On Saturday, August 29, in Bed-Stuy, around 30 new mothers (and some fathers) gathered at 375 Stuyvesant Avenue in Bed-Stuy to participate in the first-ever nationally coordinated “Lift Up” of their babies.
At exactly 3:00 EST, these local parents, along with new moms in Atlanta, Detroit and Charlotte united in power on the same day at the very same time to lift up every baby high in the air!
Hosted by by Ancient Song Doula Services, with support from the NYC Center for Health Equity, the Brooklyn Breastfeeding Empowerment Zone and the office of New York City Councilmember Robert Cornegy, this first-of-its-kind event was a way to visually demonstrate that black families support and cherish their babies and lift them up in many ways, including breastfeeding.
A few fathers also were present, including Brother Shakeem, who admitted that initially, he was unsure of what role he was supposed to play in supporting his wife through the challenges of breastfeeding. But, he said, that just being present and offering words of encouragement was key:
“As a result of that, we’ve been able to successfully breastfeed our daughter for 15 months,” said Shahkeem. “Since then, it has put me in the position to inform other men, to let them know we can support our women in this capacity. Events like this will help change the mindset in this country around our role as men.”
Chanel Porchia-Albert, founder and executive director of Ancient Song Doula Services, said it was important that ASDS take the lead in sponsoring the Brooklyn contingent of the “Baby Lift,” as doulas are the ones that make the initial contact with the mother that has just delivered. And where often times, hospitals don’t have the time or staff to guide new mothers through the initial steps of breastfeeding, doulas can help them through process while also provide an ongoing support system.
“I see you and I acknowledge you, because I was one of those Brooklyn mommies utilizing those services of community based organizations,” said Sharon Marshal-Taylor, program manager of the Brooklyn Breastfeeding Empowerment Zone, addressing the members of Ancient Song Doula Services. “And so I know the value and the power of what you do and the fact that you put in the sweat equity. So I’m just so thrilled to be able to in just little ways to support you in doing this work.”