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Tatyana Ali Launches Baby Quilt Brand ‘Baby Yams’: Supporting Maternal Health Efforts, One Blanket at a Time

bintou Diarra | Editorial Lead | MS1: Alpert Medical School of Brown University | April 21, 2024

“We deserve care” is one of the first things you’ll encounter when you load up actress, singer, and maternal health advocate,  Tatyana Ali’s very-own Baby Yams website. The site hosts a collection of quilts, which stand as the product of vibrant patterns and blocks, delicately unified by intricate embellishments and patchwork. Behind the beauty of the designs lies a story that is all too familiar for many women and birthing people in the United States.

Launched on April 16th, Baby Yams is among Tatyana Ali’s growing number of efforts to prop up women and birthing people, namely through her support of the indispensable efforts of midwives, doulas, and other birth workers fighting for better realities on the ground. After a traumatic birthing experience with her first-born, Ali leaned into the unshakable realization that birth trauma should not stand as a default. Her quest for answers led her to the reproductive justice movement, where she found community and solidarity with Black doulas, midwives, and other birth workers. During her second pregnancy, Ali would lean on a Black midwife and swaddle herself in the comfort and support of other birth workers.

Today, Ali is working to ensure that their indispensable efforts are met with support. Baby Yams is her unique approach to providing the capital needed for the intensive, longitudinal care that birth workers provide. For each purchase, 100% of the proceeds will go to Black and Indigenous midwives, who she aptly identifies as being uniquely positioned to provide women and birthing people with the care they need. 

When it comes to maternal health support, the mission of Baby Yams addresses a multitude of issues. In a nation facing one of its worst maternal health crises in recent history with glaring racial disparities, these intentional acts of support are not only helpful, but necessary in the fight to improve outcomes. Additionally, with growing rates of birth worker burnout that are partially attributable to low pay for services offered, tailored efforts to financially contribute to the workforce assist in underscoring the importance of funding this valuable work.

The first product under the Baby Yams brand is a series of handmade, heirloom-quality baby quilts created with Ankara fabrics. Titled Abundance, the first limited edition was designed by Tatyana Ali, and is available for purchase. Learn more about Baby Yams here.

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