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Human Milk is the Gift that Gives for a Lifetime

August is World Breastfeeding Awareness Month.   Around the world, people will be celebrating the amazing benefits of breastfeeding with efforts that will protect, promote, and support breastfeeding by empowering parents. 

A mother’s milk is her baby’s best first food, providing essential nutrients and protections that can last a lifetime.   Science has proven that breast milk can help protect against ear infections, respiratory ailments, allergies, diabetes and certain cancers.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of a baby’s life to maximize these benefits.  Human milk is magic – did you know the makeup of the milk changes as the baby grows and development needs change?  There are also great health and cost benefits for nursing moms in addition to offering a special physical closeness with the growing baby.

Breastfeeding is natural, however, it does not always come naturally.  Not all mothers are able to breastfeed their babies for a variety of reasons.  Sadly, 1 in 10 babies in the U.S. are born prematurely and often times, a woman’s milk hasn’t come in yet.  These babies are fragile and need human milk to survive.  One ounce of human milk can help a micro-preemie survive.  Other women find breastfeeding is impossible because of illness or their baby was adopted while others simply are not able to produce as much milk as their baby needs.  That is when Mothers’ Milk Bank comes in!

Mothers’ Milk Bank, MMB, is a nonprofit organization based in Arvada.  The milk bank collects extra milk from nursing mothers who have more milk than their own babies need.  These women go through an easy screening process to get approved and, once completed, can deliver or ship-for-free their frozen milk to be safely transported to MMB, located in Arvada, CO.  At MMB, the milk is safely pasteurized, analyzed, and then distributed to hospitals across Colorado and the nation to help sick babies thrive.  Milk is also available for families with a pediatrician’s prescription.

MMB is committed to providing donor human milk for every baby who needs it and can not do it without the heartfelt generosity of milk donors, moms help other moms.  It takes a few simple steps to become a donor.  If you are interested in learning more about donating your excess breast milk to help save babies, visit https://rmchildren.org/mothers-milk-bank/donate-milk/ or call 303-869-1888.  Your precious milk donation will help countless babies across Colorado and the country.

 

Breast Express comes to Mothers’ Milk Bank

 pumpspotting and Mothers’ Milk Bank are bringing women together to nurse, pump, nourish and connect. The Breast Express RV, a 40-foot nursing and pumping suite, touring the country to help unite communities in lactation conversation, celebrate moms and breastfeeding advocates, and share breastfeeding stories. 

 The RV, “a luxury lactation lounge on wheels” will roll up at 10 a.m., August 5, at Mothers’ Milk Bank. The RV is fully equipped with pumping equipment, relaxing nursing chairs, water and snacks to make mothers feel comfortable.

 From 10 a.m. – 12 noon, pumpspotting and Mothers’ Milk Bank will be hosting a mini-milk drive for approved donors, offering free activities, tours of the milk bank and Baby Café, giveaways including free yoga and Barre class and snacks.  All families are welcome to attend this free event. 

 While on the RV, women can connect, nurse, pump, add their name to a wall of boob art, talk with a certified lactation consultant from Mothers’ Milk Bank, and experience the pumpspotting app that helps identify other breastfeeding friendly spaces in the community.

 The Breast Express will travel more than 10,000 miles this summer, stopping in cities from coast to coast, celebrating and delighting mothers along the way.

 Mothers’ Milk Bank is thrilled to host pumpspotting as both organizations support women throughout their breastfeeding journey. Mothers’ milk is widely held as a baby’s best first food providing essential nutrients only it can provide. The Mothers’ Milk Bank is one of the nation’s largest dispensers of donor human milk in the United States thanks to the generosity of thousands of women who donate their excess breast milk each year. On August 5, approved Mothers’ Milk Bank donors can drop off their milk as part of our mini milk drive and receive a free picnic blanket.

Read more about MMB’s month of  celebrations here – https://rmchildren.org/world-breastfeeeding-week/

We’re not perfect but we’re brave

Have you ever been judged for something on this list?

Parenting is hard. Good thing we have friends who support our choices and remind us that parenting is a spectator sport.  “Mother Judger” is a new series by Scary Mommy and really hits home.

It Takes a Village to Offset the Load: My Journey with Breastfeeding & Anxiety

As a parent, do you ever have days where you feel as if the load you’re carrying is just too heavy to move forward? You’re not alone. I’ve been there. And for me, much of my pregnancy-related anxiety stemmed from my experience with breastfeeding. If I learned anything through my breastfeeding journey, it’s that it takes a village to offset the load – it’s not something we can, or have to do by ourselves as moms.

Breastfeeding comes with so many benefits for you and your baby. Yet anyone who has gone through the experience knows it may not be easy and can come with a rollercoaster of joys and challenges. When anyone asked me what I was most excited for before I gave birth, my answer was always breastfeeding. I couldn’t wait to experience that special bond and provide valuable nourishment for my baby. But I experienced complications during childbirth that led to increased breastfeeding challenges including making the transition to exclusively pumping and supplementing, something I did not anticipate. I also experienced a lot of anxiety that stemmed from hormonal fluctuations. These complications, on top of the everyday (and night!) challenges of caring for my baby sometimes made the load of parenting feel much too heavy.

Anxiety and depression connected to breastfeeding is common, and it’s something that can be helped for those of us who experience it. I was able to participate in a breastfeeding support group through my local hospital that helped me figure out how to exclusively pump, along with learning from other moms who were going through the same experience. So when it came time for me to wean, I knew that I could expect some hormonal swings that might trigger my anxiety. Yet, it still took me by surprise how much anxiety and frustration I experienced during this time. I found myself in tears over things that wouldn’t usually bother me, like my daughter waking up earlier than I had anticipated, or something not going my way.

I thankfully had a support system through family, my workplace, friends, and others which helped lighten my load. And things like support groups, flexible work and child care options ensured I was armed with information and had time to take care of myself so that I could be the strong mom my daughter needed. It was because of this support system that I was able to navigate ongoing challenges and breastfeed my daughter for seven months. It will always be one of my proudest accomplishments.

Having a new baby is hard and all moms deserve support, regardless of how you feed your baby. It is normal for breastfeeding to be challenging. If you are a breastfeeding mom experiencing pregnancy-related depression and anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and tap into your own village of support.

  • To find a breastfeeding support group or class near you, contact your hospital, health care provider, lactation consultant, local WIC office, La Leche League, breastfeeding coalition, breastfeeding supply store or moms group and ask for support groups or peer counselors in your area. Most groups are free to the public.
  • Provide breastfeeding information to family, friends, coworkers, supervisors, neighbors, child care providers and others to educate on breastfeeding and explain what YOU need for them to be supportive. Find those individuals that are supportive of your decision to breastfeed and ask for help.

Visit postpartum.net/colorado for information about pregnancy-related depression and anxiety and find Colorado coordinators who can give you support and resources in your area. You can also call 1.800.944.4773 for confidential, free and immediate support. 

Author: Hanna Nichols, Colorado Mom, in partnership with Mile High Mamas.

 

Never wake a sleeping baby…is it true? Ask an Expert!

At Tinyhood, our mission is simple: to provide new parents with a place to get on-demand answers about their most pressing parenting questions from trusted, certified experts. That’s why we keep a range of experts on hand who can advise on everything from sleep training to breastfeeding to early childhood development and more.

Since our inception, our experts have been asked a lot of wide-ranging questions—but we’ve noticed some patterns that have come up. So we’ve put together a lot of the questions new parents ask the most frequently on our site—along with the tried-and-true advice of our experts. Read on for our most sought-after advice.

“How do I get my baby on a normal sleep schedule?”

Early risings and frequent night wakings are often a result, counterintuitively, of over-tiredness at bedtime. The best way to get a baby to sleep through the night is to put them on a set schedule. Start with a consistent bedtime and wake time in the morning. To get a consistent wake time, leave the baby in the crib until it’s time to start the day. Any wakings before that time should be treated as a middle-of-the-night waking and the child should be encouraged to go back to sleep. Same goes for naps; set regular times for naps, ideally once mid-morning and another mid-afternoon. It can take a week or more for a child to adjust to a new sleep schedule, so give it some time to work itself out.

“Should I wake my infant up during the day to get her to sleep better at night?”

“Sleep begets sleep,” our experts say. This means that the better your infant sleeps during the day, the better he or she should sleep at night. Never try and keep your infant awake during the day in order to make them more tired at night. When babies aren’t getting enough sleep during the day, they become overtired, which causes the body to produce a hormone in an effort to stay awake (they get a “second wind”, if you will.) Trying to get your child to sleep in this state is much harder than if they’ve had regular naps during the day.

“Are nighttime feedings normal for an older baby?”

To lessen night wakings of a child around nine months old, experts recommend not feeding the child back to sleep. For an older baby, nursing or bottle feeding right before sleeping can become a “sleep prop”; something the child will come to expect and eventually rely on in order to get to sleep. Your goal is for your child to be able to get to sleep without any sleep props, and eventually, to sleep through the night. Once your baby is around this age, gradually weaning them off of nighttime feedings will aid in reaching this goal.

“How do I increase my breastmilk supply?”

The best way to increase the amount of breast milk your body makes is to nurse and pump frequently—every two to three hours—and to fully empty your breasts each time. When nursing, address any latch issues your baby may have, use both breasts, and take cues on when to stop from your baby—don’t stop them from feeding just because you think it may be time. When pumping, use your hands to squeeze out any excess milk at the end—the pump doesn’t catch everything. If you’re still having issues, make sure you’re getting enough water, and you can also look into supplements like Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, which some moms have claimed can increase their milk output.

“What’s the best way to wean my baby off breastfeeding?”

Weaning varies from mom to mom, but in general experts advise taking it slow. Try taking out one feeding at a time and allow their bodies time to adjust before removing another. Generally, moms have found the most success with taking out the daytime nursings first, and weaning children off the morning and nighttime nursings last. If the child is fussy, try giving them something else, like cow’s milk, and try snuggling with them during the time you’d normally be breastfeeding.

For more, stop by Tinyhood.com or download our app and join our active community of knowledge-seeking parents and the experts they trust. In addition to live Q&As, we offer deals where you can get some one-on-one advice from an expert. And right now, we’re offering new Tinyhood members $20 off our sleep packages with discount code MILEHIGHMAMA. Head here to redeem!

Is Marijuana Safe When Pregnant or Breastfeeding? What the Experts Say

I recently attended a conference where the presenter referenced a vintage Blatz Beer advertisement extolling the benefits of drinking beer…for mom and baby. 

This, of course, seems far-fetched in today’s world. Research has proven the harmful effects of moms drinking alcohol while pregnant and nursing. I have a dear friend whose adoptive teenage daughter will likely suffer from the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) for the rest of her life.

Fifty years ago, many people assumed that using alcohol or tobacco while pregnant or breastfeeding was more or less safe because these drugs were legal. Today, many people believe the same about marijuana.

According to a recent blog by Children’s Hospital Colorado, Maya Bunik, MD, MPH, PSPH, medical director of the Primary Care and Breastfeeding Management Clinic, is seeing this trend. “It’s definitely been an issue over the last five years, especially since legalization in Colorado,” says Bunik. “There’s a public perception that legalization means safety.” 

Is Marijuana Safe When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

So, where do women stand with using marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding?  There hasn’t been a significant amount of research conducted to date. And, the body of existing scientific research doesn’t always produce clear results. That’s why the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee recently published its latest “Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2016” report. The report reviews all of the scientific literature currently available on the health effects of retail marijuana use, including during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Based on this report, here’s what we do know:

  • There is no known safe amount of marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Marijuana contains THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that makes the person consuming it feel “high.”
  • Whether marijuana is smoked or eaten, THC is passed to the baby when a woman uses marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • Exposure to THC in the womb may affect a baby’s brain development, making it hard for them to pay attention and learn as they grow older.
  • When a breastfeeding woman smokes or eats marijuana, THC gets into her breast milk and passes through to her baby.
  • THC from marijuana use stays in breast milk much longer than alcohol does, so “pumping and dumping” doesn’t work with marijuana.
  • Because THC is stored in body fat, it stays in the mother’s body for a long time. A baby’s brain and body are made with a lot of fat. Since a baby’s brain and body may store THC for a long time, women shouldn’t use marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Not all natural substances or plants are safe. Tobacco and poisonous berries are great examples.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also says that mothers who are breastfeeding should not use marijuana. 

Current Research

In order to help address what we don’t know about marijuana use and pregnancy or breastfeeding, new studies currently are underway across the US. For example, Children’s ColoradoUniversity of Colorado Hospital, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine are investigating how much THC from marijuana makes its way into breast milk and how long it stays there. Commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control, the study’s goal is to accurately map how THC presents in breast milk, in what concentrations, and for how long. It’s just one piece of research that will help women make informed decisions about what’s best for them and their babies. 

Learn More

With new research underway, it’s more important than ever that pregnant and breastfeeding women stay informed. The Good to Know site features the latest information at www.GoodToKnowColorado.com/baby. Pregnant and breastfeeding women also should talk with their healthcare providers to learn the facts about retail marijuana to make informed and educated decisions for themselves and their babies.

At Mile High Mamas, there’s one thing we an all agree on: we want babies to be happy and healthy. That’s why we encourage you to visit www.GoodToKnowColorado.com/baby to learn more about retail marijuana, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

Guys Experience Breastfeeding for the First Time

Breastfeeding isn’t for the faint of heart…or breast. 

For one long, long day, two men got to experience what it’s like to be a breastfeeding woman. Not the part of attaching a real baby, unfortunately, but the bit about carrying two ever-filling jugs about town.

The experience was made possible with help from MamaBreast, a breastfeeding simulator made by Laerdal. The wearable simulator “allows highly realistic simulation of breastfeeding and breast milk expression.” While typically an educational tool, the $60 device can also be used to foster understanding and empathy with the opposite sex.

Ready to see how the men did? Spoiler alert: They found it tough.

[Funny] reasons why women should never breastfeed in public

Energetic, funny, and obsessed with creativity, Kristina Kuzmic has an in-your-face perspective on issues of parenting and life in general.

As for breasts? Turns out, they’re not just for gawking.

Momsense Launches Revolutionary Smart Breastfeeding Meter for Nursing Mothers

Momsense has developed a unique, wearable technology that will transform breastfeeding for nursing mothers: a groundbreaking Smart Meter designed to monitor and measure, in real time, their baby’s milk intake while breastfeeding. This innovation will provide knowledge that will result in vital peace of mind and confidence for mothers in those precious first months of their baby’s life.

Research shows that although 80% of new mothers choose to breastfeed their newborn baby, 50% of these women stop once their baby reaches 4-6 weeks old, predominantly because they believe that they aren’t providing sufficient milk to feed their baby.

The cutting-edge solution, will support breastfeeding mothers and empower them with enhanced intuition and knowledge. Dr. Osnat Emanuel, Momsense CEO, explains that “Breastfeeding is a significant period for both mother and baby. We want to create a breastfeeding experience that gives mother a sense of calm and confidence, and so encourages her to continue breastfeeding and benefit from it.”

Momsense LTD., is an innovative tech start-up founded by serial entrepreneur Izhak Nakar and acting Momsense Executive Chairman. The company’s board of seasoned entrepreneurs includes CEO Dr. Emanuel, who brings a wealth of expertise in creating interactive technologies for babies. Momsense has invested millions of dollars to produce their patent Smart Meter.  This fills a gap in the market where today’s millennial smartphone-savvy mothers are demanding more information and control when breastfeeding their babies. The product is owning a new category within the feeding market, as founder Nakar comments: “Momsense delivers to an essential need and will drive a new paradigm of women continuing to nurse their babies for longer.”

The Momsense Smart Breastfeeding Meter consists of a user friendly smartphone app and earphone set containing an embedded baby safe sensor for mothers to listen to their baby’s swallow sounds. Together these measure how much milk the baby is consuming while nursing. Developed by technology experts, Momsense performs a complex analysis that calculates the quantity of milk consumed. It identifies in real time baby’s effective swallow sounds, via a unique audio signal, which can distinguish between the effective swallow sounds and other baby sounds. As such, the algorithm is comprised of a database using hundreds of nursing events that were documented in the Momsense laboratory. The resulting computed quantities of milk consumed were compared with recorded changes in baby’s weight directly after feeding (the medical standard today for calculating the amount of milk consumed). This all resulting in Momsense being able to compute an optimal assessment of the quantity of milk baby has consumed.  Thus acting as a valued additional aid in helping mothers today prolong their breastfeeding time with their new baby.

The analysis of the feeding results is all done in real time using any smart device and offline (as flight mode is recommended). The Momsense app can be downloaded from the Apple Store and from Google Play, using a unique product code found in each package.  

The app also tracks and reports the nursing patterns overtime, records the baby’s voice sounds in a baby album to share with loved ones, and gives helpful breastfeeding tips, all to help mothers stay confident throughout this very natural experience.  Momsense allows mothers to fall in love with their newborn, with peace of mind.  With Momsense breastfeeding has never sounded so sweet.

What pregnant and breastfeeding moms need to know about marijuana use

Colorado’s legalization of retail marijuana for adults 21 and older still continues to be a divisive issue and as well it should be. But one thing that most of us can agree upon is that it is important to know about the laws and health effects that pertain to retail marijuana in Colorado.PBF Blogger Image Pregnancy

Over the next year, Mile High Mamas is teaming up with Good to Know Colorado to help pregnant and breastfeeding mothers learn the facts about retail marijuana so they can make informed and educated decisions for themselves and their babies.

Good to Know is the nation’s first public education campaign regarding the legal, safe and responsible use of retail marijuana through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). It’s not about scare tactics but rather focuses on evidence-based best practices in the public health and environmental fields and plays a critical role in educating us so we can make informed choices.

Here are a few important facts that expecting and breastfeeding mothers should know:

  • There is no known safe amount of marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Marijuana contains THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that makes the person consuming it feel “high.”
  • Whether marijuana is smoked or eaten, THC is passed to the baby when a woman uses marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.PBF Blogger Image Breastfeeding
  • Exposure to THC in the womb may affect a baby’s brain development, making it hard for them to pay attention and learn as they grow older.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says that mothers who are breastfeeding should not use marijuana.
  • When a breastfeeding woman smokes or eats marijuana, THC gets into her breast milk and passes through to her baby.
  • THC from marijuana use stays in breast milk much longer than alcohol does, so “pumping and dumping” doesn’t work the same way with marijuana.

PBF Blogger Social Image Pumping and Dumping

  • Because THC is stored in body fat, it stays in the mother’s body for a long time. A baby’s brain and body are made with a lot of fat. Since a baby’s brain and body may store THC for a long time, women shouldn’t use marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Not all natural substances or plants are safe. Tobacco and poisonous berries are great examples. Because marijuana contains THC, it may harm a baby.PBF Blogger Social Image Passes Through
  • Breathing marijuana smoke can be bad for both mother and baby. Marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke. Some of these chemicals can cause cancer.

The health of Colorado moms and babies is of the utmost importance to us so wherever you stand on the legalization of retail marijuana, we hope you will follow us on our journey to educate you about marijuana use while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Knowledge is power! To learn more, visit www.GoodtoKnowColorado.com/baby. In partnership with Mile High Mamas.