main sub types, stretching in two ways, or one.
One way & two way
The most common type seen on market, is the two way stretchy wrap.
Two way stretchy
- This means it has stretch in the fabric horizontally and vertically.
- It is very easy for someone learning to get the baby in and snug.
- As the baby grows, the strechyness means the baby will sink from where you first had them in the wrap.
- This will happen eventually in either type, although oftern later in a one way stretchy wrap.
Link – two stretchy wrap tutorial
One way stretchy
- Same as above except –
- Fabric stretches most in one direction only.
- Requires tightening more like a woven wrap (not stretchy).
- Some parents find they can carry their baby longer before needing a new type of sling
Link – Tighen one way stretchy wrap
- In short, you get what you pay for with stretchy wraps.
- You can pick one up for £6 BUT honestly, it’s worth the investment in a bigger brand.
- There are free hire schemes for newborns around the county, is there one near you?
- Look around your online market places, second hand slings are an affordable option for many !
- The colours and patterns do not affect their function, but choosing one you like might make you smile on a tough day.
- Investing in a higher quality stretchy wrap, often means they can last thought multiple children, and be lent to friends with bumps.
- I personally, I have 6 types in my teaching bag but I love most, an organic bamboo Hana baby wrap 😉
Want to know more about these types of slings? You can read more in the links and book to work with me 1:1 online and in person in Buckinghamshire.
find a local sling library and skilled helpers
Everything you’d ever need to know about stretchy slings (inc how to videos)
Stating to sag or feeling to heavy?