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Dear MilkWorks families, As the country continues to undertake measures to combat COVID-19, we want to take a moment to update you on the measures MilkWorks is undertaking to remain open to our families while also advancing public health measures...

July 25, 2018. The day I found out I was pregnant, and the day I started planning what being a mom was going to look like for me and what parenting would look like for me and my husband. We planned the nursery, the clothes, researched car seats and swings, and found the perfect stroller. My husband and I took the birthing class and the breastfeeding class, preparing for every detail we could. As an only child who is also adopted, I didn’t know much about these things, but I knew breastfeeding was important to me and I craved that bond with my baby. 

Nineteen years ago, when MilkWorks began, I was a sophomore in college and actively avoiding the science building with my political science and history majors.  I was a competitive debater but when we discussed health care, or even women’s health care, breastfeeding was never a topic.

As I wrap up my first three months as Executive Director of MilkWorks, I cannot express my immense gratitude for the staff and families that have embraced me with open arms.  I have learned so much in such a short time but know I have only scratched the surface.

The holiday season brings all of our favorite things. Time with loved ones, old and new traditions, joy, and delicious food. With all of those wonderful things, it can also bring stress and fatigue. Lactation consultants often see a rise in the occurrence of plugged ducts and mastitis during the holiday season. A plugged duct is a plug of milk that sits in the milk duct, causing new milk to “back up.” Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue, which may or may not involve an infection. Both new and experienced mothers are especially vulnerable during this time due to changes in routine and schedules, stress, and sleep disruption.  Read more...

"No parent wants to think that their baby will be born prematurely. No parent wants to know the fact that your baby will be in the NICU, because it is just too early for them to develop outside the womb. I was 34 weeks pregnant and everything was going great except my blood pressure suddenly got too high. My OB did everything she could to keep me pregnant but ultimately, it was safer for Mason to be born." Read more...

I clutched the receiver of the phone. “My milk is coming in and I’m in so much pain. I can’t seem to get anything to pump out and I can’t nurse my baby because…because my baby is dead,” I sobbed.  “If my baby was here, I could nurse him and everything would be fine. But he died. I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do. Please help me. Please.” Read more...

Whether we like it or not, human mothers share an intimate behavior with all other mammal mothers: we feed our babies milk designed uniquely for our baby’s growth and development. Some people may squirm at the comparison of a human mother to a cat or a dog or a mouse. Yet we are all mammals, who feed our young in the same manner. Humans may have more highly developed brains, yet we are part of nature and the circle of life. Read more...

After 20 years of living my dream being part of the MilkWorks team, I know that it is my time to wean. Just like my first breastfeeding experience, I started my MilkWorks journey both excited and a bit nervous. With hard work from many people, MilkWorks prospered. The road was bumpy and exhilarating. I got to work with a group of incredible women, serving other women and providing the type of care I would have loved when I breastfed my first child 38 years ago. Read more...

Breast is best! Or so I was told growing up in Cape Town, South Africa. Unfortunately, “breast is best” did not come with any instructions, except seeing my younger cousins nursed as I was growing up.   Read more...

My first daughter, Nicolette, was born 8 weeks early and went directly into an incubator at the NICU. There wasn’t a choice about breastfeeding, she went straight to formula through a feeding tube. When my second daughter, Gemma, was born, breastfeeding was a whole new world. As a father, I never gave it much thought. When my wife was pregnant, she made the decision that she wanted to breastfeed, and I was like, “OK, sounds good.” Little did I know!  Read more...

As Director of MilkWorks in Omaha, my days are surrounded by new mothers and babies.  This week, as Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on my own journey through motherhood. It seems like just yesterday my first daughter was born, yet now my third daughter is speaking in complete sentences! Motherhood for me has been a journey of ups and down, full of tears of joy and frustration, and a lot of laughter along the way. And yet, something continues to stay consistent - mothering through breastfeeding.  Read more...

As parents, birthdays make us nostalgic, maybe even a little wistful, as we meditate on how quickly our children are growing up. For some, it is a day where we relive moments of our daughter’s birth or reflect on our breastfeeding journey with our son. For others, it is a chance to gather with friends and family and celebrate the impressive milestone each birthday represents. For us, it is also a chance to honor the village who has helped us find our way as mothers. Read More...

When I was born, 36 years ago, there weren’t many options as far as newborn feeding methods. You either breastfed or you formula fed. And if you breastfed, there wasn’t much in the way of support (something my mother can attest to). The lactation profession had only just been born itself, therefore lactation consultants weren’t readily available and neither were other feeding options. Read More....

The day that MilkWorks opened its doors in 2001, some of our current clients were watching Barney, while others were kicking soccer balls on the playground or dreaming of prom. Parenting magazines (websites were still not common place) featured articles focusing on some pretty basic concerns for breastfeeding mothers: How often? How long? One side or both?
Read More....

In the early days of MilkWorks, when insurance coverage for breast pumps was but a dream, moms shared breast pumps, bought them at garage sales, and often purchased pumps that did little more than leave them with very sore nipples (and no milk!). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed all of that when it introduced Women’s Preventive Health Services. Insurance plans are now required to provide new mothers with breast pumps. When babies are fed human milk, they develop fewer acute and chronic health conditions, resulting in decreased health care costs - a major goal of the ACA. Read More....

I remember very clearly the day MilkWorks became a dream. Melissa Folsom, one of our founders, was breastfeeding her third child. She was struggling with a yeast overgrowth. The two of us were lamenting the lack of support for breastfeeding mothers in our community. Even though we were both busy taking care of our children, we ended the conversation by saying, “We have to make this happen!”

Almost 18 years later, MilkWorks continues to be the dream we envisioned. Even though our babies are grown (and some of my babies now have babies), mothers have not outgrown the need for what we do. I recently took a three month leave of absence. When I returned I asked each of our 40 staff members what MilkWorks means to them. They could not have said it better. Read More....

The New York Times published an article this week citing research that doctors and midwives are not doing enough to encourage breastfeeding for the health of a mother, not just her baby. Even though breastfeeding reduces the risk of a woman developing breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, only 16% of mothers were told by their health care providers that breastfeeding was good for them.

Mother’s Day was first conceived in 1908 as a way to honor the sacrifice that mothers make for their children. President Woodrow Wilson made the day official in 1914 when he signed a measure establishing the 2nd Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Today, more phone calls are made on the 2nd Sunday in May than any other day of the year, and phone traffic spikes by as much as 37%. Everyone wants to talk to their mom.

There were numerous attempts to launch a similar day for dads, but with little success. Not until 1972, in the midst of the women’s movement, did President Richard Nixon make Father’s Day official. What took so long?

As women’s lives have changed, so has the role of fathers. Read more here.

The mothers who come to MilkWorks live in an incredible time. Never before have women had the opportunity to wear so many hats. Whether in the college classroom, the work place, the community, or the home, women are doing incredible things with their lives. But wearing so many hats can be a heavy load.

When we marched for equal rights in the mid-20th century, we did not realize how important paid maternity leave would be for the burgeoning rights of women. As the US Surgeon General began to advocate for a return to breastfeeding in the early 21st century, we also did not think how breastfeeding would make the lives of busy women more stressful.

Read more here

We talk about supporting new moms. But do we walk the talk? Maternal mental health is a hot topic right now. During Prosper Lincoln’s early childhood summit, screening and support for new moms was identified as a priority. If we want to create a thriving environment for our youngest citizens, we know that mentally healthy moms (and dads!) mean mentally healthy kids.

New moms face additional stress in an already stressful world. Whether that stress is being a single mom with inadequate resources and support, or a highly educated mom balancing the perfect career with being a perfect parent, it is a tough time to be a mom – and no easier being a dad!

My parents raised kids in the 1950’s. There were few choices for men or women. As a mom, you were home with your kids. As a dad, you worked to provide for your family.

My generation raised kids in the 1980’s Title IX now meant that you could finish high school if you were pregnant, or, you could be a female sports star. Boys and girls could both play with dolls, and social support programs made it possible for a woman to be a single mother.

The parents who come to MilkWorks in 2018 are now “the next generation” ... read more HERE.

Sara Dodder Furr, a long time MilkWoman, passed away in late December. Her loss will be felt deeply – not only by her family, but by her large extended community family in Lincoln and around the country. Sara’s children summed up one of her most endearing legacies: she loved and accepted all of us unconditionally.

Unconditional acceptance and loss are part and parcel of life, which is especially true for women embarking upon motherhood. We have long known that mothers who feel loved and supported are better prepared to mother their children. I first met Sara one evening over 20 years ago when she called me seeking the services of a doula. My memories of our conversation centered around birth expectations and support. Sara knew in her heart that to care for her children, she needed to feel cared for herself.

Re-imagining Life……
A number of years ago I wrote an article titled A Simple Intervention for Vulnerable Babies for ARC of Lincoln/Lancaster County. I encouraged parents and care providers to not overlook the many benefits of breastfeeding a baby with special needs.
When new parents learn that their baby will have special needs, numerous emotions and thoughts run through their brains. Will my baby be okay? Who will help us? Where can we get the best care? Parents naturally want the best support and care to enhance their child’s health and maximize their developmental abilities.
Not so long ago, breastfeeding was only an option for healthy, “easy” babies.

Some mothers and babies take to breastfeeding like a duck to water. They gracefully dance through latching and milk supply and returning to work like experts. But many mothers and babies find that breastfeeding is not the easy swim they thought it would be.

Lactation consultants know this. It is why MilkWorks exists. Yet an on-going dilemma in the breastfeeding support world is: how do we portray the reality of what breastfeeding might be like, yet believe in a woman’s ability to breastfeed?

Scientific and social research is shaping much of what we do in the year 2017. It impacts the learning tools in our schools, medications used to treat chronic illnesses, and therapies designed to address post-traumatic stress. Academic research also drives the public health measures that encourage mothers to breastfeed. The Journal of Human Lactation has research articles on infant feeding modes and gastroesophageal reflux, analgesic effects of maternal human milk odor on premature neonates, and microbial diversity in the milk of women with mastitis. Virtually every imaginable topic related to breastfeeding appears to be addressed by research.

Good Stuff