I touched down in Philadelphia just in time to celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week with one of our local chapters. If I were to tell the stories behind HOW we plan these tour stops that would be another blog in and of itself! I “met” our Philly admin, Jabina Coleman, CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) when we were introduced on Instagram earlier this year. We hit it off immediately. I deeply admire her ambitious support for breastfeeding moms in Philadelphia. She was serious about bringing this tour to her city. She even started started the local chapter of Normalize Breastfeeding in Philadelphia! The Mayor also participated in #idtNBF16 this year, which resulted the publishing of a proclamation in support of the 2nd International Day to Normalize Breastfeeding! Little did I know that only a few blocks down the street lived my best friend, Cynthony Dench, from high school. I stayed with her for the weekend and we rode the train almost everywhere that we needed to go. It was pretty cool to have such easy access to this big city.
On, Friday morning (Aug 19), I was multi-tasking (like crazy) trying to meet my deadlines for a huge project that was in process. We rode the train to the Concourse where Cynthony left me to head to work. I shopped for a bit, then headed back to her place. I met her back at the Comcast Building for lunch. I have to say it was pretty amazing. And the view was breathtaking to say the very least. I was excited about our evening plans to network at the UPPN event that Lorraine Aldridge, another close friend from high school, invited us to. It was so nice to get out and network especially since I didn’t have my kids with me. The night was great. Me and my girlfriends from high school were having a wonderful time together. We went out for some sushi and then some coffee before heading home to attempt to rest before the big event the following day. It was amazing being in the same city as my closest friends. It was also exhausting since it was so difficult to sleep when we really wanted to stay up and chat! We have all been friends for almost 20 years.
Saturday was here and the event prep was going great until I misplaced my friend’s extra house key and simultaneously realized that some of the Normalize Breastfeeding shirts that were rush ordered were to be shipped to Lorraine’s house on the edge of the city. She drove home to pick up the shirts, Cynthony was on her way back home to lock up behind me, and I was on my way to the train heading to 30th Street Station. I was stressed out for no reason at all! The shirts arrived on time and Lorraine picked them up and brought them to the event.
Interestingly enough, Lorraine was the first peer, let alone (black) woman in real life, that I had ever witnessed breastfeeding in my entire life. She was also the very first mama that I ever photographed for this project. She introduced me to world of breastfeeding and the amazing thing that is nipple cream! LOL, I remember the first time she tried to explain to me how soothing the cream would feel when she put it on. We would laugh at all of the little things that made breastfeeding worth trying.
Here she is at 30th Street Station asking her daughter what she remembered about breastfeeding. Once we started the event everything ran smoothly. 30th Street Station was beautiful! It was amazing to see all of the mamas bring so much cultural and breast milk delivery diversity to the table.
In honor of Black Breastfeeding Week, we added an additional group photo at both locations for all of the black mothers in the group.
Certified Breastfeeding (Bilingual) Counselor, Liz Chang of Pretty Mama Breastfeeding, LLC, joined us to show support for all of the mamas who came out to be photographed even though she is no longer nursing her son. This is her story:
Philly Moms Do Breastfeed, a breastfeeding mommy support group.” -Cheresa …….
I had the wonderful opportunity to document a mama using a supplemental nursing system to feed her baby donor milk and fo while she established her supply. This is her story:
We finished up and made our way to the train that would take us to the UPenn Love Park Sculpture. On the way, it was nice to capture something that Philadelphia moms can relate to: breastfeeding on public transportation.
When we arrived at the LOVE sculpture it was perfect! I knew it would help to get our message across: regardless of how you feed your baby all that matters is the love between you!
Meet Jabina, admin of our local chapter for Normalize Breastfeeding in Philadelphia. This is her story:
This lovely mama was our only mini session for the day. Her boys had lots of energy and were pretty excited once they realized that we were going to be taking pictures. Here is her story:
On Sunday morning, I had the rare opportunity to capture someone so full of beauty AND strength: a breastfeeding jiujitera. This mama not only devotes her time to her family, but she also trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu several times a week. Her four year old nursling is familiar with these surroundings, and even when mom is “wet and gross” that doesn’t stop her from requesting a quick sip of mama’s milk when she needs it!
“She’s my third, after tandem nursing twins for almost three years. This time around, it felt so special and relaxing to be just breastfeeding one! We had some rough spots – I got mastitis at 1 year and developed an abscess that needed surgery. That was partly due to working and the time pressures of my job making it hard to pump, and partly because I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and had an injury to my chest. Never thought about weaning, though. This time around, I’m going to let it come to a close gradually, in its own good time. She’s my last baby, so I’m feeling very aware of how fleeting and special these moments are.” -Ann …….
Sponsor A Participant Human Milk News graciously sponsored our tenth Philly participant and helped open the five scholarships available to moms in financial hardship. Human Milk News shares content and thoughtful opinion focused on the marketing and commoditization of human milk. Human Milk News is curated by Jodine Chase, public relations and communications consultant specializing in issues and crisis management news analysis.
You can collaborate with the #NBFtour to Sponsor a participant or Sponsor a City!
Thank you Philly mamas for nursing in public and helping to normalize breastfeeding!
Special thanks to all of the #NBFtour collaborators for helping to make this tour great!
SPONSORS: Sarah Carp, 1st grade Teacher (3) Kristyna Cleek, Studying for IBLCE (1) Greater New Orleans Breastfeeding Awareness Coalition (1) Nurse Nikki, LLC (1) The Badass Breastfeeder (2) Human Milk News (1) Laura Corsig, IBCLC (1)