Got Extra Breastmilk? New Donor Depot Opens in Pioneer Valley!

Donor Breastmilk Depot Opens in Pioneer Valley
Life-Saving for Preterm Infants

Thank you to the first donor to the breastmilk depot!

If you find that you have more than enough breastmilk, milk donation may be a way for you to protect the health of premature infants… and for Valley families, it just got more convenient to donate!

The Pioneer Valley Breastfeeding Coalition has announced the opening of a new donor breastmilk depot, housed at Northampton Area Pediatrics in Northampton, MA.  This depot will store and send milk to the Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.

Donor milk banking, which began in the U.S. in 1911, is a way of providing human milk to premature and very sick infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).  Donor milk is provided as a supplement – not a replacement – for preterm babies whose mothers aren’t able to provide enough milk…

Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Where Do Babies Come From?

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

“I second/third Robie Harris’ books,” writes Susan Countryman. “We read It’s So Amazing together, and answer questions matter-of-factly as they come up.” (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Have your kids asked yet how babies are made, or where babies come from? What did you say? If they haven’t asked yet, how might you reply when they do?

  • Amanda Kingsley writes, “My five year old thinks that boy eggs are on one side and girl eggs are on the other… beyond that cuteness we’ve explained that the sperm meets the egg to make a baby.  She hasn’t asked how they meet, but we have a great book for that age group recommended by a client: It’s Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends. We try to answer questions as simply and honestly as we can, never giving more info than they ask for (girls are 5 and 7).”
  • Barbara Dunn writes, “In our house, everyone knows where babies come from: The Social Worker! Seriously, though, we have answered just one question at a time rather than doing the full traditional explanation all at once. Also have left age appropriate library books just sitting around for them to pick up on their own as an ice breaker.”
  • Pauline Delton writes, “Love the “It’s Not the Stork” series. That’s pretty much the same info we’ve given to our 6 year old (he was 5 at the time). It’s enough to satisfy his curiosity and it’s honest/accurate ‎(He knew from whence they birth when he was much younger, though, and we’d seen some birth videos).
  • Laura Lucchesi writes, “Reading books to them from their age group! There are many wonderfully written and illustrated books about everything. I have a collection in my library I started when they where born. From potty training to the World Book Encyclopedias. They had the ability to read whenever they wanted. Explaining things helps when you read to your child.”
  • Heather Dunham Katsoulis writes, “Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking Sense About Sex is a fantastic book dealing with each age appropriate response.”
  • Megan Rubiner Zinn writes, “I wrote a piece on this subject for Jezebel a few months ago, “The Moment When Your Son Asks About His Balls” – turned out to be one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with my son.”
  • Susan Countryman writes, “I second/third Robie Harris’ books. We read It’s So Amazing together, and answer questions matter-of-factly as they come up.”
  • Marissa Potter writes, “I am always honest, without over sharing. My kids have been more interested in how babies come out than how they come to grow in the first place, so far. My answer about conception, at this point, has been that is that when two grown ups have so much love between them that there is extra love, a baby grows.”
  • Jackie Amuso Dolby writes, “I think the answer is different at different ages. With four children ages 13-3, my answers have to be age appropriate. You can’t give them too much at 3 but you HAVE TO tell them the real truth at 13.”
  • Rebecca Trow Addison writes, “I agree that it depends on the age of the child. It is a lot more complicated now than it used to be too. It’s no longer ‘a man and a woman’…”
  • Annie Parker writes, “I was straight up with a blunt but simple explanation. The younger the child the less phased they are likely to be. Really penis, eggs, Santa and space ships are all the same amount crazy. Don’t make a big thing of it. They learn their attitudes from us.”
  • John L. Grossman writes, “When I explained it to my son 2 years ago the penis-sperm-uterus-egg thing didn’t faze him until he said, “Did you do that?” and I responded “twice!” (I have 2 kids), then he ran out of the room.”

Are your children’s back to school supplies safe?

Make sure your children’s back to school supplies are safe & PVC free!

Did you know your child’s school supplies may be loaded with toxic PVC plastic? Go PVC-free this Back to School Season with their free guide.

The Center For Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) has created a Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies allowing parents and children healthier and safer options when it comes to choosing school supplies. CHEJ’s product list of PVC-free items include:

  • backpacks
  • binders
  • notebooks
  • lunch boxes, food wrappers & dishware
  • raincoats
  • shoes
  • art supplies
  • clothes
  • electronics
  • and more

Click here to download their free guide.

100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011)

100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011)

Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing of online resource that are educational and entertaining!

Follow Me on DeliciousWhere are these links? Hilltown Families Del.ici.ous Page!  This icon can be found at the top of our site, in the left-hand column.  Click any time to see what links we’ve added!

Below is the latest 100 links we’ve shared: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page). All links are provided as a courtesy and not as an endorsement:

Read the rest of this entry »

Dirty Dozen & Clean 15: A Family Guide to Reducing Exposure to Pesticides in Your Produce

Environmental Working Group 2011 Shopper’s Guide Helps Cut Consumer Pesticide Exposure

“Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that sometimes people do not have access to that produce or cannot afford it,” said EWG President Ken Cook. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Environmental Working Group has released the seventh edition of its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce with updated information on 53 fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its “Dirty Dozen” list and the cleanest conventional produce with its “Clean 15” list.

Analysts at EWG synthesized data collected from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration from 2000 to 2009. Produce is ranked based on a composite score, equally weighing six factors that reflect how many pesticides was found in testing of on each type of the produce and at what levels. Most samples are washed and peeled prior to being tested, so the rankings reflect the amounts of the chemicals likely present on the food when is it eaten.

Notable changes in the new guide included apples’ rank as the most contaminated produce, jumping three spots from last year to replace celery at the top of the “Dirty Dozen” list. According to USDA, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested.

“Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic,” says Cook. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Making an appearance in the guide for the first time is the herb cilantro, which had never been tested by USDA until now. The data showed 33 unapproved pesticides on 44 percent of the cilantro samples tested, which is the highest percentage of unapproved pesticides recorded on any item included in the guide since EWG started tracking the data in 1995.

Also appearing in the guide for the first time are green onions, cranberries and mushrooms. Mushrooms made the “Clean 15” list, while honeydew was the only item to drop off that list this year. Cherries dropped off the “Dirty Dozen” list, but lettuce, which has made the list in previous years, were back on.

“Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that sometimes people do not have access to that produce or cannot afford it,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic.”

Pesticides can be extremely toxic to human health and the environment. U.S. and international government agencies alike have linked pesticides to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system disruption and IQ deficits among childrenRead the rest of this entry »

How Does Your Sunscreen Rate?

EWG Sun Product Guide for 2011

“Because the FDA has failed to offer good guidance to consumers on sunscreen safety, EWG has stepped in once again,” said EWG senior scientist Sonya Lunder. “Search our guide of more than 1,700 products and see how your favorite fares. Using safe and effective sunscreen is paramount when heading outdoors, especially during the summer months.”

How does your sunscreen rate? According to the Environmental Working Group, “consumers can trust a slim 20 percent of the beach and sport sunscreens assessed for the 2011 sun season.”  The EWG has put together a survey of over 1,700 sun products and have created a guide for families to make an educated choice about their sunscreens.  Families can use the guide by typing in the name of their sunscreen product and if it is one of the 1,700 products the EWG has reviewed, a rating will be returned on the quality of  their entry.

EWG’s website also offers tips for choosing your sunscreens, including:

  • Look for mineral protection from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
  • Avoid oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate (sometimes listed as vitamin A)
  • Pick creams and lotions over sprays and powders
  • Try to physically block the sun with protective clothing, sunglasses and hats
  • Minimize sun exposure from 10:00 to 4:00 when rays are strongest
  • Reapply sunscreens at least every two hours, or after getting wet or sweaty

EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. www.ewg.org

(Photo credit: (ccl) Ruthie Hansen)

Q&A: Does Your Family Have a Pediatric Dentist You Love Here in Western MA?

Question and Answer

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Do you have a pediatric dentist you love here in Western MA? Share here for other families looking for dental services for their kids.

  • Jessica Grant writes: I have always brought my kids to Dr. Smola’s office in Hadley. They are not pediatric specialists, but kind and thoughtful people. Dr. Smola himself recently retired and the practice changed hands but I am hopeful the quality will remain the same.
  • Heather Richardson writes: Our kids go to our dentist in South Hadley, Dr. Ricard. He’s in the Tower Theater Plaza…
  • Melissa Moody Belmonte writes: Binca Warren in Northampton. My three-year-old has had a lot of dental work done, and he still looks forward to going to the dentist!
  • Rachel Rothman writes: YES! In Northampton… Dr. Kleinman, she is patient, interactive, and educational. We love her.
  • Swansea Benham Bleicher writes: Dr. Maureen Quinn in Chicopee, pediatric and handicapped patients. She’s wonderful. My daughter needed an extraction at age three and Dr. Quinn’s office was stellar.
  • Eugenie Sills Yarmosky write: Pediatric Dentistry in the Berkshires!
  • Abbe Laine Schiowitz writes: For those who have the “will they take our insurance?” issue… Hampshire Family Dental on Center Street in Northampton, to the left of the Iron Horse. Not only are the dentists great but the office staff and music are awesome as well, giggles xo
  • Sue Lowery writes: Triangle Family Dental in Amherst – just next to the High School.
  • Diane Fossen Zamer writes: Dr. Martin Wohl and his daughter, Dr. Wohl, in the Silk Mill in Florence are wonderful. Not only pediatrics, but so great with children.
  • Judy Bennett writes: Dr. Darabi in Turners Falls has been really nice, but we’ve only been for one checkup.
  • Sienna Wildfield writes: We love hygienist Liz Spooner and Dr. Emily Bowden at the Hilltown Community Health Center in Worthington.
  • Emily Gonzalez writes: Oh wow! Yes!! Dr. Brian Kasperowski in Westfield. Absolutely wonderful, kind, patient dentist. I can’t imagine going anywhere else.
  • Meagheanne Donahue writes: For the Berkshires, we LOVE Dr. Lisa Gamache in Pittsfield!! She’s terrific with kids. My son adores her!
  • Kate Parrott writes: On the advice of friends, we now go to Dr. Ian Modestow in Florence. Great friendly office and staff! Sarah the hygienist is kind, informative, and fun. Our daughter enjoys going to see them.
  • Jen Hartley writes: We think Binca Warren in Northampton is fabulous!
  • Robin Shapiro writes: We love Geri Kleinman in Northampton at Kleiman, Clayton and Canby. She actually treats our whole family and she is so great with our 4-year-old. We’ve been going since she was barely 3 and she is an incredibly difficult patient. Geri was able to make her feel at ease and get through the exam when all of my bribes failed. They also use digital x-rays so you don’t get all of radiation from older techniques and she is very into minimizing chemicals. They were also able to use a laser technique to repair a cavity for our daughter so that she didn’t need a shot or other treatment. It was a lifesaver!
  • Denise Banister writes: I very much like the staff at Worthington Health Center’s dental department. They are kind and gentle, and give you 100% of their attention while you are there.
  • Hillary Bucs writes: We adore Dr. Kantor in Northampton. He is a pediatric dentist. My daughter, who is 2.5, just had her second appointment. She did not want to leave. My other daughter has had great experiences there too, even when she had 4 teeth extracted. The decor also is so fun, and she loves the prizes.
  • Annie DeCoteau writes: My kids enjoy going to see Dr. Roman in Greenfield. My two year old cried when it wasn’t his turn.
  • Shannon O’Bryan writes: Berkshire Pediatric Dentistry, PC is the place to go!! They are amazing and so kind and patient with the kids.

Dr. Markel Joins Hilltown Families Team of Contributing Writers

Q&A: Peaceful Parenting with Dr. Markel

We’re delighted to welcome pediatrician Dr. Susan Markel, M.D. to our team of contributing writers! Starting in March, Dr. Markel will join us with a monthly Q&A column, answering questions submitted by Western MA families.

Every family is different, yet similar in seeking peace and joy in their lives. With her emphasis on natural lifestyles, and while applying her knowledge of communication skills and child development, Dr. Markel will answer your questions to help you make reasonable decisions with regard to your children. There is no such thing as perfect parenting, but peace of mind is an achievable goal that is not as elusive as it often seems.

ABOUT DR. MARKEL

Susan Markel, M.D. is a board-certified pediatrician who has a private consultative practice specializing in parent coaching and child health. A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Dr. Markel became a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1981 and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 1997. For many years she served as a medical liaison for La Leche League. She is also a medical associate at Attachment Parenting International, a philosophy based in the practice of nurturing parenting methods that create strong emotional bonds between the infant and parent(s). As the author of What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child, Dr. Markel has been recognized as a trusted source of pediatric information distinct from the typical industry-supported medical dogma presented to parents today. www.AttachmentParentingDoctor.com

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS

Do you have questions on how you as a parent and/or your children can achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle you would like to see Dr. Markel address? Submit your question for consideration. Dr. Markel’s column will appear on the fourth Tuesday of every month beginning in March, 2011.

GIVEAWAY: Herbal Class with Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield

Nourishing Condiments Class
at Blazing Star Herbal School

Blazing Star Herbal School presents "Nourishing Condiments," a new class in their Everyday Herbalism Series. Win a free registration to this class. Deadline to enter to win, Friday, August 6th at 10am (EST). Class will be held on Saturday, August 7th in Ashfield, MA.

Hilltown Families and Blazing Star Herbal School (BSHS) in Ashfield, MA have partnered up to offer one lucky participant free registration for their Saturday, August 7th class, Nourishing Condiments, a new class in their Everyday Herbalism Series. Participants will learn how to make seasonal nourishing condiments from common herbs and foods in the form of seasonings, vinegars, tinctures, honeys, infusions and salves. Find out how to win a free registration to this herbal class below. Deadline to enter to win is Friday, 8/6/10 @ 10am (EST)

ABOUT THE CLASS

Nourishing Condiments: Nourishing and healing remedies can be created right in your kitchen with seasonal herbs and foods. By letting the current harvest be our guide, participants of Nourishing Condiments will learn how to make nutritious condiments from common herbs and foods in the form of seasonings, vinegars, tinctures, honeys, infusions and salves.  Through hands-on activities, participants will learn about the fresh seasonal harvest used to make these condiments, and discover where these common herbs and foods grow.  This approach helps students to integrate all that they learn about these plants as food and medicine – as nourishing condiments.

ABOUT BLAZING STAR HERBAL SCHOOL

Dedicated to teaching traditional herbal medicine in a way that supports a more sustainable future and shows respect for the integrity of nature, BSHS offers a unique perspective on herbalism, weaving social and political aspects of health and healing through the study of medicinal herbs and food practices. Serving as a local and national resource for education and networking, BSHS has been in Ashfield for over 25 years on 26 wooded acres of pine trees, rushing brooks, wildflower meadows and gardens. Right here in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, the school offers unique and exciting programs in herbal studies to give both the student and professional an opportunity to delve deeper into the art and science of herbalism. Their courses have been highly acclaimed for inspiring students to find their unique healing path through personal relationship with the plant world. For more information about BSHS visit them on line at blazingstarherbalschool.typepad.com, or contact Tony(a) Lemos at 413.625.2030, tlemos@noho.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a free registration to Nourishing Condiments herbal class with Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST WHY YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS CLASS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Friday, 8/6/10 @ 10am (EST)

STREET TEAM: HELP US SPREAD THE WORD AND EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY  Read the rest of this entry »

TAKE ACTION: What’s in Your Baby Shampoo?

TAKE ACTION:  Eliminate Harmful Chemicals From Personal Care Products

Have you ever stopped to wonder what all those chemicals are in your kid’s shampoo? your waterproof sunblock? your baby’s diaper cream? your lipstick? Unfortunately, some of them are linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility and other health problems … but right now we have an unprecedented opportunity to clean up our cosmetics with the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky with Rep. Edward Markey and Rep. Tammy Baldwin. This is a huge moment for parents, consumers and environmental health advocates: for the first time in 70 years, there is a real chance to pass national legislation that would eliminate harmful chemicals from the products our families put on their bodies every day.

The Story of Stuff Project has released The Story of Cosmetics, a 7-minute animated movie which examine the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from aftershave to baby lotion. The film outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.  Check it out:

In May, the President’s Cancer Panel sounded the alarm about the health risks of the understudied and largely unregulated toxic chemicals used by millions of Americans in their daily lives.  “The beauty industry needs a makeover. For the first time in 70 years, we will have a real chance to pass national legislation that would eliminate chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects from the products women, men and children put on their bodies on a daily basis,” said Stacy Malkan, spokesperson for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of over 150 women’s, environmental and health organizations.

For a data base of safe ingredients/products, check out Skin Deep, a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group.

Western MA Events for World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week in Western MA

Research shows that the best feeding option globally is the initiation of breastfeeding within the first half hour of life, exclusive breastfeeding for a full six months, and continued breastfeeding through the second year or beyond. Breastfeeding improves short and long term maternal and child health. For local breastfeeding resources, visit the Pioneer Valley Breastfeeding Task Force at http://www.valleybreastfeeding.o

The week of August 1st, breastfeeding advocates all over the world will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week for the 19th year with the theme “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps. The Baby-Friendly Way.

Below is a list of breastfeeding events happening in the Pioneer Valley, along with ten steps the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action states every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should follow to support successful breastfeeding.

EVENTS IN WESTERN MA

There are several events happening to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in Western MA:

Monday, August 2nd in Springfield, MA
The Springfield North WIC program will hold an event for World Breastfeeding Week on August 2nd at 10am at Court Square, Springfield City Hall. There will be giveaways, snacks, information about the Springfield North breastfeeding peer counselors program.

Monday, August 2nd in Amherst, MA
World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated on Monday August 2nd at 3pm on the North Common in Amherst (the tree-shaded common on North Pleasant Street that is right in front of Town Hall). The event will be a gathering to bring awareness to World Breastfeeding Week through information and conversation.

Tuesday, August 3rd in Springfield, MA
The Family Life Center at Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, will hold a World Breastfeeding Week event, from 6:30-8:30 pm in the Family Life Center Lobby. Come and meet Stacy Rubin, IBCLC, author of “The ABC’s of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience.” Books will be available for purchase and signing. There will be free breastfeeding information, 10 percent off all Medela and Ameda breast pumps, and supplies. Maternity bra fitting clinic for Bravado and Medela bras – no appointment needed. For more information, please call 413-748-7295.

Wednesday, August 4th in Northampton, MA
Cooley Dickinson Hospital will be holding a World Breastfeeding Week event on August 4th from 2-4pm in the main lobby. There will be informational tables, a display of past infant feeding devices, and a raffle.

10 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL BREASTFEEDING

Research shows that the best feeding option globally is the initiation of breastfeeding within the first half hour of life, exclusive breastfeeding for a full six months and continued breastfeeding through the second year or beyond. Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant mothers about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
  6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Make Your Own Sunblock

"Americans know that when they head to the beach they need to protect their skin, which usually means putting on sunscreen. But consumers need to know more than just the SPF rating on the bottle ..." (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Victoria Worth of Ashfield, MA writes:

There is a good article in the New York Times about sunscreens.  Below is the beginning of the piece and HERE is the link to the whole article.

“Americans dutifully slather on sunscreens every summer, hoping to stave off aging, wrinkles and cancer. But with each passing season, more questions are raised about whether the labeling and safety guidelines for sunscreens, created in 1978, are adequate or misleading. The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, has been criticized for failing to approve new ingredients that are available in Europe.

“Research is also questioning the safety of certain ingredients that have been widely used for years. Just recently, Senator Charles Schumer of New York called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate reports suggesting a possible link between skin cancer and retinyl palmitate, now found in many sunscreen products.

“What should the F.D.A. do about sunscreens? And what do consumers need to keep in mind even if they cover themselves with a SPF 70 sunblock?”

HOMEMADE SUN BLOCK

Want to try making your own sun block? Local herbalist Tony(a) Lemos of Blazing Star Herbal School shares the following recipe.:

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA

Sun Block Recipe

  • 1/2 c. St Johns Wort Infused oil
  • 1/2 cup unrefined sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
  • 2 Tbsp Orange  or rose or lavender water
  • 50,0000 IU’s Vitamin E Oil

Optional

  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. borax powder
  • 1 tbsp. unrefined avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp. unrefined jojoba oil

All ingredients can be ordered from JeansGreens.com, or you can order the finished product from Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA by emailing blazingstarclinic@gmail.com.

Food Allergies and Summer Camp

Food Allergies and Summer Camp
By Hilltown Families Guest Writer, Karen A. Jordan

Summer camp tip: Check EpiPen expiration dates, label each EpiPen with your child's name, and bring enough for each counselor and the nurse. (Photo credit: Stusic)

It’s that time of year again…the final countdown of school days, warmer weather, and plans for summer camp. As a parent with a child with a severe peanut allergy, I am quite familiar with the tension, nervousness, and tremendous preparation that come with preparing for summer camp.

Last year my daughter, who was 9 at the time, spent her first week at sleep away camp. The preparation began as soon as I registered her. I called and spoke with the camp director and food service director to talk about food options and ways to keep her safe. The drop off day for summer camp was crazy, to say the least. Lines of parents and children, talking to counselors that were young (according to my standards!). First up: cabin assignment. Walked over to her cabin and met with the counselor. She was a wonderful college-age girl who already had EpiPen training, but I reviewed with her the procedure. One EpiPen would stay with her, and one would stay with nurse. I went over with her the emergency action plan and the phone numbers to call if needed. Then off to the nurse’s station. Dropped off EpiPen with her along with another copy of the emergency action plan and phone numbers to call. Whew! I was emotionally and physically drained! Swim test, setting up her bunk and last goodbyes.

Some tips for parents who are sending their child to camp, whether it be day camp or overnight camp:

  • Check EpiPen expiration dates and make sure child’s name is labeled on each EpiPen, since the contents of a two-pack may be split up. And make sure you bring enough – find out how many counselors there will be, so each one can carry one, as cabin may be split up into smaller groups. And don’t forget the nurse! And, it may be wise if your child is old enough, to have him/her carry their own EpiPen with them from activity to activity.
  • Send in a hearty supply of “safe” snacks for camp store times. Even if some of the food there is safe for him/her to eat, it may be a bit hectic during these times, making it confusing for label reading. Also, there are the issues of children opening their snacks right in front of your child, immediately exposing them to allergens.
  • Dining Hall: Label reading is a must! One person in kitchen should be responsible for reading labels on the food and help make safe meals for your child. I had met with food service director the week before camp and went over menu with him to help reduce exposure to peanut products. We read labels on all products and determined what foods would be safe for her. We also followed the same plan as her school, where her table would be a peanut free table and no peanut butter would be served in the kitchen.
  • Reminded your child that she needs to read labels, wash her hands frequently, and to not eat food if she doesn’t know the ingredients.

The staff at these camps are all willing to work with you to help make your child’s visit to the camp a safe, happy experience. The best advice is to plan ahead as much as possible and to make sure that you have your cell phone with you at all times in case of an emergency or even if the staff has a question for you. I can’t tell you how many times I have received a call and my heart has skipped a beat to soon find out that they just wanted to read a label to me over the phone!

Like This!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Schneyer Jordan

Karen lives in Lenox Dale, MA with her two children, Katie, age 10, and Christopher, age 6. She has severe allergies to several foods, including tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.  Her daughter is allergic to peanuts. Her son was allergic to soy for 2 years and eventually outgrew it.  Karen started finding out more about food allergies when her daughter, who was two at the time, had her first anaphylactic reaction. Years of research and networking, as well as utilizing skills learned during her work experience in human resources and employee training, led Karen to branch out on her own as Berkshire Food Allergy Consulting Services. Now she spend most of her time working on training and development as well as support for those living with food allergies.

A Hilltown Parent Call to Action: “Let’s Turn Our Food System Around!”

Processed food and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is common in the average diet of most adults and children. One local parent requests we all work together to create a healthier nation and sustainable future for our families.

Jamie Bishop of Plainfield, MA writes:

For the first time in history, this generation of children has a shorter life expectancy than their parents or grandparents. Why? Because of the processed food and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that has become the normal average diet of most adults and children.

It’s time we did something about the state of our food chain. I am sure that someone you know is suffering from a processed food, HFCS diet. Please, lets work together to change the way America eats. We can turn this around.

Below are some links to resources that I have compiled.

For more resources:

Please help to turn this system around and create a healthier nation and sustainable future for ourselves and our children.

MA Bans Texting While Driving

Massachusetts Senate Passes Safe Driving Legislation

On Tuesday the Massachusetts Senate passed a safe driving legislative package that bans texting. The bill also prohibits “junior operators,” those under the age of 18, from both texting and talking on a cell phone while driving; and operators of public transit – including the BRTA and school buses – are prohibited from any use of cell phones, except in the case of an emergency.

Read the rest of this entry »

It Takes A Village: A New Initiative for Families in the Hilltowns with Newborns

It Takes A Village Hosts an Open House
February 28th, 2010 in Cummington, MA

It Takes a Village‘ is a free-of-charge, community service that supports families for the first three months after a baby is born. A family is matched with a volunteer who visits the family home on a weekly basis, providing support with anything from meal preparation and dishwashing, to companionship and playing with older children.

The Village is modeled after Many Mothers in Santa Fe, NM. We are based in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, and dedicate our service to the memory of Heather Egan, who gave her own life bringing a new one into the world.

‘It Takes a Village’ was initiated by Maureen Shea after her son was born last autumn. The first six weeks were the most trying time Maureen had ever experienced and she spoke with her midwives, Tanya Rapinchuk and Lucinda McGovern about the extra support needed for families with newborns.

“There was one particular afternoon when my good friend Samantha came over for a couple of hours and in that time she folded laundry, helped me make dinner, made space for me to express my woes and was a generally glowing support”, Maureen shared, “and that visit was a turning point for me in my healing after the birth”.

Lucinda sent a copy of the Many Mothers manual to Maureen and along with Heather Cupo, Davio Danielson, Bi-sek Hsiao, Jaylin Stahl and Anna Toth, ‘It Takes a Village’ was born.

OPEN HOUSE – 02/28/2010 from 2-4pm

At the OPEN HOUSE on February 28th, 2010 in Cummington from 2-4pm, the founders will introduce ‘It Takes a Village‘ to the community at the Cummington Community House at 33 Main Street in Cummington, MA. Expectant families, families with newborns and interested volunteers are warmly welcome. All those who already work with families post-partum are invited to join us and to add their contact information to our list of resources.

The OPEN HOUSE is a family-friendly event! There will be an appearance of the Green Tara puppet from Moejo puppets as well as an excerpt from Maureen’s latest performance piece, Tremble.

Take Action: Health Education Does Not Go Better with Coke

Advocates Urge American Academy of Family Physicians to End Coca -Cola Partnership

Things don’t always go better with Coke. That’s why the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has launched a letter-writing campaign urging the American Academy of Family Physicians to end a planned partnership with the Coca-Cola Company. As part of a new AAFP program called the Consumer Alliance, Coke is providing a reported six-figure grant to the AAFP to “educate consumers about the role their products can play in a healthy, active lifestyle” on the AAFP’s award winning website, FamilyDoctor.org.

“In the midst of an epidemic of childhood obesity, it’s shocking that the AAFP would partner with a company that aggressively markets empty calories to children,” said CCFC’s Director Dr. Susan Linn.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, a child’s chances of becoming overweight increases by 60% for each serving of soda they consume a day. Yet, the Coca-Cola Company markets to children in schools, on social networking sites, and through its sponsorship of American Idol, a top-rated show for children ages 2-11.

“Medical organizations should provide objective information about the negative impact that soft drink consumption has on children’s health,” said Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Director of the Media Center at Judge Baker Children’s Center. “They shouldn’t exploit parents’ trust to help beverage companies market their brands.”

The AAFP/Coke partnership has sparked protest from family physicians around the country, including some who have resigned from the AAFP. “How can any organization that claims to promote public health join forces with a company that promotes products that put our children at risk for obesity, heart disease and early death?” asked Dr. William Walker, Director of Contra Costa Health Services, as he resigned his twenty-five year membership.

CCFC has launched a letter-writing campaign to support the courageous doctors who are demanding that AAFP’s leadership end the partnership.

“It is disappointing that the AAFP would assist Coca-Cola in the company’s obvious attempt to buy credibility,” said Michele Simon, research and policy director at Marin Institute and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back. “But it’s heartening that so many AAFP members are demanding that their organization stay true to its mission to promote public health.”

100 Links (October/November 2009)

100 Links (October/November 2009)

Nearly every day I add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box.

Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog reader nor via email if you subscribe to our newsfeed.  But if you visit the blog on-line and scroll half way down, on the left you will find the column, “Links We Recommend,” with a list of our most recent recommended links.  If you haven’t been visiting the site regularly to peruse these great resources, not to worry – below is the last 100 links we’ve posted in the past two months: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page).

Archived Lists of 100 Links: If you’d like to peruse our List of 100 Links from months past, click HERE and then scroll up or down.

  • Energy Kids: Resource For Teachers
  • The Olive Press: How Olive Oil is Made
  • Hanukkah Music for Kids: Celebrate the Festival of Lights with Music!
  • Study: Preschoolers watching TV at home-based daycare may spend hours in front of TV screen
  • How to Host a Preschool Christmas Party (article)
  • The New WIC Food Package
  • Handmade Christmas Stockings and Tree Skirts made from Recycled Sweaters (DIY)
  • Eco-Friendly, Handmade Advent Calendar for Green Kids (DIY)
  • Toy for Joy Campaign in Western Mass
  • ThinkGreen.com
  • Braille Bug
  • National Park Service: Archeology for Kids
  • Holiday Food Safety Success On-Line Kit
  • Make a Gratitude Cake
  • Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree: A Fun and Easy Activity For The Kids (article)
  • Parenting 101: Talking about money with your kids and teens
  • Ark of Taste: Growing and Eating Endangered Foods
  • Largest crib recall in U.S. history announced
  • Puzzles.com (Resource for Puzzling on the Internet)
  • The War on Soy (article)
  • Virtual Field Trip: How Wheat Works
  • Moms Against Mercury (advocacy group)
  • American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life (MOMA)
  • USDA Backs Rewarding Schools Serving Healthy Food (article)
  • Massachusetts Home Learning Association
  • eFieldTrips.org
  • 10 No-Sauce Foods (Parenting.com)
  • Ditch The Characters For The Classics (Article from Tampa Tribune)
  • Putting the Book Back in Book Fair (Article from mothering.com)
  • Taking consumerism out of school book fairs (article)
  • Kids Craft Weekly: An Advent Challenge
  • Charity Directory of Massachusetts
  • Shriners Hospital (MA Charity)
  • Children’s Miracle Network (Charity)
  • Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society (MA Charity)
  • American Cancer Society (Charity)
  • United Way of the Pioneer Valley (MA Charity)
  • Raise Healthy Eaters (blog)
  • Carrot Museum
  • Virtual Tour of Cranberry Bog
  • Learning A-Z : Free Flu Resources
  • Getting Boys To Read
  • Hadley Neighbors for Sensible Development
  • Kids Craft Weekly: Fancy Holiday Cards
  • Dr. Goodword’s Word Wizard
  • Earth from Space
  • Video: A Vaccine Primer. Health Professionals Speak Out
  • Rules of the Road for Parents in a Digital Age (article)
  • Mathematics Lessons That Are Fun
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    New Study: TV Exposure May Be Associated With Aggressive Behavior in Young Children

    TV Exposure May Be Associated With Aggressive Behavior in Young Children

    Three-year-old children who are exposed to more TV appear to be at an increased risk for exhibiting aggressive behavior, according to a new report co-authored by a researcher from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

    The report, which appears in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, analyzed survey data from 3,128 mothers of children born from 1998 to 2000 in 20 large cities in the United States to examine associations of child television exposure and household television use with aggressive behavior in children.

    “The study shows that there is an association between the number of hours that the television is on at home and early childhood aggression,” says co-author Catherine A. Taylor, assistant professor of Community Health Sciences at Tulane, who conducted the study with lead author Jennifer A. Manganello of University at Albany, State University of New York. “We also found that the number of hours a child directly spends watching TV is associated with increased aggression.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Lead-Free Toy? Use Your Cell Phone to Text in Your Inquiry

    High Lead Levels Found in Toys … AGAIN!

    Health Group Finds High Lead Levels in Toys
    By Jennifer C. Kerr (AP Writer)

    Children’s toys carrying the Barbie and Disney logos have turned up with high levels of lead in them, according to a California-based advocacy group – a finding that may give consumers pause as they shop for the holiday season.

    The Center for Environmental Health tested about 250 children’s products bought at major retailers and found lead levels that exceeded federal limits in seven of them. Lead can cause irreversible brain damage.

    Among those with high lead levels: a Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit (pictured above) and a Disney Tinkerbell Water Lily necklace. The group said it also found excessive lead in a Dora the Explorer Activity Tote, two pairs of children’s shoes, a boys belt and a kids’ poncho.

    Read more from the Associated Press at knoxnews.com.

    Mammograms at 50, Not 40

    Breaking News From Gateway Regional School District: Flu Update

    Wendy V. Long, Editor of Breaking News From Gateway writes:

    Good afternoon:

    The Gateway Regional School District is seeing growing numbers of absences of students who have Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI). Health officials are presuming that people who show ILI right now have Swine Flu. Parents are asked not to send students to school if they have flu-like symptoms. Students who are ill should not return to school until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without the use of products like Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

    Read more here: Hilltown Families Community Bulletin Board

    TAKE ACTION: Prevent Health Services Funding Cuts to Schools!

    Mimi Stamer, President of the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization writes:

    Funding cuts are projected for the school health services (line item 4590-0250). Please call the Governor’s office immediately at (617) 725-4000 with the following message:

    “I am a parent/educator/community partner in _____ (town). I’m calling to ask that the Governor not make any additional cuts to line item 4590-0250 which has already undergone significant cuts this year during a time of great demand and stress on school health services. The Dept of Public Health, Essential Health Services grant is fundamental to school nurses’ ability to provide surveillance and management of the commonwealth’s students – an H1N1 vulnerable population. The grant also supports school nurse positions which are critical to making decisions on student dismissals and even school closures based upon population risk. The line item also supports school based health centers, a critical service for primary care especially needed during the downturn in the economy where parents rely on our services, especially if they are unemployed. It makes no sense to cut these safety nets for students in the Commonwealth. Thank you”

    Let your voice be heard- and make the difference!

    THANK YOU-
    Mimi Stamer
    mimi_stamer@needham.k12.ma.us

    Workshop Giveaway with Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield

    No Fear Flu Workshop
    at Blazing Star Herbal School

    IMG_1042

    Elecampane (Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos)

    Hilltown Families and Blazing Star Herbal School (BSHS) in Ashfield, MA have partnered up to offer one lucky participant free registration for their fantastic November 8th, workshop, No Fear Flu. Participants of this timely workshop will leave feeling empowered to handle their families winter health needs! Find out how to win a free registration to this herbal workshop below. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 11/04/09 @ 7pm (EST)

    ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

    This very popular wellness workshop will be offered at BSHS the Inn at Norton HIll (new location) in Ashfield, MA on Sunday, November 8th, 2009 from 10-3pm. Workshop participants will explore nourishing herbs, medicinal foods and tonic herbs that strengthen their terrain, build their immunity, while supporting optimum wellness. They will become familiar with common anti-bacterial and anti-viral herbs, how to prepare them and how to use them in ways that are safe, tasty and health providing for the entire family. Participants will look at ways to prevent getting the flu by building up the immune system while also become familiar with treatments for the flu. Participants of the No Fear Flu Workshop will learn how to make simple and effective medicines from common herbs and foods for their family. – This is one workshop whose notes you will refer to again and again!

    ABOUT BLAZING STAR HERBAL SCHOOL

    Dedicated to teaching traditional herbal medicine in a way that supports a more sustainable future and shows respect for the integrity of nature, BSHS offers a unique perspective on herbalism, weaving social and political aspects of health and healing through the study of medicinal herbs and food practices. Serving as a local and national resource for education and networking, BSHS has been in Ashfield for over 25 years on 26 wooded acres of pine trees, rushing brooks, wildflower meadows and gardens. Right here in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, the school offers unique and exciting programs in herbal studies to give both the student and professional an opportunity to delve deeper into the art and science of herbalism. Their courses have been highly acclaimed for inspiring students to find their unique healing path through personal relationship with the plant world. For more information about BSHS visit them on line at blazingstarherbalschool.typepad.com, or contact Tony(a) Lemos at 413.625.6875, tlemos@valinet.com.

    HOW TO WIN

    Your chance to win a free registration to this herbal workshop with Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

       

    1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
    2. FULL NAME and where you
    3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
    4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
    5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.
    6.  

    IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 11/04/09 @ 7pm (EST)

    Organic vs. Natural

    Organic vs. Natural: Don’t Let Your Family Be Fooled

    Organic Consumers Association writes:

    The “natural” food phenomenon worries many in the organic industry. So-called “natural” products aren’t regulated and don’t have to meet any special standards, so they can be marketed more cheaply than genuine certified organic food. Many formerly organic brands are trying to fool consumers into thinking natural and organic are the same.

    Early this year, for instance, WhiteWave Foods added “natural” Silk soy milk to its line of organic products. This summer, WhiteWave (a unit of Dean Foods) broadened its Horizon line of organic products with its first “natural” offering: Little Blends, a yogurt for toddlers. In August, it began test-marketing Milk Breakers, a six-ounce single serving of “natural” milk with added protein.

    This year, for the first time since at least 2004, sales of “natural” foods and beverages will likely grow at a faster rate than sales of organic foods, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

    The organic industry is fighting back. In September, Organic Valley will debut an online calculator that lets consumers see how many chemicals they avoid by using organic milk.

    “We’re holding on when some other sectors are sinking,” says Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive for Organic Valley. “Our future is organic.”

    Read more HERE.

    Lunch Room Updates

    School Lunch Updates:

    Lunch Lessons by Ann Cooper.  Remember how simple school lunches used to be? Youd have something from every major food group, run around the playground for a while, and you looked and felt fine. But today its not so simple. Schools are actually feeding the American crisis of childhood obesity and malnutrition. Most cafeterias serve a veritable buffet of processed, fried, and sugary foods, and although many schools have attempted to improve, they are still not measuring up: 78 percent of the school lunch programs in America do not meet the USDAs nutritional guidelines.  Chef Ann Cooper has emerged as one of the nations most influential and most respected advocates for changing how our kids eat. In fact, she is something of a renegade lunch lady, minus the hairnet and scooper of mashed potatoes. Ann has worked to transform cafeterias into culinary classrooms. In Lunch Lessons, she and Lisa Holmes spell out how parents and school employees can help instill healthy habits in children.  They explain the basics of good childhood nutrition and suggest dozens of tasty, home-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The pages are also packed with recommendations on how to eliminate potential hazards from the home, bring gardening and composting into daily life, and how to support businesses that provide local, organic food.  Yet learning about nutrition and changing the way you run your home will not cure the plague of obesity and poor health for this generation of children. Only parental activism can spark widespread change. With inspirational examples and analysis, Lunch Lessons is more than just a recipe book—it gives readers the tools to transform the way children everywhere interact with food.

    "Lunch Lessons" by Ann Cooper.

    How the USDA Helped Bring Processed Food to School Lunch

    Most adults don’t have glorious memories of school lunch. It was sloppy Joes, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti with meat sauce, and it was usually on the bland side. But the food wasn’t bad, and it was almost always cooked from scratch by an army of school lunch ladies. Read more at School Lunch Talk.

    Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children

    Remember how simple school lunches used to be? You’d have something from every major food group, run around the playground for a while, and you looked and felt fine. But today it’s not so simple. Schools are actually feeding the American crisis of childhood obesity and malnutrition. Most cafeterias serve a veritable buffet of processed, fried, and sugary foods, and although many schools have attempted to improve, they are still not measuring up: 78 percent of the school lunch programs in America do not meet the USDA’s nutritional guidelines. Chef Ann Cooper has emerged as one of the nation’s most influential and most respected advocates for changing how our kids eat.

    In Lunch Lessons, she and Lisa Holmes spell out how parents and school employees can help instill healthy habits in children. They explain the basics of good childhood nutrition and suggest dozens of tasty, home-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The pages are also packed with recommendations on how to eliminate potential hazards from the home, bring gardening and composting into daily life, and how to support businesses that provide local, organic food. Yet learning about nutrition and changing the way you run your home will not cure the plague of obesity and poor health for this generation of children. Only parental activism can spark widespread change. With inspirational examples and analysis, Lunch Lessons is more than just a recipe book—it gives readers the tools to transform the way children everywhere interact with food.

    American Lunchroom: A Photo Essay

    Check out American Lunchroom for a photo essay of what our kids are eating at school: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  Viewers are invited to send in a photo of what their school lunch looks like too.

    100 Links (June/July 2009)

    100 Links (June/July 2009)

    Nearly every day I add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box.

    Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog reader nor via email if you subscribe to our newsfeed.  But if you visit the blog on-line and scroll half way down, on the left you will find the column, “Links We Recommend,” with a list of our most recent recommended links.  If you haven’t been visiting the site regularly to peruse these great resources, not to worry – below is the last 100 links we’ve posted in the past two months: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page).

    Archived Lists of 100 Links: If you’d like to peruse our List of 100 Links from months past, click HERE and then scroll up or down.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides

    Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides
    By Michael Jolliffe

    Young children are potentially susceptible to certain pesticides for a longer period of time than previously thought. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has revealed that children are dangerously vulnerable to the effects of environmental pesticides, and for far longer than originally suspected…

    … Of particular concern to the researchers were chlorpyrifos and diazinon, pesticide chemicals still used ubiquitously in US agriculture. Pesticides have been cited as a possible cause of developmental difficulties and childhood cancers.

    Read more here: Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides.

    Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in Northampton

    Cooley Dickinson Hospital Childbirth Center takes baby steps toward national initiative

    Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Childbirth Center in Northampton, MA has received a certificate of intent from the UNICEF/World Health Organization Baby-Friendly USA Hospital initiative. Receiving this document is a first step in Cooley Dickinson’s application process toward becoming certified as a Baby-Friendly hospital, according to this organization’s ten-step process.

    Paula Mattson, international board certified lactation consultant and the hospital’s liaison to the Baby-Friendly initiative says the receipt of the certificate indicates “Cooley Dickinson has joined other pioneering birth facilities in setting standards of excellence for assisting pregnant women and new mothers with breastfeeding.”

    “While the certificate recognizes Cooley Dickinson’s commitment to breastfeeding and to the completion of the first phase of the application process, additional steps such as nurse and physician training need to occur before the Childbirth Center can promote itself as a Baby-Friendly hospital,” adds Mattson. Boston Medical Center is the only Massachusetts hospital that has met all standards of the Baby-Friendly USA Hospital Initiative.

    The certificate of intent lauds Cooley Dickinson Hospital for its “sincere commitment to promote, support and protect breastfeeding by striving to implement the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding of the UNICEF/WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative.” Mattson says Cooley Dickinson employees are working toward those steps, which according to the UNICEF/WHO include:

    1. Maintaining a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
    2. Training all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
    3. Informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
    4. Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
    5. Showing mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
    6. Giving breastfeeding infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
    7. Practicing “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
    8. Encouraging unrestricted breastfeeding.
    9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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