Aspen Birth Center Blog

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National Emergency Preparedness Month

September 19, 2018

Key Facts about Breastfeeding and Emergencies

Emergencies often occur when least expected, and sometimes when we are least prepared. They can include a wide range of unsettling events, including personal or family crises, public health emergencies (such as a flu pandemic), acts of terror and violence, and natural disasters or weather-related events (such as floods and blizzards).

Research shows that infants and children are the most vulnerable during emergencies.

  • Nearly 95% of infant and child deaths in emergencies result from diarrhea due to contaminated water and an unsanitary environment.
  • Infant formula has been linked to an increase in infant disease and death: it can also be contaminated and requires clean water and fuel to sterilize formula, bottles, and nipples. Lack of electricity also can make it difficult to preserve formula.
  • Breastfeeding saves lives! Human milk is always clean, requires no fuel, water, or electricity, and is available, even in the direst circumstances.
  • Human milk contains antibodies that fight infection, including diarrhea and respiratory infections common among infants in emergency situations.
  • Human milk provides infants with perfect nutrition, including the proper amount of vitamins and minerals required for normal growth.
  • Breastfeeding releases hormones that lower stress and anxiety in both babies and mothers.
  • Mothers who breastfeed are able to keep their babies warm to prevent hypothermia.

Mothers can breastfeed in an emergency!

  • The safest food in an emergency is the mother’s own milk. Donor human milk is the next best option. Mothers who cannot directly feed their babies can also be supported to express their milk.
  • Women who are stressed can continue to make milk. A quiet area that helps mothers relax can help their milk flow to the baby.
  • Malnourished mothers can make plenty of milk.
  • Even mothers who have already discontinued breastfeeding may be able to restart breastfeeding (known as
  • If a baby (or mother) becomes ill, the best thing the mother can do is to continue breastfeeding to provide her baby with human antibodies that fight the illness.
  • Support makes the difference!

USBC Resources on Breastfeeding and Emergencies

Position Statement: "Statement on Infant/Young Child Feeding in Emergencies"

NEW! Story Collector: "Tell Us About Your Experience with Breastfeeding and Emergencies..."

Racial Equity Webinar: "Infant and Young Child Feeding During Emergencies (IYCFE)"

2018 National Breastfeeding Coalition Convening Presentation: "Adapting the Models of Prevention to Address Lactation and Safe Infant Feeding in Emergencies in Puerto Rico"

Additional Resources on Breastfeeding and Emergencies

1,000 Days: "5 Things You Need to Know About Breastfeeding in Emergencies"

American Academy of Pediatrics Flyer: "Infant Nutrition in Disasters and Other Emergencies: Breastfeeding and Other Options"

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Interagency Working Group on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies: "Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies Operational Guidance for Emergency Relief Staff and Programme Managers

International Lactation Consultant Association:


La Leche League International Website: "Links To Resources For Infant Feeding In Emergencies (Multilingual)"

National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color: "Statement on Infant Feeding During Disasters"

Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response: "Infant Feeding During Disasters"

SafelyFed USA:

Save the Children: "IYCF-E Toolkit"

Wellstart International: "Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergency Situations"

World Breastfeeding Week 2009 Website: "Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response. Are you ready?"

World Health Organization Website: "Child and adolescent health and development, documents on emergencies"

WHO / UNICEF / WFP Joint Statement: "Call for support for appropriate infant and young child feeding in Haiti"

Resources on Talking with Children / Helping Children Cope

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips and instructions for talking to children about disasters and for promoting adjustment and helping children cope.

The National Association of School Psychologists has published resources for helping children or youth cope with tramautic and unsettling events.

Save the Children offers resources to assist parents, teachers, grandparents, and other caregivers on how to help children cope with a crisis.

Shelter During and After an Emergency offers information and resources on taking shelter in an emergency. The safest locations to seek shelter vary by hazard. Be informed about the sheltering suggestions for each hazard. There may be situations, depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, when it's best to shelter in place. Search for open mass care shelters by texting SHELTER and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). Ex: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply).

The American Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year, providing shelter, food, health, and mental health services to help families and communities get back on their feet. Use their tools to search for the closest open shelter during an emergency, and to register or search the Safe and Well listings.

Recovery Resources provides advice on steps to take to recover from a disaster and begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal, including: health and safety guidelines, returning home, seeking disaster assistance, coping with disaster, and helping others.

The American Red Cross has Recovery Guides on more than 20 types of emergencies.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.

Resource: United States Breastfeeding Committee

Posted by Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC and Childbirth Educator
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Working Together: Breastfeeding and Complimentary Foods

July 25, 2018

Working Together: Breastfeeding and Solid Foods


Breastfeeding, like many other aspects of parenting, is a gradual process of increasing independence and self-mastery on your baby’s part and a gradual stepping back on yours. You may have already experienced the beginnings of this process during the first half year of life as your baby learned to enjoy drinking expressed breast milk from a bottle or cup and you began to go places without her. Still, the two of you were closely tied to each other in a nutritional sense: your child thrived on your breast milk alone, which provided the nutrients she needed.

During the second half of the year, your breast milk will continue to provide the great majority of necessary nutrients as she starts to sample a variety of new foods. Though your baby will no doubt greatly enjoy the introduction of new tastes and textures in her life, her experiences with solid food are still just practice sessions for the future. It’s important to make sure she continues getting enough breast milk to meet her nutritional needs.

Introducing foods

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire. Check with your child’s doctor about vitamin D and iron supplements during the first year. 

Signs that the older baby is ready for solids include sitting up with minimal support, showing good head control, trying to grab food off your plate, or turning her head to refuse food when she is not hungry. Your baby may be ready for solids if she continues to act hungry after breastfeeding. The loss of the tongue thrusting reflex that causes food to be pushed out of her mouth is another indication that she’s ready to expand her taste experience.

First foods

Since most breastfeeding babies’ iron stores begin to diminish at about six months, good first choices for solids are those rich in iron. Current recommendations are that meats, such as turkey, chicken, and beef, should be added as one of the first solids to the breastfed infant’s diet. Meats are good sources of high-quality protein, iron, and zinc and provide greater nutritional value than cereals, fruits, or vegetables.

Once your child has grown accustomed to these new tastes, gradually expand her choices with applesauce, pears, peaches, bananas, or other fruit, and vegetables such as cooked carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes. Introduce only one new food at a time and wait several days before you add another new food, to make sure your child does not have a negative reaction.

As you learn which foods your baby enjoys and which ones she clearly dislikes, your feeding relationship will grow beyond nursing to a more complex interaction— not a replacement for breastfeeding, certainly, but an interesting addition to it. Remember to keep exposing your baby to a wide variety of foods. Research indicates that some babies need multiple exposures to a new taste before they learn to enjoy it. The breastfed baby has already been experiencing different flavors in the mother’s breast milk, based upon her diet, so solid foods often have a familiar taste when introduced to the breastfed baby.

Babies need only small amounts as they begin solids. Since these first foods are intended as complements and not replacements for your breast milk, it’s best to offer them after a late afternoon or evening feeding, when your milk supply is apt to be at its lowest and your baby may still be hungry.

Solids that are baby led or purees that are spoon fed?

Both approaches of introducing complimentary foods can be successful. With the baby led method, t
here is no such thing as spoon-feeding or baby food. (Nor are there any airplane spoon games.) Instead, once the baby can sit upright, and is no longer tongue thrusting, you place finger foods in front of her, and she picks up and puts into her mouth whatever she wants. The theory behind this is that babies will become more adventurous eaters and will also learn how to control their own intake, while practicing fine motor skills. Of course, the first question that many people will ask is, “Won’t the baby choke?” With the right food choices and preparation, recent studies show this is not any more of a concern than with spoon fed purees.  After all, babies have a strong gag reflex and do this frequently when learning to manipulate and swallow any foods. Don't be surprised if either technique is messy and takes some time.Talk with your pediatrician about what is right for your baby, Learn more about baby led feeding from a mom here.

Iron supplements?

Some pediatricians recommend an iron supplement. If this is the case, be careful to give the exact dose prescribed by your doctor. Always store iron and vitamin preparations out of the reach of young children in the household, since overdoses can be toxic.

You may find that the number of breastfeedings will gradually decrease as her consumption of solid food increases. A baby who nursed every two to three hours during early infancy may enjoy three or four meals of breast milk per day (along with several snacks) by her twelfth month.

Unless you intend to wean her soon, be sure to continue breastfeeding whenever she desires, to ensure your continuing milk supply. To ease breast discomfort, it may become necessary to express a small amount of milk manually on occasion, if her decreasing demand leaves you with an oversupply. Breast comfort is another reason why a gradual introduction of solid foods is advisable, since it allows your body time to adapt to changing demands. Over the span of several months, a readjustment in the supply-and-demand relationship can take place smoothly and painlessly.

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC

(Source-Adapted from New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
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Happy Father's Day

June 18, 2018
The love of a father is a foundation for the future of a child. When mothers, fathers and family members work as a team around the care of children, it creates a haven within which these children can grow and thrive as mentioned in the adage “it takes a village to raise a child”.

The roles fathers and mothers are playing at work and at home are changing. More women are entering the workforce and balancing work as well as family poses challenges for parents. Being a parent has made it harder for many mothers to advance in their careers and this is now happening to some fathers too.

Improvement in gender equality benefits the parents and entire family. Fathers who are able to balance work and family life make it easier for mothers to do the same. Sharing the care for children and household tasks means that both parents have equal opportunity to have a fulfilling career and a strong relationship with their children.

This Father’s Day 2018, we celebrate a global social change that is seeing more and more fathers becoming hands on careers of their babies and share roles equitably with the mother of their children. The father-child bond starts at birth, or even before. Research shows that fathers in Vietnam who were counselled on how both to support breastfeeding and to interact directly with their infants right from birth reported significantly greater attachment to their infants throughout the first year. In China, when parents worked together as a team, mothers were happier because their spouses (fathers) were more supportive, cared for the baby more, did more housework and were more helpful when difficulties arose.

Family members, particularly fathers, are more likely to engage in caring and household work when they understand their important role in securing the health and welfare of their child. Research shows that fathers not only have the capacity for caregiving, but that children benefit directly. Involved and caring fatherhood, in addition to equitable relationships between men and women, help create a future where all win.

Family and work life balance will be easier with a social protection package that enables fathers to participate in caring. Paid parental leave entitlements will empower parents and careers to facilitate the integration of care work including breastfeeding and other work. Leave policies that offer paid, non-transferable leave for men and women help to advance gender equality, social justice, and the well-being of women, children, and men. Father-inclusive health and family services, good information sources for fathers and the facilitation of networks between fathers are all important social supports for involved fatherhood and gender equality. WABA and The Family Initiative are proud to be working together to promote the support of fathers for breastfeeding, building on the lead that many fathers have already taken.

For more information, contact:
Revathi Ramachandran  
Duncan Fisher
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National Police Week

May 17, 2018

Happy National Police Week 2018

Thank a local law enforcement officer for all they do to keep our families and communities safe!

May 13-19th, is National Police Week.  From bicycle rides and 5k runs to candlelight vigils, awards ceremonies and memorial services in honor of fallen heroes and survivors, community members and families have been celebrating law enforcement officers this week.


The Basalt Police Department wives would like to persoanlly invite you to stop by their table at City Market El Jebel, Saturday, May 19, 8 -10 a.m. 


Sign your name on the giant community thank you card for our local heroes. If you have a special story to share or would like to extend a more personal thank you, there will be note cards available. 


Thank you for your show of support! 

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