Black Breastfeeding Week Brunch

It’s that time again.

When I flood your timeline with photos, blog posts, and articles about Black Breastfeeding Week…and why it’s needed. If you aren’t familiar with this week, and the desperate need for it, read up on it here.

Now that that’s out the way, let’s celebrate. You see, I was hesitant to host a Black Breastfeeding Week Brunch at my home for several reasons.

Would anyone come? Would too many come, and I wouldn’t have enough room? Will they enjoy the informal get together (because I don’t have a thing planned 🤣)?

But guess what? I decided to do it. I promoted it in various spaces online, and I personally invited some friends. These ladies showed up and showed out — including some new breastfriends!

This year’s theme was #LoveOnTop, and from the Black Breastfeeding Week website, here’s why that was chosen:

“This year, we say #LoveOnTop because love encompasses everything we do as parents from breastfeeding to nurturing others. Love is also how we survive grief, overcome breastfeeding and parenting challenges and why we practice good self-care. This year we invite you, your family and your community to put Love on Top of it all!”

We couldn’t leave out an important component of the theme — remembering the babies that are no longer with us. I invited any of the moms who lost their little one, whether they made it earth side or not, to write their names on a card and light of candle in memory of them. A child is never forgotten in a mom’s heart.

9 Kids, Every Year.

9 Kids.

Every year, in MY zip code in South Florida, 9 kids are removed from their homes and families!*

Now.  When I moved here a little over a year ago, it was by God’s grace that we found this beautiful home and were able to afford it. Let me give you a few facts about where I live:

 

  • My City’s Median Income: $71,000+ (compared to the US’ $65,000+)
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (compared to the US’s 5.2%)
  • Crime Rate: 16 (On a scale from 1 – 100, the US’s average is 31)
  • Education: 35% of Citizens hold 4-year degrees (29% of the US does)
  • Median Value of a Home: $313,000

 

I know those are just numbers, but it gives you a glimpse into my neighborhood. Like many, when we looked to buy a home, our first concern was LOCATION and SCHOOLS. My kids go to public school, and I want my home to be an investment.  Whether you agree with the public school ratings or not, living in a zone with A-rated schools, almost guarantees that your home’s value will increase over time.  It ALSO means that the cost of homes would be almost out of reach for us.

Stay with me here.

Its easy to look at our neighbors, our kid’s friends at school, the people we shop in grocery stores with, and those whom we attend church with…and think, “Wow, 9 kids will be taken from their homes before 2018 is over.”

Not to mention, less than 30 minutes from where I live, two neighboring zip codes have the highest rates of removal with over 100+ kids being removed each year.

Where will they go?? According to 4Kids — a non-profit child welfare agency, they will be placed in shelters, group homes, foster care families, and independent living homes.  They started the #CloseToHome4Kids social media Campaign, to bring light to this crisis.  Will you make a donation today?  Are you will to take the next step to fostering a child?

We did.  We are foster parents, and we’ll never regret the impact it’s made in our lives!

*According to 4Kids website.

What’s Working Out — What’s Not?

We’re almost done with the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. It’s Day 6 and today we’re talking about what is working and what isn’t.

Since I’m up before the kids, watching The Royal Wedding right now as I type this…

This year, though I have only 1 in diapers like I did last year (but was pregnant), I have 2 additional kids than last year! I also challenged myself this year, to wash “after work hours,” to simulate what it would be like for a working mom with kids or a single, working mom with kids.

Let’s start with “what isn’t working?”

Even though my wash routine takes less than 30 minutes, I wait until after I’ve eaten dinner with the kids, after they’ve done H.W., after they’ve showered and after they’ve gone to bed. That’s somewhere between 9pm – 10pm. That would usually be the time I hurry to the shower myself and hop into bed before the baby wakes again…because, well, he never sleeps longer than 2-3 hour stretches. I won’t lie. It’s been tough and takes discipline to get up and handwash diapers at that time. Essentially, I have enough diapers that I wouldn’t have to handwash everyday, but allowing them to pile up would make the washing process longer when I got around to it. So technically, I’m making it work but I won’t lie to ya, it isn’t easy!

Time is money and money is time. You either would need the money to buy disposables or in this case, make the time to handwash cloth diapers.

What is working?

As silly as it sounds, our Flats and FSTs are working. They always have and they always will! That’s why we’ve used these diapers before the challenge and will continue after. They’re easy and cheap!

I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival

Are You Willing To Help??

It’s Day 5 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, and this is an “Open Topic” day.

Thank goodness, because I have A LOT to say!

The whole purpose of this Challenge was to not only show parents, that cloth diapering without a washer / dryer, is possible…but that it can be done with limited resources, including the expensive upfront costs of cloth diapering. With “budget” stashes costing $40-100, that’s still money that some do not have readily available.  So what’s the next option?  Well. Apparently there are non-profit, cloth diaper banks that will loan families a small stash to use, then return either when they’ve acquired their own stash or when their child has potty trained.  The only requirement is, usually, proof that you’re receiving some type of government aid. I’ve spent 3 years pointing families to these organizations.  I also recently found out that these organizations are turning parents away and / or making it difficult to obtain approval for a stash!!

Why?!  Here’s some of the reasons I’ve heard from parents:

  • I had twins and couldn’t afford diapers, but wasn’t approved because I (mom) wasn’t a U.S. citizen.
  • It was a lengthy application process that also wanted me to write and submit a 2 paragraph essay before considering me
  • I couldn’t apply because I couldn’t afford the $40 shipping charge for them to send me the diapers
  • They’re no longer accepting applications
  • I applied and I never heard anything back

WHAT?!?!? Soooo…they pretty much “weed out” the obvious people who are TRULY IN NEED of cloth diapers, and provide these loaner stashes to the privileged few??

GroVia, the company that moms love to buy because they’re “ethically made” (whatever that means)…well their lending program, GroVia Gives, charges families a MINIMUM of $40 to borrow the diapers, only crediting them $20 to be used to purchase their own diapers upon receiving the stash back. If a family can afford $40, I can provide them an entire stash to KEEP!

Other organizations are saying they’re no longer accepting applications because they don’t have enough diapers. But I’m confused. Because this same non-profit, flat out refuses to accept Alvas, Sunbaby Diapers, Happy Flute, or any other brands that are directly made in China ::GASP::  Apparently those diapers aren’t “deemed” safe and / or compliant, but the jeans and shoes and disposable diapers with chemicals in them, are ok to touch babies???

So what have I done to help??

For the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve personally collected and bought inexpensive cloth diapers, sanitized them, and stored them in bins in my home.  When I hear of a family in need, I have them personally pick up or I ship a small stash to them, using my own dollars…no questions asked.  If someone can go as far as swallowing their pride and ASKING for help with diapers, surely they need the help.  I trust them to return the diapers when their done with them, and ship back.

What can you do to help??

If you’d like to send a monetary donation, feel free to send it to PayPal Donation to Alyson

I’m also happy to take ANY working diaper donations, shipped to my home.  Comment below or contact me via Facebook.

I’m participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge – Take 3

I can’t believe it’s been a year already, since the last Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  I remember being uncomfortably pregnant, in a new home with stairs…handwashing our diapers upstairs, and dragging them downstairs with my big belly.  But here we are again, and I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to do it all over again (this time, NOT PREGNANT)!

It begins Monday morning, May 14th, and will last a week, through Sunday, May 20th.  I’ll be blogging each day, and go into more detail (on Monday) about WHY I choose to do this challenge every year.

WHAT IS THIS FLATS AND HANDWASHING CHALLENGE YOU SPEAK OF??

For one week, I’ll give up my washer and dryer, and “hand wash” all of my cloth diapers.  I’ll also opt to use Flat diapers, homemade diapers and diaper covers, which are the most cost effective and QUICKEST drying cloth diapers available.  Essentially, the goal is to bring awareness to cloth diapering AND show parents that cloth diapering is possible for little to no money, AND without a washer or dryer!

Would you like to participate this year?  What do you think will be the hardest part?