Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Should I Renew My CLC?

Back in 2010 I completed the Certified Lactation Counselor training through Healthy Children. I wrote about it on the blog, and a few weeks later I found out via mail that I had passed the test and could indeed call myself a CLC.

In the two years since, I haven't really done much with this certification, besides use those letters after my name for a few short-term consulting projects. I know the limitations of the CLC and I am not going to start a business providing breastfeeding support because I took a week-long training program. But I also do like being able to say I have a credential.

So do I bother to complete the continuing education requirements in order to recertify? I only need 18 hours and I have ten months to get it done. There are a few options for doing it online, like through Lactation Education Resources, which has a ton of classes that sound interesting, like The Politics of Breastfeeding. There are also classes I can do at my own pace through Healthy Children's Learn at Home modules. They have some courses I'd be interested in taking too, like Concerns about Infant Formula and The Role of Donor Milk in the Reduction of Infant Mortality and Morbidity.

But this don't come cheap. I've already invested about $600 to take the CLC course and recertifying isn't free either. All of those courses cost money and are worth varying amounts of contact hours. The cheapest I can do this for is about $265, and that's if I get in on the early bird special for recertification.

Is anyone else in the same boat as me? Is it worth keeping a credential I may or may not use for the next three years? Since I'm already in so deep, do I continue to spend a few hundred bucks every few years in order to call myself a CLC? What would you do?

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Seeking Donations for A Virtual Baby Shower!

I've been longing to get in some volunteer hours for quite some time now. I've mulled over joining various organizations that provide mother-to-mother breastfeeding support, but with my full-time job and my kids' activities, I just don't have the time to dedicate to it at this stage in my life. So I joined Hands on Broward, a local organization that matches people who want to volunteer with one-shot projects that mesh with their interests and skills. You pick the day and time and place you want to volunteer, put in your hours and volunteer again when you have the time. This is really the ideal situation for me now, and there are so many worthy local projects I can give my time to. I'm so excited about many of the opportunities available, and the first one I've chosen to be a part of is a baby drive for a non-profit called We Pass the Blessings.

Every year, We Pass the Blessings holds several events to provide goods and services to the community, including an annual health fair, a baby shower and holiday toy drive. I've decided to collect baby items for their Community Baby Shower for low income moms and moms-to-be, which will be held in March in Ft. Lauderdale. I really want to help this great cause and I just might have a small agenda and want to make sure that they get some breastfeeding related supplies.

Now, normally I would just put a bin in at work and ask people to donate, but I can't at my current position. So that's where you all in my network come in! I know that times are not that great for any of us, but I was hoping that some of you who are able to, would choose to help out some moms in need in South Florida.

So! We Pass the Blessings is asking for the following:

  • New and gently used baby clothes (size newborn to 3T)
  • Blankets
  • Diapers & diaper bags
  • Infant feeding sets
  • Health care sets (shampoo, lotion, etc) and Safety/First Aid kits
  • Pacifiers and teethers
  • New or gently used infant bath tubs, high chairs, strollers
  • Donations in any amount via Paypal on their site
I'm asking you to also consider donating:
  • Nursing pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Manual breast pump
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing cover
  • Baby carrier
To that end I've created a Wish List on Amazon where you can purchase items directly and have them shipped to me. I'll package everything up and deliver it, along with my own donations. I'll take pictures of everything and update you here. I hope to also be able to attend the Baby Shower and take some pictures there too. If you have gently used baby items you'd like to ship, please contact me at Blacktating at gmail and put Virtual Baby Shower in the subject line and I will send you the shipping address. Of course if you have any other questions for me, you can feel free to email me as well. 

The drive will be short: I'd like everything to arrive here by March 1 so I can make the drop on Saturday, March 2. 

You may be wondering why I didn't add an Ergo or Moby or *insert your favorite organic/sustainable/reusable product here* but I really wanted to keep every item under $40. If you are feeling generous, by all means, donate something more expensive. But I know those items aren't within everyone's reach and I didn't want anyone to not chip in because they couldn't afford to.

I appreciate all of you even reading this and considering it. I hope I can collect a ton of items for these women. Let's make it happen!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

That'll be $120. Merry Christmas!

Remember last year when I told you we had a minor health scare with Aminah? It basically amounted to a visit to a pediatric nephrologist and two ultrasounds to make sure her kidneys were functioning properly. She was born with a small skin tag on her ear, and since ears and kidneys develop at the same time in utero, her pediatrician suggested we get her kidneys checked out just to make sure everything was working as it should be.

Our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric nephrologist who is one of the best in the business. We are lucky to live near an amazing pediatric hospital that is world renowned and this guy is not only the medical director of the pediatric nephrology program, he also teaches at a top tier university medical school.

Of course after the ultrasounds bills starting trickling in. We quickly met our deductible for the year, even though Aminah was born in October. I never did receive a bill from the nephrologist and at some point I forgot all about it. Until today when the statement showed up.

My portion of the bill for one office visit with this guy? $120. His original bill to my insurance for a new patient visit? $750.

Now, I know I am lucky to have decent insurance and the means to pay this bill. I am not in love with the timing (a full YEAR after the fact), especially because we just splurged on a trip to Disney for Miles' 5th birthday. But you know, I'll figure it out. It will get paid. At the end of the day it is a small price to pay for the reassurance that my baby is perfectly healthy. We are lucky that she didn't need follow-up care. And I know it.

I just still can't believe the healthcare system we have in this country and that we all put up with it. The day I took Aminah for this visit, the office was crawling with kids, from newborns like my daughter, to tweens. Some of them had obviously been coming there for a long time and knew the office staff well. That was so heartbreaking. What kind of bills do those parents get in the mail every month? Can they pay them? What other bills do they put to the side in order to pay the doctors who are keeping their kids alive?

I'm sure you all have your own health insurance woes and horror stories, which you can feel free to spill in the comments section. I hope that none of you are surprised with any huge healthcare bills any time soon. Happy holidays!

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Christmas Stock Up!

This post is sponsored by The Children's Place.

Every year before the holidays I head to The Children's Place to stock up. I get a cute Christmas outfit for the kids to wear to church and scoop up all of the discounted tees, pajamas and shorts that I can. This year TCP had the most gorgeous blues and teals and so I decided to get some matching outfits for the kids. For Miles, a blue V-neck sweater, a woven plaid long-sleeved shirt and a new pair of jeans. He got to pick one licensed Tee and chose Sonic.

For Aminah, I went with a cute tiered dress, leggings and some sparkly flats. The leggings were a steal and I stocked up here, getting different colors and styles.

I found this adorable faux fur shrug on deep discount for $3.99! There were only two left so I was thrilled to find it in her size.

I also loaded up on tunic dresses which were marked down to $7.99 each. These are perfect for daycare paired with ruched leggings. Thankfully it's not too cold here in the winter, but I did pick out fleece jackets for each kiddo, plus an adorable knit hat for the baby. $4.99 for this fantastic cat hat (and there are tons online! Get some now!)

If you still need to pick up some winter clothes, you can shop online and save an additional 30% with coupon code E4K3012 until December 24! Happy shopping!

Friday, December 14, 2012

What I'm Reading This Week

Here's some of the blog posts and news articles I've been reading and thinking about this week. Feel free to link me to anything you've loved as well!

Why do black moms die more often in childbirth? From Women's eNews:
(WOMENSENEWS)--It's been called a conundrum. A mystery. A disgrace. A national crisis. But when you ask why black women in the United States die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth at three to four times the rate of other ethnic/racial groups, the answer is usually the same: "We simply don't know."

How much milk should you expect to pump? From Nancy Morhbacher at Breastfeeding Reporter:
Do you ever second-guess your milk production after pumping? Do you compare it with the volume of milk your friend or neighbor pumps? Do you compare it with the milk you pumped for a previous baby? Before you start to worry, you first need to know how much pumped milk is average. Many mothers discover—to their surprise—that when they compare their own pumping experience with the norm, they’re doing just fine. Take a deep breath and read on.

36 Black-Owned Etsy Stores from Huffington Post:
OK so Black Friday is way past over, but you may still need to do some holiday shopping for your loved ones. Here's a great list of black-owned Etsy shops you can support. Most are women, many are moms. I love the cute stuff in IkdKids' shop, including a sling for your little girl to wear her dolls in. Lots more links in the comments, as well as on this post, 800+ Creative Black Women You Can Support.

Going for a Non-Stress Test/Biophysical Profile from Navelgazing Midwife:
This is a fantastic post on how to level the playing field if your pregnancy is going past dates or if there are any concerns about the baby and your OB or midwife requires you to get an NST and biophysical profile ultrasound. As Barbara states, "When going for an NST/BPP, a little preparation can help you make sure you are hydrated and the baby will be as active as possible before being hooked up to the monitors. This is not to fool the doctor, but to set yourself up for success. If, after following this regimen, the baby or amniotic fluid still shows there is something amiss, you will know you did your part to make sure both were as normal as possible. "

Rethinking Pelvic Typologies and the Human Birth Mechanism from Current Anthropology (2003):
A conversation popped up in my Twitter timeline on whether or not freebirthing (or unassisted childbirth or UC) was smart or asinine. I'll admit I am pretty much against UC, but I understand why some women do it. For many, there really is no "choice" involved. If you've had a C-section and live in a state that outlaws midwives from caring for you and prevents you from using a birth center, you are typically forced to have another C-section because the number of OBs who will consider VBAC is so low. From what I am hearing and reading this is changing slowly, but many mothers live in places where they have few options. I remembered that I had read an article that explained why humans need help during birth and why, unlike our mammalian cousins, we don't birth solo. Fascinating read if you've got the time and are interested (hat tip to Sol for finding the link!)

What have you been reading this week?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What happened to the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition Photos?

On an almost daily basis, I get an email from someone looking for photographs of black women breastfeeding for their flyer, promotional campaign or event. Before a few months ago, I had the perfect solution to their query at the tip of my fingertips. I simply shared with them the collection of photos created by the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition, titled The Naomi & Ruth Project. These were the photos created by the USBC/CDC grant for "The Landscape of Breastfeeding Support." I had access to over 200 photos via my Kodak Share gallery and sending them out to folks was as easy as sending an email.

Unfortunately Kodak closed its doors after being acquired by Shutterfly and there went that option. They gave me the opportunity to move my photos, but you had to move them over one at a time by downloading them into your new account. 200 photos? Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. I figured IBBC would come up with their own solution to this problem and I'd wait for them to do so, then update you all here.

Their solution is less than perfect, but since they easily have the best collection of photos of black women breastfeeding going, you'll have to make do. In order to access the photos, you'll need to visit the photographer's website here. Click on "clients" and then enter the password "ibbc" for access to the photos. You can then email the photographer, Anne Schollenberger, and she will send you a link to download the photos you want.

In addition, I had a conversation with the person who does social media for USBC on Twitter the other day. I was told that all of the photographs that were created by the grant are available to breastfeeding coalitions across the country. So if you are a member of a breastfeeding coaltion and want access to these photos, or any other photos created by the grant, you should try contacting USBC. I had hoped all of these photos would have been made available to the general public because many of us who support breastfeeding are not a part of our state's coalition. I'd say that a lot of us agitating online by blogging, tweeting, and  being active on facebook, are also a big part of promoting breastfeeding. Why can't we also have access to the photos too?

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Friday, October 5, 2012


Day One


And here's our birth story.

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