#DearCinnaMoms Black History Month 2023
This February, we also said goodbye to another, our own, our dear sweet Sharen Vennette Anthony.
Our hearts are weighed by heavy losses.
Though it true, and nothing new, still we weep for those departed far too soon.
We celebrate Black History, but more than that, it is paramount we advocate for, support, and protect Black life.
As our focus narrowed to protecting Black life by focusing on health. Wanda and Janelle took us back to basics, with breastfeeding getting started in the hospital. Quality breastfeeding support (aside from the racial disparities plaguing our society) varied from hospital to hospital, long before the pandemic that turned our lives upside down.
Skin-to-skin and a good latch,
are essential for establishing one's milk supply. The right peer counselor, lactation consultant, or doula, can make all the difference in the world, and having the right team in your corner can make 'Getting started in the hospital" a more pleasant experience.
Who will you entrust to advocate for you?
For PHFE-WIC Lactation Services, please visit https://www.phfewic.org/learn-and-grow/breastfeeding/ to access Peer Counselors and Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
Are you interested in a Perinatal Health Program Connecting Black Families With Black Doulas? Contact the Frontline Doula Hotline by visiting: https://www.frontlinedoulas.com/
I want to breastfeed...
Two of the most common struggles faced by WIC families, in regards to breastfeeding, are difficulties latching, and in producing enough. First and foremost, breastfeeding should not hurt. But before even questioning our ability to produce milk, and what foods or supplements should be consumed to increase milk production, we should review how much are our babies supposed to be drinking, and how we may determine what is enough?
CinnaMoms shared a very interesting infographic, describing tummy sizes by age, during our first February gathering:
Increase stimulation--with a proper latch--to build your milk supply
We are advised to focus on demand, watch and monitor for signs of hunger. We watch the clock, only if it appears they are sleeping a little longer than they normally do, as it may be necessary to wake, to prevent frustration at the breast.
As it turns out, our baby's tummies are a lot smaller than many of us realized, and do not require 2 ounces of milk per feeding, in the the first days of life. There is a sense of security that is mentioned, when we feed from the bottle, and that is the ability to measure intake. However, the breastfeeding professionals we spoke with, shared: tracking diapers is one of the best methods to measure intake, when breastfeeding.
WIC, CinnaMoms, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization, strongly support breastfeeding as the optimal method to nourish our babies, though we too understand, sometimes it may be necessary to offer a bottle. Have you heard of Paced Bottle Feeding?
Paced Bottle Feeding, is a method of positioning the baby and bottle, in a way that slows the milk-flow, reduces excessive air intake and reduces the chances of overfeeding, as we respond to their satiety cues.
For more information regarding our babies' growth spurts, an increased need to feed, and avoiding engorgement, text: Cinna at 91997.
On February 16th, CinnaMoms met with Sheryl Huez-Meshack, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with over 15 years of field experience, working with mental health. The focus today:
Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and Baby Blues
In 2020, the CDC reported a recent study noting
1 in 8 women experience symptoms, associated with Postpartum Depression (Bauman et al, 575-81). How can something so common, remain a taboo topic of discussion.
So what is Postpartum Depression (PPD), what does it look like?
Feeling like not yourself
Excessive sadness/ frequent crying
Withdrawing from supportive people
Regrets after having a baby, feeling “disconnected” from baby
Afraid of losing control, quick to anger, feeling like you can’t “shake off the bad feelings”
Feeling afraid to be alone with your baby
Unnsual sleeplessness/ restlessness
Scary/ unwanted thoughts
Feeling hopeless/ helpless
PPD is Normal and More Common Than we Realize
We simply do not talk about it, and as Sheryl explains, Postpartum Anxiety occurs in 11-21% of women, and is associated with:
Excessive worry and/or fears (feeling consumed by it
Difficulty feeling reassured
Difficulty sleeping (restless, long periods of being awake, going in/out of sleep)
Irrational fears (constant sense of danger)
May experience racing heart
Are you experiencing weepiness, impatience, irritability, mood changes, and are having difficulties concentrating? These are all signs of Baby Blues; reported in 70-80% of women, usually last about 14 days and is typical, due to hormonal changes.
Additional Work is Needed
Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color, face many (among many others) postpartum challenges when dealing with Perinatal or Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. It is reported, BIWOC are twice as like to experience, are underreported, find unequal access--due to underrepresentation--to healthcare, and receive unequal care.
Come, join WIC and CinnaMoms, as we continue to work towards racial equity, and social justice; reducing Black infant and maternal death rates, and support not only breastfeeding/chestfeeding, but parenting and health for the entire life course.
For continued support, ideas for self-care and other resources, text: Cinna at 91997
Bauman BL, Ko JY, Cox S, et al. Vital Signs: Postpartum Depressive Symptoms and Provider Discussions About Perinatal Depression — United States, 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:575–581. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919a2external icon.