Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 2012 Breastfeeding Mother of Color of the Month: Chanel Grayson-Strong

Yes, it is March and we are so happy to introduce to you our MARCH BREASTFEEDING MOTHER OF COLOR OF THE MONTH!  She is another mother of multiples and we chose her because she is still breastfeeding while teaching full-time.  Many times we hear how difficult it is to pump working as an educator especially in public schools where your time is constantly demanded.  Chanel Grayson-Strong still finds the time and energy to work through all of that and provide her twins with enough breastmilk everyday.  She has a very stressful job and runs home to nurse and cuddle with them.  We salute Chanel in her breastfeeding endeavors and thank her for her dedication to providing her babies the nourishment they need.  Let's give a round of applause to...

Name  Chanel Grayson-Strong
Profession  High School Teacher

Children & Ages  Boy/Girl Twins (7 months)

How long have you been breastfeeding?  7 months and still going STRONG!!

How did you know to breastfeed?  I family and friends that breastfed and insisted that I did as well.  I was explained the benefits by my doctors, family members, and friends.

Please explain to us your overall breastfeeding experience.  My overall breastfeeding experience has been positive.  I set realistic expectations and I knew that it was an experience with benefits for both myself and my children that I wanted to provide.

How are you inspired by your breastfeeding experience?  I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  I was really adamant about it.  When I make up my mind that I want to do something because it’s most beneficial for my family’s well being, I stop at nothing until it is accomplished.  So even though I was met with some breastfeeding challenges early on, I enlisted the help of two lactation specialists, a host of friends that breastfeed, and I made a schedule, got into a routine, positioned the babies so that we were all comfortable, and just set my mind to do it.  It has been a wonderful bonding experience for us all.

Were there any obstacles you had to overcome during your breastfeeding experience?   Yes, in the very beginning, my son had issues with latching, sucking, and reflux.  Also, my milk did not fully come in until 10 days after delivery.  This was my biggest challenge, but with a little patience and persistence, everything worked out and both babies are avid nursers.

How do you think being a Mother of Color affects your breastfeeding experience?   I think that most people don’t expect to see a mother of color breastfeeding.  People automatically assume that you will give your baby formula.  Especially in my case, since I had two, but I knew a mother who exclusively breastfeed her twins, so I knew that it was possible and I wanted to do it.  On the flip side, I know that women of color all around the world, especially in third world countries, have no other options but to breastfeed so it really shouldn’t be a stigma that is placed based on race.

What are some of the ways you inspire other mothers to breastfeed and get the word of encouragement out in the community?   First, I always ask and respect a mother’s choice.  I share the advantages/benefits of breastfeeding and my own personal experience.  I always give breastfeeding gifts at baby showers, such as a nursing pillow and mother’s milk tea.

Chanel Grayson-Strong lives in Chicago with her very supportive husband and their STRONG 7 month old twins.  She is a very passionate high school English teacher that finds time to pump enough milk for her babies while educating inner-city teenagers.  Chanel is a graduate of the University of Iowa and received her Master's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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