Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Seeking Submissions for the March Carnival of Breastfeeding: On Breastfeeding & Race

The theme for the March Carnival of Breastfeeding is breastfeeding and race. This month, we'd especially love to hear from moms of color about your breastfeeding experience and what role you think your race played in shaping that experience. Some topics that we'd love to hear you explore are:
  • What are the cultural beliefs about breastfeeding amongst your race?
  • Do you think your race played a role in how you were treated by health care providers, including nurses, lactation consultants, OBGYN and pediatrician?
  • What are the breastfeeding rates like for people of your race, and how did this influence your decision to breastfeed?
  • Any other observations about what breastfeeding is like in your community?
As always, we are looking for posts that are:
  • Well-written and free of grammatical errors
  • Directly on topic for the Carnival theme
  • Submitted by blogs that cover topics that are of interest to our readers (breastfeeding, parenting, etc).
Submissions are due by March 7th and the Carnival will go live on March 14th. Please use this Google doc spreadsheet to submit your post. If your post is selected for inclusion, you will be expected to link back to each of the other participants in the Carnival. Examples of past Carnivals can be found here.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday 5: February 18th

I'm feeling nostalgic and I've read some wonderful posts this week so I've decided to bring back the Friday 5. Here's what you need to check out this week.

Nursing in Captivity: On Bethenny, Gorillas, and Why It Really Does Take a Village.....on Dou-La-La. Anne doesn't nearly update her blog enough, but when she does? Pure genius. This post really gets to the heart of why nursing in public is so important, not just for the individual, but in order to transform society.

Michelle Bachmann Targets Michelle Obama's Breastfeeding Initiative.....on The Root. When I first saw Bachmann's quotes come across my inbox, I was so shocked and disgusted. I thought about blogging about it, but I was too angry. This is an even post that beautifully states why her statements were so offensive.

A Single Stream of Breastmilk.... on breastfeedingarts. A wonderful reminder that, although it sometimes looks like young, single, childless folks are having more fun, there is really nothing better than being a mom.

Shadeism.......This short documentary is an introduction to "shadeism," or the discrimination that exists between lighter and darker-skinned people of color. If you're not familiar with this topic, it is definitely worth watching. Look out for a scene with breastfeeding around the 16:00 mark.

Breastfeeding in Disaster....Sustainable Mothering. An absolutely gut-wrenching photo and article about a dark time in our country's history. A reminder of the horrific conditions under which many women are breastfeeding their babies all over the world.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight: PumpEase (....and a giveaway!)

I'm thrilled to announce that PumpEase, the hands-free pumping support, is a new sponsor of Blacktating!As you may know, the PumpEase was created by Wendy Armbuster Bell to allow moms to go hands-free when pumping breast milk for their babies. The product is ingenious because it holds your breast pump securely in place so that you are free to multitask. With your PumpEase in place, you can complete work at your desk, talk on the phone, eat or even head out to the malls for some Black Friday shopping. (No, seriously, check out the photos of the mom who did just that on the PumpEase blog).

As someone who pumped for 6 months after returning to work, I know how difficult it can be. I always felt guilty simply sitting at my desk and pumping for 20 minutes while getting absolutely nothing done. There were times when I had projects and tasks to complete and would rush through a pumping session so I could get back to work. I also remember trying to hold both flanges with just one outstretched arm so I could shoot off a quick email or answer an important phone call and I would inevitably end up spilling (and wasting!) precious milk. I am sure that having a PumpEase would have made things much easier. If you're exclusively pumping, the PumpEase would be a lifesaver, allowing you to care for your baby while also pumping his lunch!

The PumpEase is compatible with all nursing bras and all breast pumps, so no matter what brand you are using, the PumpEase has you covered. It also comes in a variety of cute patterns (my favorite is the Snowy Leopard).

Now of course after I've told you how useful the PumpEase is, you want your own right? Well PumpEase has generously offered one of my readers the opportunity to win a PumpEase! You can select the size and style of your choice and this giveaway is open to everyone, as PumpEase ships internationally!

Simply leave a comment below telling me which PumpEase you'd like to win (don't worry, you can always change your mind!) Entries will be accepted until midnight EST on Sunday, February 27th and the winner will be announced on Monday, February 28th on Blacktating.

Want some extra entries?
  • Already a fan of Blacktating on Facebook? Leave a separate comment letting me know.
  • Already a fan of PumpEase on Facebook? Leave a separate comment letting me know.
  • Follow me on Twitter? Leave a separate comment letting me know.
  • Follow PumpEase on Twitter? Leave a separate comment letting me know.
  • Tweet this giveaway for an extra entry. Leave a separate comment with a link to your tweet.
  • Share this post on Facebook for an extra entry. Leave a separate comment letting me know.
So you've got 7 chances to win. Not a gambling kinda chick or want your PumpEase ASAP? Use coupon code Blacktating15 for 15% off your purchase at

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New breastfeeding photos from the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition

I'm very happy to share with you a collage of photos taken by the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition as part of the Landscape of Breastfeeding Support project I wrote about a few months ago. You may recognize some of these photos from the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. These photos are completely public and can be used by anyone!

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Friday, February 4, 2011

New study seeks genetic component to high rates of breast cancer in black women

We already know that African-American women have higher rates of breast cancer than our white counterparts. We are also more likely to die of breast cancer, in part because the cancer we tend to get is more aggressive than other forms. A new study is now asking if it's possible that there are certain  inherited genetic mutations that may also be responsible for our increased rates of breast cancer.

Heather Ochs-Balcom, PhD at the University at Buffalo believes genetics plays an important role in black breast cancer rates and she and her team are looking for women to participate in a study. They are specifically looking for African-American women who were diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage, including metastatic disease and DCIS, AND their relatives who are also breast cancer survivors. This study may sound familiar to you, as Army of Women were helping to recruit women for the study in October 2010. The researchers are working toward their goal of enrolling 400 women in the study but still need more families to participate.

The study will help to better understand if there are undiscovered genes unique to African Americans that may predict early breast cancer risk. If you join the Jewels in Our Genes study you will be asked questions about your breast cancer diagnosis and about your family history of breast cancer. You will be asked to give a sample of saliva so that the researchers can collect your DNA. You can join the Jewels in Our Genes study if you match ALL of these criteria: you are a woman older than 18; you consider yourself to be Black/African American; you were diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage, including metastatic disease and DCIS. There is no time limit since diagnosis and it is OK if you are currently receiving treatment. You must also have at least one living female blood relative who was also diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage; you have tested negative for the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations (if known); and you live in the US.
If you are interested in being a part of this study, you can RSVP and the researcher will ask you additional questions to be sure that this study is the right fit for you.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baby Friendly Hospitals Will Improve Black Breastfeeding Rates

A new update on California's breastfeeding rates and hospital policies was released by the California WIC Association and the UC Davis Human Lactation Center. The report, titled "One Hospital at a Time: Overcoming Barriers to Breastfeeding" takes a look at how instituting baby-friendly practices at hospitals through California has impacted the breastfeeding rates.

California is currently home to 34 of the 150 hospitals and birth centers that have been certified as Baby Friendly by UNICEF/WHO. The report paints a very clear picture of how beneficial the Baby Friendly initiative has been to California's breastfeeding rates. Not surprisingly, the hospitals with the lowest breastfeeding rates are those that serve low income women of color and throughout the state, disparities are evident. The report states that in the past, these disparities were chalked up to differences in cultural practices, but the data clearly shows that hospitals that have baby-friendly policies in place were able to greatly reduce those disparities.

The report shows that the breastfeeding initiation rate throughout California for African-American women was at about 78% while the exclusive breastfeeding rate was around 40%. When you look at the exclusive breastfeeding rate for African-American women at the Baby Friendly hospitals, that number jumps from 40% to 60%. And although those numbers are still too low, they are far and away better than the national initiation rate of 54%.

We can also see the benefit of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to African-American women in another state, New York. In New York City, all public hospitals are managed by Health and Hospital Corp., or HHC. HHC has encouraged its hospitals to incorporate all of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, but only one, Harlem Hospital, has been certified as Baby Friendly.

Harlem Hospital serves a large population of African-American and African immigrant women. Any hospital that thinks becoming certified would be too difficult or wouldn't work with their population, need only look at Harlem Hospital as proof that it can be done anywhere. In 2007, right before officially becoming Baby-Friendly, 81% of women were breastfeeding when they left Harlem Hospital.

In a recent article in Heart & Soul magazine, a black woman who gave birth at Harlem Hospital talked about her experience. Alicia Lewis-Howard was told by family and friends that breastfeeding would hurt and she didn't think she would nurse for more than a month, but ended up breastfeeding for 6. She credits the nurses at the hospital with showing her how to properly latch the baby on so breastfeeding was not painful and for educating her on the many benefits of breastfeeding both to herself and her baby.

The Baby Friendly Initiative has been proven to increase black breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity rates. It is imperative that healthcare facilities that serve a large population of African-American women begin implementing as many of the Ten Steps as possible. Although the process of becoming Baby Friendly is extremely rigorous, there is no reason that hospitals can't make the smaller changes, like ensuring that all women are breastfeeding within an hour of birth and rooming in with their babies. If we want to see black breastfeeding rates improve, we have to see hospital practices improve. If California and New York can do it, why can't everyone else?

*Photo credit edenpictures

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