By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
For Rauslyn Myree-Davis, a Birmingham resident and social worker by training, joining a group that helps mothers was a natural.
Davis is a member of Chocolate Milk Mommies (CMM), a group founded in 2017 that serves as a sisterhood offering community support and educational resources that promote the benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk for both mother and child. The group believes “Breastfeeding is a mother’s choice. It’s not dirty [or] shameful, and [it] should … be done in a way that reflects [the comfort levels] of mommy and baby.”
Davis, a 27-year-old Huffman High School grad, joined CMM because she wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself.
“We strive to help our mothers live happy, successful lives beyond breastfeeding. … If a mother needs something and we have the resources, we make them available,” said Davis, who has a 2-year-old son, Zamir, and newborn daughter, Zuri (born May 3) with her husband, Julian.
“I love helping people and, naturally, helping women that look like me has always been a passion. CMM has given the women we meet a bigger voice because breastfeeding is so taboo in our culture.”
Davis is a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) graduate, who holds both Bachelor of Science and social work degrees. She also is a prevention specialist at the Aletheia House as a Chemical Dependency Counselor, helping others from a personal and professional vantage point.
“I definitely feel my skills are valuable when it comes to addressing mental health [and other issues] for women of color,” she said. “I, myself, have suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and depression, so I incorporate what I know from personal experience and from a level of expertise to help mothers combat issues.”
Even before joining the ladies of CMM, Davis was an advocate of breastfeeding.
“It provides superior nutritional content, aids in immunological protection, and improves cognitive outcomes for [infants],” she said, adding that for mothers, breastfeeding offers protection against “… cardiovascular disease, premenopausal breast cancer, osteoporosis, and epithelial ovarian cancer.”
CMM strives to connect mothers to low-cost birth workers to provide access to high-quality health care, mental health, and social wellness services, and create support systems for stable child development.
“Our overall goal is to open a birthing center in the state of Alabama and provide the proper resources necessary to reduce health disparities in women of color,” Davis said, adding that the group offers hospital and/or home visits to provide lactation support.
“We respond to moms about breastfeeding issues through social media, [Facebook and Instagram], email, and personal means of communication. [We also have] monthly meet-ups are at two convenient locations, providing resources in low-income areas to mothers in need.”
CMM meets the first Monday of each month at UAB Medical West in Bessemer and every second Monday of each month at East Lake United Methodist Church; gatherings at both locations begin at 5 p.m.
Learn more about CMM on Facebook and Instagram @ChocolateMilkMommies.
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