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Black breastfeeding week matters—mamas of color are not getting the support they need

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Breastfeeding is one of the best joys of motherhood. The bond mamas develop with their little ones is so precious, but it's not always easy. Some of the most common struggles new mamas confront include securing a proper latch, nipple soreness and low milk supply. But for breastfeeding mothers of color, there is an additional set of struggles that are often overlooked.

While it's only a start, Black Breastfeeding Week can be an equalizer, bringing attention to the challenges black women face while promoting the fact that black women do, in fact, breastfeed.

These are breastfeeding challenges new mothers of color face and what we can start doing today to initiate a positive change:

1. Lack of prenatal support

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black mothers are four times more likely to die during and after pregnancy. In fact, a study from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine proved that healthcare providers often assume that black patients are overreacting when raising issues regarding pain, discomfort and other difficulties.

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The nonchalant outlook regarding the health concerns of black women can lead to the common assumption that black mothers do not breastfeed. As a result, the breastfeeding education that expectant black mothers should receive is often left out of the prenatal care plan.

How Black Breastfeeding Week helps: It encourages increased integration of prenatal breastfeeding education. By raising awareness of the racial disparities experienced by the black community, this week can motivate healthcare workers to place a greater emphasis on promoting and encouraging breastfeeding to their black expectant mothers.

2. Lack of postpartum breastfeeding support

After giving birth it is common for new mothers to receive assistance with latching, education regarding the benefits of breastfeeding, and a visit from a lactation consultant. But for new mothers of color, this experience may be very different. In fact, a study indicated that hospitals located in areas with a higher percentage of black residents were less likely to provide adequate breastfeeding support. Additionally, black infants are more likely to be formula fed in the hospital than other races.

Compared to white mothers, researchers at Northshore University reported that black mothers were significantly more likely to be encouraged to formula feed. Early initiation of formula feeding without necessity can reduce the likelihood of long-term breastfeeding success.

How Black Breastfeeding Week helps: This week draws attention to this discrepancy, thus reminding birth workers that black mothers DO breastfeed and that, with proper education and support, the breastfeeding rates among the black community will improve.

3. Lack of support within the black community

In addition to the uncomfortable stares, nursing mothers may get while breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding women of color also have to deal with stigmas within their own community. These stigmas stem from the historical trauma of being forced to wet nurse babies of their slave owners which often led to the neglect and inability to nurse their own children.

Because of this, breastfeeding is not normalized within black families or the black community.

How Black Breastfeeding Week helps: With a focus on normalizing and celebrating breastfeeding in public, this awareness can help to eliminate the stigma of breastfeeding within the black community. When more of the black community see their peers proudly nursing their babies in public, it will break the generational belief that "breastfeeding is only for white women."

4. Lack of support within the breastfeeding community

Of the 31,181 International Board Certified Lactation Consultants worldwide, very few of them are African American. Black mothers often find it easier to discuss their breastfeeding struggles with someone that understands the disparities and cultural issues they may face. Additionally, the majority of advertisements depicting breastfeeding mothers do not feature women of color. Without role models and supporters that look like them, it is unlikely that black mothers will strive to breastfeed since it is not promoted within their community.

How Black Breastfeeding Week helps: While this is an unfortunate truth, Black Breastfeeding Week seeks to encourage women of color to become lactation consultants by pointing out the lack of diversity within the lactation community. It also highlights the amazing black lactation consultants available that act as role models for aspiring breastfeeding supporters of color.

Here's how you can make a difference:

These struggles have led to a lower percentage of breastfeeding black mothers when compared to other races, however, with raised awareness by the CDC and campaigns like Black Breastfeeding Week, the statistics are improving. In 2015, only 64.3% of black infants were breastfed. The most recent CDC breastfeeding statistic report shows that there was a 10% increase in breastfeeding of black infants.

With increased prenatal and postpartum support (regardless of your race), more access to resources, and added representation of both black breastfeeding mothers and black lactation professionals, these statistics will continue to improve, resulting in healthier communities everywhere.

Here are three actionable ways you can support Black Breastfeeding Week right now:

  1. Write to your government officials and tell them why they should celebrate and promote Black Breastfeeding Week in your city/state.
  2. Share articles like this on social media to help your friends, family and the rest of the world learn about why this week is necessary.
  3. Like and share images of black breastfeeding women on your social media channels. Black representation matters and your support just might encourage a mother to breastfeed.

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It's time to go shopping for your little ones mama. Not long ago we shared the super sale on Hunter boots for us moms, and now the super colorful and water proof boots are on sale for kids! Perfect timing as Spring is approaching and there will be a lot of puddle jumping in our futures.

The sale is up to 50% off in select styles, but in all the colors of the rainbow! We don't know how long the sale will last so act fast because some sizes are already on low stock!


Here are our favorite styles to shop from the sale:

The original grab handle boot in light blue

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

Originally $55, the original Grab Handle boot is 50% off right now.

$28

The classic gloss boot in blue

Original Kids First Classic Gloss Rain

Originally $55, the original Classic Gloss boot is 40% off right now.

$33

Chelsea boot in yellow 

Original Big Kids' Gloss Chelsea Boots

Originally $75, the Chelsea boot is 40% off right now.

$45

The original grab handle boot in pink

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

Originally $55, the original Grab Handle boot is 40% off right now.

$33

The classic gloss boot in yellow

Originally $55, the original Classic Gloss boot is 40% off right now.

$33

The camo boots

Original Little Kids Storm Camo Rain Boots

Originally $75, the camo boot is 50% off right now.

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Jessica Simpson's life seems perfect. She has three beautiful kids, a wildly successful career, a seemingly solid marriage...she has it all, at least as far as we can see. But recent revelations prove that no one really knows what anyone else is secretly dealing with—and Jessica, by her own admission, has been struggling with alcohol issues.

The singer-turned-business-woman recently sat down with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, and it will air on NBC's TODAY Wednesday morning.

"I had started a spiral and I couldn't catch up with myself…and that was with alcohol," Jessica explained. "I would say it openly to everyone. 'I know. I know, I'll stop soon. I'll cut back'," Jessica continued when asked if she realized things were getting out of control. "For me to cut back, like I'm an all or nothing girl, and so I didn't know it was a problem until it was...I completely didn't recognize myself…I always had a glitter cup. It was always filled to the rim with alcohol."

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She's hardly alone. The rise of #winemom phenomenon is well documented and many parents struggle with substance abuse problems. But Simpson's story proves there is a way to get your life back.

Simpson quit drinking in 2017 after she found herself unable to get her kids ready for a Halloween party. She says she'd started drinking before 7:30 in the morning, before accompanying her husband, Eric Johnson, to a school assembly for their oldest daughter. Later that night she was unable to get her kids dressed in their Halloween costumes. The next morning she was so ashamed. Feeling like she had failed her kids she slept until they left the house, then got up and drank some more.

That episode was her tipping point. She quit drinking (as did her husband, Eric Johnson, who supports her in her sobriety.)



As parents, we know how overwhelming the demands can be...and how easy it is to sink into habits that don't ultimately serve us well. For Jessica, the way to heal was to sever her relationship with alcohol.

"I had to give [drinking] up," Jessica said. "I'm not going to miss another day. I'm not going to miss another Halloween. I'm not going to miss another Christmas. I'm going to be present."

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Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$150

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$34.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$99.99

Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$178

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$34.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$99.99

Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.

$69.95

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!

$99

Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$30.99

Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$159.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$69.99

Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.

$159.99

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

$70

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.

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So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

Life
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