Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, CNM, MSN, MSEd is a nurse-midwife and innovative culture worker leveraging digital media to impact health and parenting. Clinically, she cares for women across the life span as a nurse-midwife at an independent birth center. Anayah also writes, speaks and consults with organizations on using social media to deepen community building and leverage social change. Anayah is a co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week, co-editor of Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers (Praeclarus Press) and Program Associate with MomsRising. Her work has been written about on Salon.com, HuffPost, Ms. Magazine, mater mea, MyBrownBaby and Think Progress. Anayah is a graduate of Yale University and Vassar College. She is a wife and mother to two curious and agile boys.
Blog Post List
April 18, 2019
As midwife Jennie Joseph writes, “mothers can suffer and experience the effects of being in a living, breathing, materno-toxic zone all of their own, based on other people’s response or reaction to their race, socio-economic status, citizenship or by being “othered” while pregnant, delivering their baby or in the postpartum year, regardless of location.”
August 1, 2015
And we’re off with National Breastfeeding Month 2015! Where conversations about breastfeeding normally start with infant feeding choices, this year’s events begin with attention to a critical factor affecting that choice: paid family leave. Convention suggests that by providing parents with information about the benefits of breastfeeding, persuasive infographics comparing human milk and artificial formula, photos of celebrities and ordinary sheroes bonding with their infants through breastfeeding despite their personal challenges, new mothers will be overcome with inspiration to keep their...
February 12, 2015
The changemakers featured in this blog carnival are creating a national groundswell for breastfeeding by leading from within their communities and affirming Black families with skill, training, socio-cultural relevance and collaboration.
January 23, 2015
For-profit corporation Medolac has announced the cessation of their plans to launch a Mothers Milk Co-op in Detroit, Michigan in response to breastfeeding activists’ demands for public accountability. As a Clinton Global Initiative to increase breastfeeding and economic empowerment in Detroit, Medolac announced its plans to establish a Mothers Milk Coop. Under its plan, the Co-op would pay mothers $1/ounce for their breastmilk, which would be sold to hospital NICUs for $7/ounce. Details of the proposed plan were made public in a New York Times Motherlode piece , which generated concern about...
January 12, 2015
What is the value of breastfeeding? The answer to this question usually includes a rundown of the myriad health benefits for mothers and children, reduced healthcare costs or the intangible emotional connection nurtured in the mother-infant dyad. Now, a new program by a company called Medolac has given it a dollar amount: $1/ounce. According to a New York Times Motherlode Op-Ed by Kimberly Seals Allers , the Oregon-based company with support from the Clinton Global Initiative and high-profile institutions, has created a program they claim will increase Detroit’s African-American breastfeeding...
September 2, 2014
A provision was added to the Affordable Care Act in 2010 requiring that employers “provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child...and a place, other than a bathroom...which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” The health benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers is widely known. Did you know that employers benefit, too?
February 14, 2014
[ View the story "Where is the love for #BlkBfing?" on Storify ]
February 8, 2014
The #BlkBfing chat is back on 2/12 at 7 PM ET with a powerful conversation on the hidden importance of support for successful breastfeeding from family support and nursing in stores to workplace pumping and family leave. The chat is hosted by MomsRising , Ebony.com , mater mea and Women's eNews . Our guests and co-sponsors include: Breastfeeding ROSE Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association HealthConnect One Mocha Manual They will address questions like, "What should a bfing woman know to prepare for returning to work or school?" and "What should a significant other know about sex during the...
January 3, 2014
Massachusetts hospitals banned formula company discharge bags Last year, we saw important advancements in creating the cultural shift needed for families to establish and maintain breastfeeding. In 2013, there was greater visibility of the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law and a spotlight on coverage for breast pumps and lactation support under the Affordable Care Act. With the building momentum for paid family leave through the FAMILY Act , we are stepping into 2014 with strong determination. One of 2013’s best kept secret breastfeeding wins, was the announcement that “the vast majority...
November 13, 2013
Great news! Last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will make it easier for California moms to start and continue breastfeeding their newborns. Specifically, the bill requires that by 2025, all hospitals in California delivering babies must implement common sense policies that greatly increase the number of breastfeeding mothers across income and race. These policies include practices such as helping mothers start breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and providing referrals for breastfeeding support when mothers are discharged. California mothers want and need this...
August 25, 2013
Just when you thought the breastfeeding festivities were winding down, Black Breastfeeding Week is turning it up! This National Breastfeeding Month is going out with a bang as we launch the First Annual Black Breastfeeding Week going from Sunday August 25th-31st. In response to a piece by journalist and breastfeeding advocate Kimberly Seals Allers on the need for more diverse leadership in the national conversation of breastfeeding promotion, a group of advocates are rolling up their sleeves to get busy. One major aim of Black Breastfeeding Week is to position the conversation on...
August 1, 2013
Here’s a spin on National Breastfeeding Month: activism! August is National Breastfeeding Month and August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week , which is a time to advance breastfeeding as part of the country’s larger healthcare agenda. Throughout the month, MomsRising.org will collaborate with other groups to advocate for a society that is more supportive of breastfeeding. Join us! One event we’re really excited to present bridges the gap between celebrating breastfeeding and moving the country forward with breastfeeding-friendly policies. “Action for the Summer Recess” is a free, live webinar...
July 3, 2013
In a match up between moms and junk food, the USDA has weighed in , and... MOMS WIN! You did it! Moms raised their voices and were heard. Healthier school snack choices for kids are on their way! Take a quick moment to sign our thank you note to the USDA for listening to moms and backing Smart Snacks now by clicking here. The USDA recently announced that it will put in place updated nutrition standards for snack food and beverage items sold through school cafeterias, vending machines and snack bars so that kids will have healthy options for snacks in schools. Moms are a powerful force. Thanks...
May 22, 2013
This Father’s Day, we’re pulling back the curtains to reveal a side of father’s work that is rarely shown. We’re highlighting fathers who have or wanted to take time off from work to help their family establish a strong foundation, including a solid start with breastfeeding. After the birth of our first child, those days were colored with our excitement, naivete, and grueling sleep-deprivation - the hazing of new parents. I felt like a zombie after weeks of waking to nurse and burp the baby every 2-3 hours. I was commended all around for breastfeeding our son, but (c) Toshimasa Ishibashi the...
April 25, 2013
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health recently launched the It’s Only Natural resource to support mothers. The videos, photos and some of the content has a specific focus on African-American moms and for good reason. By now, you may be aware of the fact that breastfeeding can be a preventative measure against conditions that overwhelmingly affect African-Americans, including diabetes, asthma and breast and ovarian cancers. One of the primary recommendations from black breastfeeding advocates to make significant strides in this effort is for more diverse...
April 24, 2013
I vividly remember my high school prom. We were dressed like adults and many anticipated the chance to play the part. Do you remember the scene: doey-eyed teenagers and whispers of all the possible places to spend the rest of the night without adult supervision? For young people, the energy of the night is electric and unforgettable. They will make decisions that night that can have life-altering consequences. Their judgement should not be influenced by music that encourages violence and promotes rape. The musician Chief Keef is a Chicago rapper who has received national attention for his...
March 5, 2013
What do children eat in school? Probably not what you think. Research shows that 40 percent of students buy and eat snack foods at school in a typical day. When schools sell unhealthy snacks and drinks outside of meals, it can cause kids to eat less of their lunch, consume more fat, take in fewer nutrients, and gain weight. It doesn’t have to be this way! New proposed USDA nutritional standards for “competitive foods,” foods that are sold in schools through vending machines, a la carte lines, and school stores, would help get junk foods out of schools and keep kids eating healthy even when...
February 26, 2013
When it comes to breastfeeding, major media outlets have pretty much decided that it’s a leisurely activity that some women may engage for their entertainment. Seriously, discussions of the topic are deemed newsworthy by the extent of controversy they create. Last year, there was this thing with Time magazine exoticing extended breastfeeding, there was this thing about the breastfeeding doll , and numerous op-ed pieces debating whether or not breastfeeding and its proponents were anti-feminist. The trouble with controversy dictating the terms of public discussion about breastfeeding is that...
December 21, 2012
The thing about holiday travel is that no matter how fabulous or ordinary your destination you’re probably uprooting yourself from your normal foodscape. It won’t be as convenient to plan your family’s meals as it is on daily basis. Add to that the food personalities of your family members. There may be a toddler with their particular nutritional needs and “selective” palates (our 2.5 year old has declared this a bread week). Perhaps there’s a breastfeeding or pumping mother to consider. Your surroundings may change, but your commitment to nurturing your family with healthful meals will not...
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