It can be a challenging time in many ways to have your baby placed in the NICU. It isn’t the new beginning that a new mother had hoped for when she pictures her precious cherub entering the world! Dr. Alan Greene, a practicing pediatrician and the author of Feeding Baby Green offers some helpful suggestions to families whose young infant has been placed in the NICU. There are things that the new mother and her supporting family members can do to that can make a difference – as outlined below. For more information, please visit Dr. Greene’s website.

Helpful Tips for the New Mother Whose Infant Is in the NICU

By Dr. Alan Greene

1) Breast milk is a powerful gift for babies in general, and all the more so for babies who start life in the NICU. If possible, it’s well worth the effort (for your baby’s health and for your own).

2) Many babies in the NICU can’t feed by mouth yet. Others can take oral feeds, but aren’t strong enough to nurse. Others could nurse but need extra fortification mixed with their feeds. In all of these situations, start pumping and saving breast milk as soon as practical.

3) Ask to see a lactation consultant, even if you’re not ready to start pumping or nursing. This could easily fall through the cracks in a NICU, so don’t wait, ask. They’ll be glad you did. (So will you and your baby!)

4) Be sure the containers you use to store and feed breast milk are free of BPA and phthalates — like all of the products made by BornFree. This goes for the pump and tubing too. BPA and phthalates act like hormones. No one benefits from being exposed, but this is especially true for vulnerable babies.

5) Hold your baby when you can, as appropriate. Skin-to-skin contact, also known as “kangaroo care” is even better. Sometimes the only contact may be a brush of your finger, but even that can be powerful.

6) Get the rest, food, support, and help you need for yourself. You deserve it. And it will help your baby too. Airplane instructions remind us, in the event of an emergency, to put on our own masks first, and then help our children. This wisdom applies to the NICU. First taking care of yourself helps your baby (and your milk supply) in many ways.

These NICU days may seem very long right now, but they will end and soon become a memory. Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of these unrepeatable moments.

Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician, the author of Feeding Baby Green, and the founder DrGreene.com. He is a Founding Partner of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, and on the Board of Directors of The Organic Center, and on the Advisory Board for Healthy Child, Healthy World. Intel named Dr. Greene the Children’s Health Hero of the Internet.

Dr. Greene is also affiliated with BORNFREE, BPA-Free feeding products for babies. BornFree’s bottles combine naturally with breastfeeding as the natural shape of the silicone nipples allows baby to alternate easily between breast and bottle. For more information, visit www.newbornfree.com.

Soothing relief for sore, cracked and dry nipples is in sight with miniOrganics Nipple Balm! Made with 100% organic ingredients, so it is safe for mom and baby, this award-winning balm is enriched with organic shea butter, jojoba, avocado and infused calendula oils. A little goes a long way when seeking relief from irritation, and the jar is sized just right for tucking into a diaper bag or purse. Moms’ will love the fact that all of the ingredients are certified organic, which means the balm does not need to be washed off before baby starts to breastfeed again.

This lovely, soothing nipple balm by miniOrganics was created in Australia, along with an entire line of infant products, organic goodies for the new mother, and a gorgeous gift selection. The philosophy is simple – miniOrganics only formulates pure, natural and certified organic products! Every single product is free from genetically modified ingredients, pesticide residues, petrochemicals, sulphates and parabens. You can learn more here.

To order, please visit their website.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Melissa Rojas is Certified Medical Assistant and a Certified Lactation Counselor working at a pediatric primary care office in Takoma Park, Maryland. She offers practical tips and suggestions as the new mother prepares to breastfeed her newborn infant. A BIG thanks to Melissa for providing such detailed tips for this article!

10 Steps to Simple Breastfeeding

By Melissa Rojas, CMA, CLC

1. Nurse often.

  • Feed my baby ON DEMAND.
  • Feed my baby every time she/he:

+ puts hands in mouth

+ turns head to the side and opens mouth

+ makes lots of eye movements while sleeping

  • Keep my baby close to me.

2. Get help.

  • Get help from a professional, (someone who has breastfed exclusively).
  • Make sure my doctors can inform me about breast milk and breastfeeding.

3. Enjoy my baby.

  • Spend time with my baby. SKIN to SKIN.
  • Politely ask friends and family to help with errands and housework.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • Keep my baby close.
  • If I need a break, pump then take a break.

4. I have confidence in MYSELF and my milk.

  • My early milk IS enough.
  • I do not need to give my baby any artificial milk.
  • Keep my baby close.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • I CAN do this! I CAN give my baby the best!

5. Tell the nurses at the hospital.

  • “I am going to breastfeed.”
  • “I want to keep my baby SKIN to SKIN until my baby latches on.”

6. Talk to breastfeeding moms.

  • Talk to moms who only breastfeed.
  • Ask questions.
  • Go to next La Leche Leaque Meeting: ______________ Call (301) 589-8675 for more information.
  • Check if my hospital/birth center has breastfeeding clinics.

7. Make friends with my breasts.

  • My breasts are a part of my body and were made to feed babies.
  • I should not be ashamed to feed my baby in public.
  • Wear comfortable bras and clothes.

8. Buy a good pump.

  • What pump is best for me?
  • How many hours will I be working?
  • How often will I use it?
  • Start pumping and storing 2-3 weeks before I go back to work. (Never pump while pregnant.)

9. Tell everyone I am going to breastfeed.

  • Tell my family and friends.
  • Tell my babysitter and my job.
  • Tell my OB and my baby’s pediatrician.
  • Let them know, “I am going to feed my baby.”

10. Make a plan.

  • Why do I want to breastfeed?
  • What is exclusive breastfeeding?
  • How long should I breastfeed? How long do I want to breastfeed?

In addition, Melissa Rojas also recommends the following as a basic starter kit for breastfeeding:

Baby wearing gear (sling, etc.)

Comfortable and ergonomic nursing bra

Breast pads

Dual electric daily-use breast pump (if you are returning to work for > 30hrs/week)

Nursing tanks (to be able to wear your regular clothes over and not expose your tummy)

A good support network (friends and family that are aware and support your commitment to breastfeeding, this means you must tell them before the baby is born)

A breastfeeding knowledgeable OB/pediatrician

New moms will love this fresh frittata for breakfast (or anytime!) that packs 16.7 grams of protein per serving. This light, airy egg dish by Linda Eckhardt of The Silver Cloud Diet is ready in about 20 minutes – perfect for the time-crunched family!

Asparagus Frittata

Ingredients

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Preparation

Heat olive oil into a 10-inch oven-proof frying pan over medium high heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until the asparagus are barely tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour in eggs and cook until almost set, but still runny on top, about 2 minutes. While cooking, pre-heat oven broiler.

Sprinkle cheese over eggs and put in oven to broil until cheese is melted and browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven with oven mitts and slide frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.

*Recipe courtesy of Linda Eckhardt of the Silver Cloud Diet. Please visit The Silver Cloud Diet for more delightfully simple and healthy recipes!*

Moms, drink to your baby’s good health! Mamatini™ is the first-ever, doctor-designed, ready-to-drink, organic herbal infusion created to help women breastfeed better, easier, and for longer. This lovely drink is best served chilled or over ice, so not only is it good for you and for your baby, but it is refreshing, as well! Mamatini™ contains fenugreek, fennel, chamomile and ginger – herbs that have been used for centuries to address the challenges that can accompany breastfeeding. Mamatini was designed by a pediatrician to help increase milk supply, increase energy and increase overall good health for mom and baby. Full of zip, with a delightful gingermint flavor from both organic ginger and organic spearmint – this will definitely become your postpartum drink of choice!

To learn more about the benefits of drinking Mamatini™, or to order, please visit www.drinkmamatini.com. Their website is chock full of tips and additional information for the breastfeeding mommy! Right now, you can get free shipping on your first order of Mamatini™ with the promo code SHIPFREE. Drink up!

Mamatini was created by Erica Duignan Minnihan, a former venture capitalist, MBA and mother of 3 who was frustrated by her inability to find a delicious and convenient beverage to support her body’s needs while she was breastfeeding. Tired of brewing fenugreek tea at all hours of the day and night, she decided to collaborate with her pediatrician on a formula that would support a woman’s milk supply and take a holistic approach to her needs as a new mom, helping her body absorb more vitamins and minerals and increasing her energy. The result is Mamatini.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers was created by Danielle Heller to provide solutions to everyday challenges facing working mothers. The Toolkit is filled with easy-to-use tools including planners, tear-off pads, a CD with downloadable templates, wallet-size forms, and much more.

Within the Smart Solutions Toolkit there are a number of resources to help new moms continue to breastfeed after returning to work. The creator of the Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers, Danielle Heller, is a working, nursing mother of two. She nursed both of her daughters for two years (as recommended by the World Health Organization) and pumped at work for 18 months with each child. When she re-entered the workplace after her maternity leave, Danielle, like so many other working mothers, returned to a workplace that did not provide adequate breast milk pumping space. She created a Breast Milk Pumping Space Proposal Template (one of the resources provided in the Smart Solutions Toolkit) to help gain the support of her employer as she worked to provide her daughters with the optimal nutrition that breastfeeding provides. As a major supporter of working breastfeeding mothers, Danielle has incorporated a number of resources to help other mothers successfully breastfeed/pump after returning to work. Among them are the following tips.

Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

Breastfeeding Tip 1:

Gaining worksite support for moms who wish to continue to breastfeed after returning to work can make a tremendous difference in decreasing the challenges associated with pumping at work. More and more, forward-thinking companies are realizing the significant benefits of providing support for their working mother employees. The Breast Milk Pumping Space Proposal Template outlines the business case for why employers should support breastfeeding mothers and how it can ultimately improve their bottom-line.

Breastfeeding Tip 2:

As my mother always told me, practice makes perfect. Pumping is no exception. One of the worst mistakes new mothers make is not “learning” how to pump before they go back to work. It takes practice, and trying to figure it out on the first day back in the office, or the week before starting, can be a recipe for failure. Nursing moms should start pumping weeks before returning to work, not only to store-up on breast milk for the baby, but also to get used to learning how to pump efficiently and effectively.

Breastfeeding Tip 3:

Thank goodness for convenience items when it comes to pumping at work. Some favorites: Microwavable Steam Sterilizer and Microwavable Sterilizer Bags (to sterilize bottle and breast pump parts at work), travel sterilization wipes, zip-lock breast milk storage bags, breast milk car adapter/battery pack. I would also suggest purchasing a hands-free pumping bra and a trendy pashmina or large scarf for extra security and privacy (perfect for pumping in the car or other less than ideal locations).

On a personal note from Danielle:

I am a firm believer that nursing (when possible) provides major health benefits for both the infant and mother. Expressing breast milk not only has a positive impact on the immediate health of the infant and mother, but also establishes the basis for a healthy future. It’s not easy, but it is worth the effort, and the Smart Solutions Toolkit is there to help.

To learn more, visit www.smartsolutionstoolkit.com. The toolkit is available online as of August 1st, 2010.

*Company provided information and images for this article. This is not a paid advertorial*

From Traditional Medicinals® comes Organic Mother’s Milk®, a delicious tea made of a combination of fennel, anise, and coriander that supports healthy lactation* and traditionally encourages breastmilk production* in the breastfeeding mama. Slightly sweet, with a hint of spice, Organic Mother’s Milk® is simply delightful and perfect for sipping while enjoying those first tender moments at home with your newborn. Certified USDA Organic, Traditional Medicinals® Organic Mother’s Milk® is recommended by lactation consultants and medical herbalists.

To brew a cup of Organic Mother’s Milk® properly, pour 8oz. of boiling water in a mug over the tea bag, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Gently squeeze the tea bag to allow any remnants remaining to be extracted, and sweeten lightly, if desired. Simply delightful!

Organic Mother’s Milk® can be found at retailers nationwide, such as Whole Foods and other health food stores. For more information, please visit their website.

*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2010, Traditional Medicinals®, the leader in medicinal teas, has launched MothersMilk.com – an online breastfeeding resource for new mothers. The new website, www.MothersMilkTea.com, provides helpful tips for nursing mothers, articles on breastfeeding techniques, instructional videos for nursing mothers, and the newest information from a panel of experts.

The Mother’s Milk website also includes deeper product information about its best selling Organic Mother’s Milk tea which has been trusted for over 35 years by nursing mothers and recommended by lactation consultants to promote healthy lactation. This European based formula, more popular today than ever, is a traditional formula of anise, fennel and coriander used for centuries. There are over 4 million babies born each year in the U.S, and of these babies, over 70% are being breastfed. More new moms are breastfeeding as studies continue to show that the antibodies in breast milk help boost babies’ immune systems.

As part of a mission to support breastfeeding, Traditional Medicinals® has partnered with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Nurse Midwife, Shari Criso. Criso has spent the past 20 years working with couples throughout their pregnancy, birth and transition into new parenthood and has personally delivered over 600 babies. Criso is the first in a panel of experts providing content for the Mother’s Milk website and sharing her experiences with Mother’s Milk tea.

Criso is excited to offer her expertise with Organic Mother’s Milk saying, “I highly recommend Organic Mother’s Milk tea to my clients. It not only helps to promote healthy lactation, but creates a special moment between mother and baby. I have been recommending this product for decades and trust its formula and quality.”

Traditional Medicinals® also continues to partner with well known breastfeeding organizations such as La Leche League, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) to help promote and support breastfeeding among mothers. Traditional Medicinals® also partners with the Cottonwood Kids program, offering over 350,000 samples of Mother’s Milk tea to new mothers in hospitals across the country, revolutionizing the post-delivery care package a mother receives upon hospital release.

Please visit the new website at www.MothersMilkTea.com.

*Company provided information and images for this article.*

This versatile salve from Motherlove is an absolute must for every home! A little definitely goes a long way with this remedy. Certified USDA Organic, the Green Salve soothes and heals baby’s sensitive chapped skin, relieves the sting from insect bites, bee stings, poison ivy and poison oak, and helps with the irritation and redness caused by eczema. The salve makes a great “boo-boo” remedy, as well, as it aids in wound healing with minimal scarring!

Motherlove offers a full line of products for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and babies. You will find some delightful gift ideas for the mom-to-be and her newborn cherub! In addition, Motherlove gives over 10% of after-tax profits to the Nurturing Life Foundation.

To learn more about this amazing eco-conscious company, or to order the Green Salve and other fabulous organic products for mom & baby, please visit their website.

*Company generously provided a sample and images for this review.*

The Tiny Green Mom household just received the NUK Orthodontic Starter Set for review, and this has got to be one of the cutest sets available! Adorned with magical dragonflies, the gorgeous green bottles are BPA-Free and come with a selection of orthodontic fast and slow flow nipples that feature the “NUK Air System” which helps to reduce colic. Nursing mamas will love the fact that the nipples are shaped like the mother’s breast to help simulate and support breastfeeding.

NUK is the #1 selling pacifier company in the USA, and the Starter Set also includes an orthodontic pacifier for healthy teeth formation. This is comforting knowledge for those parents whose young child uses a pacifier to soothe and pacify. The NUK Starter Set includes 3 bottles in 2 sizes, and is reasonably priced at just $39.95. To purchase, visit www.nuk-usa.com. It is also available at Amazon and Babies R Us.

*Company provided a sample, images and information for this review.*