Support Up Close: A Great Place to Be
BirthMatters and PASOs have partnered to provide a variety of supports and resources for breastfeeding families in Spartanburg!
Written by: Jamarius Collins, BirthMatters Community Doula
A stigma in the world’s most developed country has led birthing people to believe it is socially unacceptable to nurture their babies organically past six months. Why do birthing people fear what society will think of them? Why is there such a crippling fear that one must leave an establishment they occasionally patronize should they need to care for their child publicly? Why has society been conditioned to believe that children relying on their parents will cause them to be dysfunctional if they are not “independent” at an early age? The answers are not always black and white. There are often gray areas in answering these questions. As a result of this unfortunate stigma, birthing people are expected to abandon the most effective practice scientifically proven to grow children of the future, allowing them to thrive, develop properly, and become more intelligent. What is this excellent practice, one asks? Simply put – it is Breast or Chestfeeding!
So, how do we shatter the stigmas that have affected our society and communities? We bust these myths with the great works of community organizations, community health workers, community doulas, Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, Lactation Consultants, and IBCLCs that have boots on the ground doing the work and supporting our lactating families in our communities. Two organizations that motivate, inspire, and support our families on their journeys to nurturing their children are BirthMatters and PASOs.
BirthMatters and PASOS have come together to support the communities most vulnerable to stigmas surrounding Breast/Chestfeeding and families in the Spartanburg community by offering nursing support to families that have nursed, are nursing, and those that are expecting and would like to know more about lactation before their precious bundle of joy arrives. Support, information, and a variety of educational opportunities are also offered to families that have chosen alternative ways to nurture their babies, such as formula feeding or giving breastmilk via a bottle. We believe slowing down to bottle feed will increase attachment by holding the baby close and increasing eye contact.
We want to provide a safe space for ALL families and welcome families of all races, colors, and creeds, no matter their choice of nurturing their child.
Both organizations work to provide culturally congruent education and care to families with the use of community health workers (CHWs), doulas, and lactation specialists. In addition, these two organizations have formed support groups that meet once monthly to provide a safe space for families to nurture their growing babies peacefully with other like-minded individuals. These groups allow families to ask questions concerning their growing baby, connect with other families, and even get assistance with breast and/or formula feeding.
March 1, 2023, was the official kick-off to our first support session at BirthMatters with 9 participants.
We look forward to our upcoming session on April 12!
March 15, 2023, was the official kick-off to our first support session for PASOS, with 12 participants.
We look forward go our next session on April 21!
BirthMatters has been afforded this incredible opportunity by acquiring funding from our funder and supporter – The Mary Black Foundation. Because of collaboration with The Mary Black Foundation, BirthMatters has been awarded a grant to aid in the removal of cultural and financial barriers and fill the gaps in supporting both nursing and non-nursing individuals; building a greater community and facilitating babies nursing beyond the 3-6 month mark if the family desires to do so. Because of the support from The Mary Black Foundation, our initiative is bringing healthier outcomes to Spartanburg County and better awareness and support for our families in this beautiful community.
If not for the fantastic partnership and teamwork with The Mary Black Foundation, we would not be able to have such a successful movement today. We are grateful for the support of our funding partners and look forward to continuing to build a greater Spartanburg Community through our support groups. Because of this up-close support, there is no better place to be.