Black, Beautiful, Breastfeeding: Best for Babes Announces 2011 Covergirl, Juanita Ingram

To close out Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2010 we are pleased to announce our 2011 Covergirl, Juanita Ingram!   Juanita, who is an attorney and the 2009 Mrs. Beauties pageant winner, got in touch with us last year when she read about us in Fit Pregnancy.  We promptly featured her inspiring story of starting a workplace lactation program at her law firm and named her a Best for Babes Champion for Moms.    We urge you to read her story and get to know this incredible woman!

Best for Babes 2011 Cover Girl Juanita Ingram, JD; by Dario Impini, www.darioinfini.com

In the tradition of great fashion and lifestyle magazines like InStyle, we’re bringing you all the style secrets from the photo shoot with top photographer Dario Impini.  Dario specializes in the highest quality boudoir photography for women of all ages and sizes.  His studio is dedicated to the delicate, timeless beauty of the female form and is working with the Pink Ribbon Connection Breast Cancer organization to create a fund raising calendar–thank you Dario for bringing your artistry and creative talents to capturing the incredible gorgeousness, feminity and power of breastfeeding!    Our tip to all you breastfeeding mamas out there:  Run, don’t walk, to a great photographer in your area and get some fabulous keepsake photos to celebrate this amazing time in your and your baby’s relationship!  And join our cause so that we can some day get a Best for Babes Champion breastfeeding on the cover of Glamour, Vanity Fair or Newsweek, with a story about the urgency to break down the “Booby Traps” so that ALL moms can make an informed feeding decision and achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.

We are extremely grateful to Juanita for generously donating her time and enthusiasm to advance our mission! She is a fabulous role-model for women everywhere.

At the Cover Shoot

Who: Juanita Ingram
Where: Carmel, Indiana
What she wore: Inspired by a Harper’s Bazaar cover by Richard Avedon,  we sent Juanita a swath of stunning raw silk fabric in our signature raspberry color.  No cover-up needed for breastfeeding!
Makeup: Makeup Artist Terri Hill used a combination of MAC, Bobbi Brown and Smashbox.   Lashes are Xtreme lash extensions by Beauty N Eyes in Carmel, Indiana.
Hair: Charla at Details Express Salon in Indianapolis, Indiana.

How did the shoot go?

The shoot went really well.  There are some challenges to shooting with an infant, but breastfeeding is such a natural act that it was just a matter of timing everything perfectly to align with Baby Kynon’s desire to nurse.  I would advise others to remember that you only have a 15 to 20 minute window to capture the beauty of this act.  So keep that in mind when you are working with your photographer and making lighting or body position adjustments – you don’t want to nurse during those moments and you want to keep them to a minimum.  It is definitely a rewarding experience; you just have to work in conjunction with your baby’s nursing schedule.

How did the baby handle it?

Baby Kynon was a pro – it was just another nursing session for him.  The atmosphere was very quiet and relaxing.  My photographer even took the extra step of adjusting the temperature in the room to be warmer so that Baby Kynon was comfortable.  He actually feel asleep afterward and was very relaxed during the entire shoot.

What are your busy mom style & breastfeeding must-haves?

Well, as a full-time practicing attorney and mother of two, I tend to gravitate toward comfortable but chic apparel.  I love anything that adds a hint of glamour and sophistication, but remains simple in application because I do not have a great deal of time.  I love nursing tops and nursing bras by ASOS (www.asos.com), a UK company with a wonderful assortment of contemporary, chic, and attractive nursing and maternity attire.

One of my must have items in terms of make-up is Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit which has a concealer on top and a sheer brightening loose power on the bottom.  I just feel that the eyes are the window to the soul and the eye area can really make your face look alive and refreshed.

I also love Xtreme lash extensions because they are not damaging to your own lashes, you look effortlessly polished and you never have to worry about applying mascara in the morning.  Add some lip gloss (my favorite color is Purr by MAC) and I have a 5 minute make-up routine so I can quickly get out of the door in the morning!

In addition, I love TIGI S Factor Serious Conditioner with Sunflower Seed Oil.  I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but I have a LOT of hair.  I don’t use chemical straightening methods so I flat iron my hair quite often which can be drying.  I’ve found that TIGI S Factor Serious Conditioner is a quick way to get a deep conditioning treatment in a fraction of the time and it really helps my hair to stay moisturized and healthy.

Our inspiration for the cover shoot was this photo for Harper's Bazaar by Richard Avedon from 1952. Essence Magazine was not founded until 1968. The first time a black model appeared in a magazine was in 1961; Willette Murphy in Mademoiselle.

Lastly, as far as breast-feeding must-haves – I am attached at the hip to my Medela pump-in-style breastpump! I use it everyday while working and I absolutely love it!  (Note:  Medela is not endorsed by Best for Babes because they do not comply with the WHO Code.  Best for Babes recommends the top-quality Ameda and Hygeia breastpumps.) I also love More Milk Plus and Mother’s Milk Tea; they are a must have if you work in a high functioning high stress environment because stress can effect your supply.  (Note: The best evidence actually shows that stress will interfere with “let down,” and may lead to early weaning, but it is not responsible for lowering milk supply. )

How was it being a national pageant queen while being pregnant and then nursing?

I am so fortunate to have held a national title in the Mrs. Division and I hope that I represented all married pregnant women with integrity and class.  I just feel that maternity and motherhood are gifts that are meant to be cherished.  It was a real honor to experience the journey of motherhood for the second time around while holding a national title.  I hope it inspires other women to know that you can successfully manage career, pregnancy, motherhood and marriage if you prioritize!  I enjoyed crowning my successor this past July.  I juggled making appearances, working and nursing quite well but I am taking some time off now to just enjoy motherhood and life.  I am going to continue to compete in order to have a platform to uplift and encourage others on a larger scale.  I am actually competing for my state’s title in the Mrs. America system in the spring!  Prayerfully, I will continue to have opportunities to support wonderful organizations such as Best for Babes and to have the opportunity to encourage women everywhere to live out their dreams!

Breastfeeding rates are lowest among African-American women, and we have found it extremely difficult to find images of black moms breastfeeding—a fact we are sure contributes to a lack of cultural acceptance of nursing.   What advice would you give to expecting black moms who are the first in their families or among their friends to try breastfeeding?

This is such an important issue within the African-American community.  I would explain to her the enormous benefits breastfeeding provides to our children.  As African-American people, we have higher percentages of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and  high blood pressure – all of which are illnesses that breastfeeding protects against for children and moms.  I would also highlight the fact that breastfeeding has been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer – a disease that is the most common form of cancer for black women, and African American women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed at later stages of the disease and are more likely to die from it. Scientists are still exploring the reasons behind these trends but scientists have found a direct link between breastfeeding and a 59% decrease of breast cancer risk for women with a family history of the disease.

I would also encourage her to gather her own information to build her awareness and ignore the pressure she undoubtedly will receive from family and friends to use formula.  I can not tell you the number of times that I have received unsolicited comments and pressure from family, co-workers, and friends to stop nursing prior to 12 months and use formula.  I don’t know where the disconnect originated from but it is undoubtedly an understood cultural reality that breastfeeding is an optional afterthought.  I would tell her to focus on being the one in her family to break the cycle of formula usage and to be prepared to stand firm for the benefit of herself and her child–it is natural and the absolute best option for the child.

I do believe that it is important to see breastfeeding images that relatable for all women in order for it to become a norm.  That is why I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of BFB and to put forth an image that prayerfully will encourage women to decide to breastfeed.

Now tell us . . . what do you think of our gorgeous new covergirl?  Any questions for her, we’ll post her answers!!

Best for Babes Recommended Reading & Resources

Blacktating Blog — Check out this fantastic blog by Best for Babes Contributor Elita Kalma.

Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association — We’re honored to be speaking at the BMBA Seminar on October 25th about the New Look of Breastfeeding!

NPR:  Breastfeeding Often Avoided by Black Moms — Guest host Jennifer Ludden discusses reasons behind the low black breastfeeding statistics with Kathi Barber, author of ‘The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding:  The Definitive Guide to Nursing for African-American Mothers, Jamila Bey, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, and Dawn Porter, a television executive.

Momlogic.com — Is Slavery Why Black Women Aren’t Breastfeeding? Kimberly Sears Allers discusses the roots of low black breastfeeding rates, and the devastating impact of the aggressive marketing of infant formula on the African-American community.

The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Kathi Barber is available for purchase on Amazon.com



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