Breastfeeding seminars

Chicago’s South Side Birthing Center Celebrates Black Breastfeeding Week with First ‘Latch and Stroll’ Event

Taylor King held her 21-month-old son, Sterling King, as he took a nap in a tent in Jackson Park on Saturday as she recalled what it was like to have to drive 40 minutes from her home in the south of Chicago until she gave birth. center where Sterling was born in 2020.

King made the 40-minute ride three times that day during labor after being told she was not yet dilated enough and had to go home and then back.

What made the experience as a first-time mother easier, she said, was having a support system and resources rooted in the black community at her disposal, such as the Chicago South Side Birth Center and its founder and chief steward, Jeanine Valrie Logan, who was King’s midwife.

“I live on the South Side of Chicago, but the birth center where she (Jeanine) was was on the West Side,” King said. “I had to travel 40 minutes just to be seen by a medical professional, so now I’m here to raise awareness and advocate for other black and brown moms who are on the south side and don’t have enough resources.”

King was attending the Chicago South Side Birth Center’s first “Latch and Stroll” event on Saturday to commemorate the 10th year of Black Breastfeeding Week. The event brought about 50 people, a mix of parents and their children, to Jackson Park to enjoy a walk in the park with family and friends as well as other tents and tables set up around the grass with food, resources and activities like a yoga session, painting and a breastfeeding workshop.

Valrie Logan said the goal was to raise awareness and provide resources to the community about breastfeeding and general wellness surrounding pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum.

She said she hopes to continue hosting this event during Black Breastfeeding Week every year and hopes the event will only get bigger and better for the communities that need it.

Anya Tanya Vutti is the Executive Director of Chicago Volunteer Doulas, an organization that supports “vulnerable communities” in the city, she said. Valrie Logan was previously a doula with the organization, she said, and she was out on Saturday to support Valrie Logan’s Birthing Center and Breastfeeding Event.

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Tanya Vutti said black and brown communities concentrated in South Chicago are disproportionately affected by the lack of resources, and that it is “everyone has the right to have access to high-quality health care and culturally compliant who feel safe, informed and representative”.

“I’m really happy that this gap is closed and this injustice is corrected on the south side,” said Tanya Vutti.

The South Side Birth Center was launched by Valrie Logan last June. They are in the process of being officially recognized as a non-profit organization, and she announced to the crowd gathered on Saturday that the birthing center has found a building at South Stony Island Avenue and East 84th Street, where they hope to move in d by the end of the next year. A fundraiser was also launched with the goal of raising $400,000 in 90 days to secure the building.

The birthing center will offer health care during pregnancy, delivery rooms and postpartum care as well as other gynecological and reproductive care and more, Valrie Logan said.

Valrie Logan has been a qualified midwife for three years and works at the PCC South Family Health Center in Berwyn. Before that, she worked as a doula for 10 years.

Valrie Logan said the impetus for the Chicago South Side Birth Center was the labor and delivery of her last daughter. She had to travel to Berwyn, a trip that took an hour and 40 minutes.

“I was in labor,” she said. “People deserve to be able to get care in their community. People deserve to have babies in their neighborhood.