Breastfeeding in the News

A North Texas Mother has not only set a new world record for the amount of donated breast milk, she has tripled the previous record!

Alyse Ogletree, a mother of two from Denton, donated 53,081 ounces of breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas --- a total of more than 414 gallons!!! Now that is impressive!

Ogletree found out Monday that she had been admitted into the Guinness Book of World Records after having applied back in March.

The previous record-holder was Amelia Bommker of Illinois, who donated 16,321 ounces of breast milk.

Ogletree said in March that she was overproducing breast milk when her son Kyle was born in January 2011, filling the hospital’s reserves of breast milk. A nurse asked if she’d ever considered donating her milk, an option Ogletree previously had not known existed.

Soon after, Ogletree found the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas and donated 1,880 ounces in total. After the birth of her second child, Kage, she resumed donating to the milk bank, producing on average 130 ounces per day, Ogletree said.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of something as special as helping out little babies,” she said.

While the world is celebrating the upcoming arrival of Royal Baby #2, Kate Middleton is probably trying to keep her breakfast down. The Duchess of Cambridge is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness that she also had while pregnant with Prince George.

Though most pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness, Hyperemesis Gravidarum is far less common, and way worse, sending more than 50,000 pregnant women in America to the hospital each year. 

Unfortunately for Duchess Kate, women are more likely to get hyperemesis gravidarum if they had it during their first pregnancy. The exact cause of the illness is unknown, but may be due to high levels of one pregnancy hormone spiking and triggering the part of a woman's brain that causes nausea and vomiting. Signs of the condition first appear four to six weeks into a pregnancy and peak between nine and 13 weeks, but about one fifth of unlucky women have to continue treatment for the entire nine months. 

The symptoms include never-ending nausea and severe vomiting that causes dehydration and prevents you from keeping any food down as well as possible weight-loss, headaches, and fainting. Some women can be treated at home through bed rest and homeopathic treatments; more severe cases must be treated in a hospital through IV fluids and feeding tubes. Though she's being treated by doctors in Kensington Palace for the moment, Kate was hospitalized while pregnant with Prince George.

Like last time around, KMidd will likely lay low for a while as she goes through this. She's already canceled a visit to Oxford and any incognito shopping trips to pick out baby clothes are probably out of the question for a while. Here's hoping her symptoms end soon, so she can join the rest of the world in Royal Baby Fever! -

Pink, Jaime King, Gwen Stefani & Miranda Kerr are among celebrity moms who have helped glamorize breastfeeding recently and now, Olivia Wilde. On the cover of Glamour Magazine, cover girl Olivia Wilde has joined their proudly lactating ranks stating “ Breastfeeding is the most natural thing. I don’t know, now it feels like Otis should always be on my breast. Being shot with Otis is so perfect because any portrait of me right now isn’t complete without my identity as a mother being a part of that.”

It was a fitting message, since she seems to be a champion of maternal health around the world, judging by her appearance at the UN Global Moms + Social Good Conference this past spring. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) encourages breastfeeding for at least six months, and Wilde’s son is already 5 months old. The timing of the image couldn’t have been better: We’re in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week, during which the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, with the support of WHO and UNICEF, is busy promoting the health benefits of nursing in 175 countries around the world.

In the Glamour photo caption, Wilde notes that she is happy with the message her breastfeeding image sends — but also admits she doesn’t always look so picture perfect. “It felt like we were capturing that multifaceted woman we’ve been discussing — that we know we can be. You can be someone who is at once maternal and professional and sexy and self-possessed,” she said. “[But] I mean, I certainly don’t really look like that when I’m [typically] breastfeeding. And there’s usually a diaper involved.”

Yes, the pop superstar Katy Perry was recent guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live and called herself "an assistant doula" for her sister's home birth.  Katy went into great detail about the beauty of her sister's home birth and said there were candles all over her living room, calming music and it was very "zen".  There was also a home birth bath tub in the living room and Katy says it was a very beautiful way to bring a child into the world.  Home births used to be the norm before the 1900's, when most women started going to hospitals to give birth.  Many moms still choose the home birth route, however.  Home births are something to consider if you are having a healthy low risk pregnancy, if you don't want an episiotomy or other interventions, if you want to be in the comfort of your own home and be surrounded by friends and family.  Home births cost less than a hospital and they also provide instant skin to skin contact for bonding and breastfeeding. Most moms who choose home births have a trained midwife present in case the baby needs oxygen or the mom needs IV's due to dehydration.  Midwives also bring gauze pads, a thermometer and a pan for sitz baths after birth.  If you are interested in a home birth, make sure you interview several midwives who have experience with home births and make sure you have a Plan B option for the hospital in case of an emergency.  It is a good idea to see if the midwife works with an OB/GYN. 

You would think a store that specializes in lingerie (although not too many nursing bras) would allow moms to breastfeed comfortably, especialy in a fitting room.  Not so at a Victoria's Secret store at the Domain shopping center in Austin, TX.  New mom Ashley Clawson was shopping at the store when her baby started to fuss.  She politely asked the sales clerk if she could nurse him in a fitting room and before the girl could answer her, another employee immediately said "no" and that she could "go nurse outside of the store in the alley". As a sidenote, the Domain is an outdoor shopping center.  Clawson immediately left the store and headed to the nearest restroom and nursed her baby in the toilet stall.   Clawson called her husband and was in disbelief that at store like Victoria' Secret, where breasts are shown everywhere, did not alow breastfeeding.  She started researching laws in Texas regarding public breastfeeding and came to find out that she is protected to nurse her baby anywhere. Clawson reached out to the Victoria's Secret store manager and the CEO of the company.  While they issued an apology, she didn't feel like they took her complaint seriously.  She has since become an advocate of women's rights regarding breastfeeding. 

The Pioneer Valley located in Western Massachusetts is home to a range of programs assisting mothers with infants — and according to statistics, and probably to women you know, help is definitely needed.

In the last month, the Gazette (Our Valley Newspaper) featured some fantastic articles about several programs serving mothers: the new breast milk depot at Northampton Area Pediatrics; Hilltown Village volunteers; and MotherWoman, a Hadley-based advocacy group for women and families.

The Valley is quite lucky to have such programs — and the countless others that support families following childbirth. The work they do is necessary: It does take a village to raise a child.

The breast milk depot is organized by the Pioneer Valley Breastfeeding Coalition. Donated breast milk is being collected, screened and pasteurized before being sent to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, located out by Boston. From there it mostly goes to hospitals to help sick and premature infants fight life-threatening infections in a way formula cannot. But breast milk banks and depots are rare. The Northampton depot, which opened Aug. 30, is only the fourth such place in all of New England.

Hilltown Village is a unique community organization that offers free, neighbor-to-neighbor support for families with newborns who live in the Hilltowns. It has operated since 2009 and now has a staff of about 15 trained volunteers. Hilltown Village volunteers visit the homes of new mothers and help them with child care, errands, chores — whatever the new mom needs.

Also, MotherWoman hired a new executive director, Shannon M. Koehn, the former associate director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal Inc. in Buffalo, N.Y.

Being a new parent is difficult, but particularly so for mothers who in the earliest stages of a child’s development are still healing from delivery and often take on most of the responsibility for child feeding and care. There’s also a more lofty set of standards mothers are held to than fathers.

Of course, this is wrong. There shouldn’t be a socially enforced distinction between the role of father and mother. But there is, making the extra support provided by these maternal programs vital. Here’s a sample of what mothers grapple with in the weeks following childbirth:

■ Healing and adjusting: After a baby is born, many moms experience new health problems, according to a survey of 2,400 mothers, “Listening to Mothers III: New Mothers Speak Out,” by the Childbirth Connection. In the weeks after delivering a baby, 58 percent of mothers said they were suffering from sleep loss, 54 percent were stressed out and 51 percent were physically exhausted. Many women were also dealing with sore nipples, backache, weight control and lack of sexual desire.

■ Women feel guilty: In the “What Moms Choose: The Working Mother Report” by Working Mother, 48 percent of working moms and 42 percent of stay-at-home moms said they feel guilty they’re not doing enough to take care of themselves. For working moms, 51 percent said they feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids. And 55 percent of stay-at-home moms said they worry about not making a contribution to the family finances.

■ Breast-feeding troubles: Fewer than half of mothers surveyed by Childbirth Connection said they breast-fed for as long as they had intended. The top reason women gave for ceasing breast-feeding: it was too difficult. There’s an old saying, “When mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy.” Support for mothers is support for families, which translates into support for everyone. We congratulate MotherWoman, the Pioneer Valley Breastfeeding Coalition and Hilltown Village for their important work. As they continue to back women, we hope the Valley backs the programs.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2013 Report Card has been published and breastfeeding rates are on the rise in the United States!  The CDC says 77% of new moms are nursing their babies and that is a 6% increase from 10 years ago.  In addition to the good news about breastfeeding rates on the rise, about half of these moms are continuing with breastfeeding for at least six months, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.   What is the reason for this increase?   The CDC suggests that the increase may be because more hospitals are encouraging breastfeeding by giving moms more time to bond with their children after birth. Hospitals across the United States are also taking the proper steps to become Baby-Friendly, which means they are partial to breastfeeding and do not allow any type of formula bag, coupon or sample in their hospital.  The CDC is delighted that the breastfeeding rates have gone up.  Babies who are breastfed have lower risks for many diseases and illness such as ear infections, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes and obesity.  Mothers who nurse are less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancers.  The state of Idaho came in first place with the most breastfeeding moms, around 91.8% of new moms breastfeed there.  Other states with high grades were California, Oregon, Colorado and New Hampshire.  The state with the lowest breastfeeding rate was Mississippi.  Only 50.5% of new moms ever breastfed.  Only 9.1% of moms made it to a full year of breastfeeding.  Education and support of breastfeeding is key for any state that is determined to become one of the elite.  As reported on CBSnews.com

A couple new breast milk banks have opened and one of them is in China!  Contaminated baby formula has been an ongoing issue in China, that started back in 2008 with an outbreak of melamine, a chemical that is used to make resin.  The substance was found in baby formula after several infants developed kidney stones, over 50,000 were hospitalized and some even died.  Chinese baby formula makers used melamine to apparently increase the protein level in the formula.  One would think that Chinese mothers would immediately turn to breastfeeding with such a scare,  however it has always been difficult for new moms in China to get the breastfeeding support they need.  Chinese employment laws push moms to use formula and many women have to return back to work shortly after giving birth.  Many Chinese factories don't provide adequate space for pumping.  Hospitals get perks from formula companies and samples are often given to new moms.  The new milk bank in China is located in Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center and is scheduled to open in June.  Over eighty women have pumped their breast milk and donated it to the bank since March of this year.  While one milk bank will not be able to provide coverage across China and it's gazillion number of moms, this milk bank is a step in the right direction and hopefully other provinces will follow suit.  The other new breast milk bank will open in Orlando, Florida and will be the states first milk depot. 

No April fools joke here!  Today is a big day for the state of Oklahoma as a breast milk bank opens.  The Oklahoma Breast Milk Bank will start screening donors today and it will take place at the University of Oklahoma Medical.  Before today, breastfeeding moms would have to donate their milk to a bank in Texas.  The conception of Oklahoma's Breast Milk Bank took place two years ago as Anne Darnell-Gillingham, President of the not-for-profit milk bank, was with her pregnant friend about what a shame it was that their state didn't have a milk bank.  Her daughter Nellie was in the NICU and she would pump day and night so that her daughter could get all the breast milk she needed.  Of course Nellie was so tiny that she couldn't consume all the milk that Anne was pumping and she was told by a nurse to donate her breast milk.   She ended up donating it to the milk bank in Fort Worth, TX and at the same time, the dream of opening a milk bank in Oklahoma was created.  Anne and her friend spent two years planning and fundraising so they could purchase screening equipment and pasteurizing machines.  The screenings will begin today and the breast milk donations will be collected in May of this year.  A local blood bank is going to be a drop off location as well as local hospitals in the near future.  Anne is more than pleased that her dream came true and that her milk bank can provide breast milk to babies in need in her own state.  As reported on Fox23.com

The state of Maine is looking to increase awareness and breastfeeding support especially with low income mothers.  Maine's WIC program has a vast majority of new moms who are enrolled yet they choose to formula feed their babies.  Even though breastfeeding support classes are offered and the program endorses breast milk, the state still spends over $1.4 million per year to provide the low income mothers with formula.  Although low income moms from Maine represent a high percentage of choosing formula, the state on a whole is about even with the national average.  In 2012, there were 76 percent of babies in the state who were breastfed at least once.  Maine also has several Baby-Friendly hospitals (where formula bags are banned),  they are ranked #3 for the amount of board certified lactation consultants in the nation and ranked #4 for the amount of La Leche League leaders.  Seems like mothers living in Maine should all be breastfeeding!  Unfortunately not so...the Maine WIC program provides around $118,000 of formula cans per month to moms in need.  Maine mothers (of all incomes) also receive unsolicited formula packages in the mail after they come home from the hospital.  While some mothers use formula to supplement, others may see this package as an incentive to not breastfeed...especially if that mother is having difficulties with breastfeeding.  The free package includes formula samples and coupons.  Not all mothers are swayed to switch to formula because of the package, but it sure assists those moms who may already be on the fence with nursing their baby.  A few Maine hospitals (in Augusta and Waterville) that aren't certified as Baby-Friendly have stopped accepting formula bags.  As reported on onlinesentinel.com