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…

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Nursing Mothers Invited to Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week: Aug 1st-7th

Berkshire County’s Big Latch On

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals. - Western MA Latch On event, organized by La Leche League of North/Central Berkshires, will happen on Saturday, August 6th on the Town Common in Adams, MA.

Marya LaRoche writes:

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate, the Le Leche League has announced a nationwide breastfeeding event called the Big Latch On.   On Saturday August 6, 2011 at 10:30am thousands of nursing mothers and their babies across the United States will gather in their own communities to take part in the Big Latch On, America’s first synchronized nursing event in multiple locations. Our local Big Latch On event, organized by La Leche League of North/Central Berkshires, will take place at the Town Common in Adams, MA.  Mothers are encourage to arrive by 10:00 a.m. for check-in.

The first record for a single location was from Berkeley, CA USA in 2002 where 1,130 mothers breastfed simultaneously. The international record for one location is 3,738 mothers held by the Philippines in 2006.  Since then, there have been several coordinated international events and in October 2010, 9,826 nursing mothers were recorded at 325 sites in 16 countries.

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Surgeon General’s “Call to Action” to Support Breastfeeding

Everyone Can Help Make Breastfeeding Easier, Surgeon General Says in “Call to Action”

Dr. Benjamin’s “Call to Action” identifies ways that families, communities, employers and health care professionals can improve breastfeeding rates and increase support for breastfeeding.

According to a recent press release from the Surgeon General’s office last week, Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin has issued a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,” outlining steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies.

“Many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed,” Dr. Benjamin said. “They shouldn’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed.”

“Of course, the decision to breastfeed is a personal one,” she added, “no mother should be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed.”

While 75 percent of U.S. babies start out breastfeeding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, only 13 percent are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months.  The rates are particularly low among African-American infants.

Many mothers who attempt to breastfeed say several factors impede their efforts, such as a lack of support at home; absence of family members who have experience with breastfeeding; a lack of breastfeeding information from health care clinicians; a lack of time and privacy to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace; and an inability to connect with other breastfeeding mothers in their communities.

Dr. Benjamin’s “Call to Action” identifies ways that families, communities, employers and health care professionals can improve breastfeeding rates and increase support for breastfeeding:

  • Communities should expand and improve programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.
  • Health care systems should ensure that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding.  Hospitals should become more “baby-friendly,” by taking steps like those recommended by the UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
  • Clinicians should ensure that they are trained to properly care for breastfeeding mothers and babies.  They should promote breastfeeding to their pregnant patients and make sure that mothers receive the best advice on how to breastfeed.
  • Employers should work toward establishing paid maternity leave and high-quality lactation support programs.  Employers should expand the use of programs that allow nursing mothers to have their babies close by so they can feed them during the day.  They should also provide women with break time and private space to express breast milk.
  • Families should give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.

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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.


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.


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.

Milkettes: A Five-Star Rating

The Power of One: Weaned
By HF Contributing Writer, Dana Pilson

I remember it well, Daisy as a chubby pink baby. She looks up at me with a toothless grin, and then makes a fist with one hand. She opens and closes it, one, two three times.

“Hungry, again?” Okay, I pull up my shirt and let her nurse. As usual, she falls asleep in my lap, her face smushed against my body, growing damp from my own sweat.

We taught her sign language from the get-go, and by the time she was a year old, Daisy had a repertoire of over one hundred signs. But by far, her favorite was the sign for “milk.” She’d wave her little hand in front of my face, squeezing that fist, making the sign whenever she was hungry, tired, cranky, or just wanted some together time. As a Dr. Sears nurse-on-demand convert, I rarely, if ever, said “no.”

When Daisy transformed into a precocious and extremely verbal toddler, she moved on from the sign to a spoken request: “milky!” It transformed, as she got older, to “milkettes,” and later, “I want your boobies!” (where she picked that up, I don’t know), but then settled back in to the original “milky.” I continued to nurse her. She didn’t eat any substantial real food until she was almost two years old. Until then, she subsisted almost entirely on her mother’s milk. We perfected the “I’ll sit in your lap and nurse and no one will have any idea what I’m doing” hold, which as far as I know is not found in any of the breast-feeding books I read. People would walk by and say “aww, how cute, she’s sleeping on her mom,” and I would just smile, knowing that her lips were busily sucking away.

I once asked Daisy why she loved her milky so much, and she said, “because it’s fresh, sweet and delicious, and always available!” We wondered how many children breast-feed long enough to give it such a five-star rating.

Daisy eventually gave up nursing during the day, but as a pre-schooler she would have a nip at bedtime and a refresher to start her day in the morning. She would also wake up in the middle of the night and want to nurse to fall back asleep. I never figured out if she was waking up because we co-slept, or we co-slept because that made it easier to deal with her nighttime awakenings. In any case, she didn’t sleep through the night until she was four years old. And that may be one of our biggest reasons for having an only child, right there. I don’t know if I could go through that again with another. “Of course,” my mother insists, “you wouldn’t! A second child would sleep in a crib.” She’d take a bottle. She’d cry herself to sleep instead of being nursed and rocked and babied. She wouldn’t sleep nuzzled up against your arm, your face, your body all night. She’d sleep through the night at six months. Really? Would I want that? I think I’d rather mother one child, nurse her, sleep with her, ward off night terrors, give her my all, than have a whole nursery of kids crying themselves to sleep.

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Mothers Asked to Make Human Milk Donations for Haiti Infants

Urgent Call for Human Milk Donations for Haiti Infants

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and premature infants in the United States.

This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States will be shipped to the U.S. Navy ship Comfort stationed outside Haiti. Comfort is currently set up with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the earthquake. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment and supplies to Comfort. Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric neonatologist, is on board to coordinate distribution of the milk to infants in need. HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLLI are responding to requests to provide milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who have recently delivered babies on board the USNS Comfort, but an urgent need exists for additional donations.

At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk to Haiti infants on land has not yet been established. As soon as that infrastructure is in place, additional donations will be provided to older infants.

Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers’ Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available on the HMBANA web site.

Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will be used for Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to continue to serve sick and premature infants in the United States. Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and medical professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be used for infants in disasters or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due to its disease prevention properties. It is safe, clean, and does not depend on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an emergency. Relief workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to provide support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding, and to assist pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

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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.

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Breastfeeding Mothers Needed For UMass Breast Cancer Studies

Tanya Lieberman of Northampton, MA writes:

Dear Hilltown Families,

Are you nursing? Did you have your first child before 25 and are now 35 or over? Or, have you had a biopsy or are you expecting to have one?

I’ve been working with Dr. Kathleen Arcaro at UMass to recruit breastfeeding mothers to participate in two breast cancer studies, and I’m writing to see if any of you would qualify to participate. These studies are aimed at identifying molecular biomarkers for the development of breast cancer. If successful, they may lead to new means of early detection, and possibly new treatments for breast cancer.

We are looking for mothers who:

  • Study #1: Had and nursed a child at the age of 25 or younger, and are now 35 or older, and are nursing
  • Study #2: Have had a breast biopsy in the past, or are expecting to have one in the near future, and are nursing.

Participants will be asked to provide a milk sample and fill out a questionnaire, and will receive $25 in thanks. If you live locally the milk can be picked up at your home, at your convenience.

If you think you might qualify and are interested in participating, please contact me at More information is at And feel free to forward this information to anyone who might have an interest!

Thanks for your help!

Additional resources:

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