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Mike Bloomberg's plan for the maternal health crisis looks familiar

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

As a latecomer to the 2020 presidential race, Democratic hopeful Mike Bloomberg has some catching up to do. Many of the other candidates have spent more than a year rolling out their policy plans, including proposals on how to solve America's crisis of rising maternal mortality rate, particularly among African American mothers.

This week Bloomberg jumped on that admirable bandwagon, announcing his maternal mortality crisis initiatives in Montgomery, Alabama.

"In the greatest and wealthiest country in the world, we cannot accept the disgraceful racial inequality in maternal health care that exists in Alabama and across the country," the former mayor of New York said in a press release. "As president, I will make ending that inequality and improving health care for African American women a top priority—and the plan I am announcing today will help us do it."

Maternal health care needs to be a priority for politicians at all levels because black women in America are 3-4 times more likely to die after childbirth than white women. Late in 2018, the president signed the bipartisan Preventing Maternal Deaths Act into law, expanding funding for programs to review why so many women are dying.

And in late 2019 President Trump signed a bill funding a Maternal Mental Health Interagency Task Force. It will see The Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency create a task force of various federal agencies and will detail the roles each agency can play in addressing maternal mental health in a report expected in June 2020.

That is just a few months before America will decide its next President, and most of the Democratic presidential hopefuls want to see even more done to address the maternal health crisis. They've mentioned the issue on the debate stage and on the campaign trail.

Kamala Harris is out of the race now, but her efforts during her run for the presidency included the reintroduction of her 2018 Maternal CARE Act, aiming to create grants to ensure black mothers have access to maternal care and that healthcare providers are trained to avoid the kind of bias that can kill black mothers. Like Harris, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker have been very vocal about the issue, and both have written op-eds for Essence magazine detailing their plans.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says his plan for America would follow California's lead. While the rest of the country has seen maternal mortality increase in recent years, California has seen its overall maternal mortality drop by 55% between 2006 to 2013 (but black moms are still at an increased risk there).

Andrew Yang's health care plan includes investing "in implicit bias training for healthcare providers to ensure Black women receive life-saving maternal care," and full coverage of all maternity costs.

Pete Buttigieg's plan for improving rural health care includes the expansion of mothers' Medicaid coverage one year postpartum (it is currently 60 days), and Senator Bernie Sanders has explained that he intends to address racial disparities in maternal health care through Medicare For All. In a statement to SELF, his campaign explained that if elected, Sanders' would "require the Department of Health to conduct an evaluation of health disparities, including racial and geographic disparities, and to submit a plan to Congress for addressing the disparities found in the evaluation."

Bloomberg's newly released plan includes requiring doctors to undergo training to understand and fight implicit bias in medicine. It will standardize maternal mortality collection at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and use the data to establish programs that will help clinicians to identify risks. It provides a free public option insurance plan for low-income women who live in states (like Alabama) that haven't expanded Medicaid and are currently only able to get coverage for 60 days after giving birth. The billionaire also plans to expand funding for medical schools at historically black colleges and universities, and to offer loan repayment for doctors who choose to practice in underserved areas of the country.

The details of each candidates' plans are different, but they don't differ very much from each other in their mission—and that's a great sign. If they can agree that America's mothers need change, hopefully we can get closer to achieving it.

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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