Why Breastfeeding Moms Need More Than Awareness

Why Breastfeeding Moms Need More Than Awareness

Breast is best, the familiar adage reminds parents of newborns. And this August, Breastfeeding Awareness Month gives families, health care providers and policymakers a chance to reflect on the benefits that breastfeeding offers babies and mothers alike. It also begs the questions: How do hospitals, health plans and regulatory policies encourage breastfeeding? And where they could improve?

Calling breastfeeding “the normative standard,” the American Academy of Pediatrics explains that human milk can protect infants from infections, sepsis, diabetes and even childhood obesity.  Mothers also benefit, as breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

But do policies encourage mothers and infants to reap the benefits of breastfeeding? Not necessarily.

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Racial Disparity Mars Infants' Access to Donor Milk

Racial Disparity Mars Infants' Access to Donor Milk

All mothers want to give their babies a stronger immune system, reduce their risk of SIDS and lower their rate of respiratory infections. But a recent study found black babies may be less able to realize these and other benefits of an exclusive human milk diet.

When researchers analyzed the use of donor milk in neonatal intensive care units by comparing the demographic make-up of hospitals’ zip codes, they found that fewer infants in areas with more black residents routinely received donor milk. These results underscore the need for ongoing education about the benefits of breast milk– and for policies that make donor milk more widely available.

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A Victory for NICU Patient Safety

Hospital NICUs are getting an early Christmas present: the ability to opt out on tubing that could put their newborn patients at risk.

The Joint Commission, the nation’s foremost accreditation organization for health care programs, recently confirmed it will not endorse tubing connector technology known as ENFit.  Hailed as a victory for infant safety, the decision comes in response to a letter from the National Coalition for Infant Health that outlined concerns about the ENFit design.

But, what is the ENFit tubing connector? And, why is this a victory for infant safety?

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Experts Move to Protect Women & Unborn Children From Hepatitis C

New treatment guidelines convey a startling reality: hepatitis C isn’t only a baby boomer problem anymore.  Spurred by the opioid epidemic and a national spike in heroin use, the disease poses a growing threat to young people. That includes women of childbearing age.  The trend has led experts at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the Infectious Diseases Society of America to turn their attention to this vulnerable population.

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Tubing Mix-Ups Pose Danger for Infants

Tubing Mix-Ups Pose Danger for Infants

Robin Rogers was 35 weeks pregnant when she began to suffer from significant vomiting and dehydration. She was admitted to the hospital near her home in Kansas. To correct her fluid and nutrition levels, Robin had two tubes placed: one, a feeding tube; the other a PICC line, often used to draw blood or deliver antibiotics.

But when her tube feeding bag arrived on the hospital floor, there was a mistake.

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Government Nutrition Advice Gives Mixed Message to Pregnant Women

Government Nutrition Advice Gives Mixed Message to Pregnant Women

Eating fish offers pregnant women nutritional benefits for both themselves and their developing babies. But, looking at newly published advice from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, you might miss that fact.

The one-page document prioritizes choices based on mercury content instead of emphasizing the nutritional benefits of fish consumption. It also assigns fish to “best,” “good” and “avoid” categories based on distinctions that may be hard for consumers to follow. For example, tilefish is a good choice for pregnant women – unless it comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Likewise, tuna is a “best” choice if it’s canned light; “good” if yellowfin, albacore or white. If it’s bigeye, however, the FDA and EPA advise pregnant women to pass.

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