Danielle Freeman, LPN, IBCLC
Danielle Freeman is a Licensed Practical Nurse, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the owner and founder of Milkin’ Melanin Lactation Services LLC. She is a Board Member for the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition assisting employers to become breastfeeding friendly, guiding prospective IBCLC candidates that identify as BIPOC through the process of getting credentialed, and managing the CBC’s social media platforms and CT's ZipMilk directory.
Her love for supporting moms and babies was born when she was recruited to become a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor in November 2018 after having breastfed her own children. She has since worked with hundreds of women helping them to establish and reach their breastfeeding goals. She is extremely passionate about the support she provides and believes in equitable, collaborative care.
Danielle is married and has three amazing children who were all breastfed. The lack of professional support when nursing her own children, was an additional motivating factor for creating Milkin’ Melanin Lactation Services. She wants to be able to provide the support that she did not receive.
Tanika Eaves, PhD, LCSW, IMH-E
Dr. Eaves is an Assistant Professor of Social Work, Fairfield University Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies. Dr. Eaves has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fairfield University, a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Science from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Eaves has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for over 20 years, and holds the CT Association for Infant Mental Health Endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Specialist. Her professional experience includes: child and family guidance clinics, early intervention programs, early childhood mental health consultation, policy work, parent-infant psychotherapy, and training/consultation with home visiting clinicians. Dr. Eaves has two publications regarding family leave and maternal child health policy in Family Systems (2021), and the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health (2022). Dr. Eaves’ research platform focuses on infant-family workforce well-being and the lived experience of community-based perinatal care providers serving pregnant and parenting BIPOC individuals, families and communities.
Autumn Cloud-Ingram, LCSW, C-CCE
Autumn truly enjoys supporting families and helping them to adapt to the challenges of parenthood. Autumn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Parent Educator in Circle of Security-Parenting and The Positive Parenting Program, Certified Childbirth Educator, and Evidence Based Birth® Instructor, and full spectrum doula. In addition, Autumn is a strong advocate for maternal mental health and improving birth outcomes. Autumn is the founder of ParenTechnique, LLC which provides therapy to families in the perinatal period as well as childbirth and postpartum education and consultation. She also loves empowering families through pregnancy and birth by teaching the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class. Her passion lies in reproductive justice and improving health outcomes by changing the healthcare system for birthing people and their babies. Autumn continues to serve as an advocate for evidence-based pregnancy and postpartum care and educating families on their right to informed consent. Autumn is currently the chair of Postpartum Support International’s Connecticut Chapter Resource and professional Development Committee. Autumn’s organization, ParenTechnique, LLC is the founder of
The Perinatal L.A.B. Collective.
Shamica Frasier, CLC, CD
Shamica Frasier is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Speaker and
Founder of New Birth Journey LLC. She’s on a mission to equip women with proper support
and knowledge throughout the birth and labor process, as well as postpartum and lactation
assistance. As a full-time working mother of three, Shamica earned her Doula and Lactation
Certification from the International Doula Institute.
After enduring a traumatic labor process during her early 20s, Shamica became inspired to help
educate pregnant women on their rights. The realization that a hospital error could have been
avoided during her second labor — left Shamica frustrated and emotionally distraught. While
her baby managed to survive, the near-death experience prompted Shamica to learn more
about patient rights and the labor process. Later, she would pursue her certifications as a doula
During the COVID-19 epidemic, Shamica has leveraged her voice by speaking and educating
various communities online, including churches, women-led conferences, and mental health
groups. From healthy foods for pregnant women to their legal rights in the doctor’s office, you
can count on Shamica to advocate for women to be informed and speak up for their rights.
Taylor Smith, CLC & Doula
Taylor comes from a background of serving others; before becoming an Interdisciplinary Doula, her roles all involved taking care of others. Her own birth experiences allowed her to answer the call to Birth Work. Taylor prides herself on her dedication to those she works with and genuinely loves to see families and their babies thriving. Taylor has strong interests in science, nutrition, herbal remedies and lactation. As a current CLC, she has added to her personal knowledge of breastfeeding and is extremely passionate about helping women through their breastfeeding and pregnancy journey. Taylor is also a Peer Counselor with WIC; while supporting mothers and babies in her capacity there, she is honing her counseling skills to ensure mothers have culturally competent emotional support alongside the physical.
We are a women of color led collective with experience collaborating with doulas, midwives, and pediatric health practitioners to enhance prenatal care and maternal-infant health and mental health outcomes. Together, our Collective has over 30 years of experience providing prenatal education, and therapeutic services to families with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, over 15 years of experience providing full spectrum doula services to families, 10 years of teaching and coaching families on childbirth education, over 8 years of providing lactation services, and five years leading research in maternal-child health.
Healthcare system change for birthing people and their families with a focus on preventative services that covers the perinatal period. Service integration will encompass culturally relevant, comprehensive, equitable and holistic care for, by, and with BIPOC individuals, families and communities.
With a focus on prevention, our goal is to educate medical providers as well as families on evidence based information related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. This goal will be carried out through a combination of programs, systems, and policies we will work to establish. In addition, our initiatives focus on expanding doula services, lactation services, and perinatal therapy in an effort to increase outcomes for Black, Indgienous, and People of Color who are pregnant and/or parenting.
The L.A.B acronym in our name pays homage to Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsy, three enslaved young women who were subjected to medical experimentation without their consent or anesthesia to advance the work of Dr. J. Marion Sims in the 19th century. Dr. Sims is heralded as the father of modern gynecology. Dr. Sims operated on these women when they were 17 and 18 years old after they suffered birth complications resulting in fistulas. Anarcha later assisted Dr. Sims as a nurse with his surgeries on white female patients due to her skills as a healer. We chose to name our collective after Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsy because without the possession and commodification of their bodies, the field of women’s health as we know it would not exist. Black history is American history. Honoring and naming this historical context reclaims the Black female body and Black motherhood for, by, and with Black women.
Perinatal refers to the specific time period from conception through the first year of a newborn's life. Our Collective knows how critical preventive and crisis support is during this time period so it was important to specifically name it.