Vital Record Your source for health news from the Texas A&M Health Science Center 2015-08-03T16:05:44Z http://news.tamhsc.edu/feed/atom/ Lindsey Hendrix <![CDATA[Nationally accredited diabetes education program comes to Kingsville]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=24025 2015-08-03T14:41:41Z 2015-08-03T14:40:01Z The Coastal Bend Health Education Center (CBHEC) has established an American Diabetes Association recognized program in Kingsville to empower individuals diagnosed with diabetes to take control of their health. The program is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas]]>

Residents of Kleberg County and surrounding areas now have access to quality diabetes education and support to help them live longer, happier, healthier lives. The Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center (CBHEC) has established an American Diabetes Association recognized program in Kingsville to empower individuals diagnosed with diabetes to take control of their health.

In South Texas, where nearly one in four adults has diabetes, access to diabetes education and ongoing support is crucial in improving the health and vitality of our community. Texas A&M CBHEC provides diabetes self-management education classes to help reduce life-threatening complications associated with the disease. The eight-hour program teaches about diabetes, healthy eating, physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, insulin administration, medication compliance, psychosocial issues and goal setting. Lab work is taken at the beginning of class, and follow-ups are offered every three months for one year following class to assess progress and provide support.

Classes are offered as one full day or four weekly sessions at the FUMC Community Life Center in downtown Kingsville. Transportation from your home to class and back is provided by the Transportation Coordination Network of the Coastal Bend (361-664-7TCN).

Medication assistance is also offered Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the program’s office at 120 N. 4th Street in Kingsville. This service provides assistance with medication cost for a variety of prescriptions, including those that treat cardiovascular issues, asthma, pain, mental health, diabetes and more.

The CBHEC Diabetes Education program has provided patient-centered diabetes education for more than 15 years. Its bilingual team consists of a medical director, registered nurses, certified diabetes educators, a registered dietitian and community health workers. The team approach to diabetes care has been proven to provide continuous, supportive and effective care for people with diabetes, leading to improved glycemic control, reduced hospitalizations, improved quality of life and lower risk for the complications of diabetes.

The Kingsville program is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas to provide accessible diabetes education for residents of Kleberg County.

 

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Rae Lynn Mitchell <![CDATA[Teach your children about school bus safety]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?p=11320 2015-08-03T16:05:44Z -0001-11-30T00:00:00Z With the start of a new school year, school bus safety is something parents should discuss with their children, says the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health]]>
Little girl looking out of a school bus window

Teach your children to stand three giant steps (about six feet) away from the curb as they wait for the bus.

With the start of a new school year, school bus safety is something parents should discuss with their children.

Adam Pickens, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, recommends the following safety precautions to help keep your children safe.

Help your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive and remind them to stay away from the street while waiting on the bus. Remind them that as the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (six feet) from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop and to watch for cars.

Emphasize to your children they should stay seated and not put their head, arms, papers or anything else out the window. Also, remind them to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before getting up.

“Once your child exits the bus, they should always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them,” says Dr. Pickens. “Staying five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus is a good rule of thumb. Remind your child to never bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not see them before starting to move.”

There are many good information resources to help keep your child safe this school year, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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Holly Shive <![CDATA[Parker named Interim Director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=24046 2015-08-03T14:06:36Z 2015-08-03T14:06:21Z Gerald Parker, DVM, Ph.D., M.S., vice president for public health preparedness and response at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, has been named Interim Director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases]]>

Gerald Parker, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.S., vice president for public health preparedness and response at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, has been named Interim Director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Center of Excellence, effective August 1, 2015.

Gerald Parker

Gerald Parker, Jr., D.V.M., Ph.D., M.S.

“Emerging, reemerging, and transboundary infectious diseases are the new normal,” Parker said. “Most of these diseases emerge from animals and can have significant economic, health, societal, and political impacts. IIAD has become a critical partner for many stakeholders in government, industry and academia in protecting animal health and homeland security.  I look forward to building on that success and enhancing multidisciplinary collaborations to promote global health security for animal health and public health, as well as our own well-being.”

Founded in April 2004 and headquartered at Texas A&M University, the Institute focuses on research, education and outreach to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from transboundary, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases, which may be introduced intentionally or through natural processes

“DHS looks forward to continuing to work with Texas A&M University and its DHS Center of Excellence, The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, to support the cutting edge research and technologies needed to protect the Nation’s animal agriculture sector,” said Matthew Clark, Ph.D., DHS Office of University Programs director.

As Interim Director, Parker will provide leadership, strategic vision, and oversight for the Institute’s theme leaders, principal investigators, projects, and staff. The Institute executes a multi-million dollar research portfolio aimed to promote global animal and public health through research and development targeted at transboundary, emerging and zoonotic diseases. The Institute’s network leverages the resources of multiple major universities, Minority Serving Institutions, international collaborators, state and government officials, and private industry partners.

“We are delighted that Dr. Parker has agreed to serve as Interim IIAD Director,” said Craig Nessler, Ph.D., Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “His considerable knowledge and experience with zoonotic diseases ensures that the institute will continue to serve as a major resource for research and education in this critical arena.”

Previously, Parker served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense and was responsible for program oversight throughout the Department of Defense and integration with interagency and international partners.

Parker also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a position he assumed in 2005. In this role, Parker provided leadership in coordinating DHHS-wide efforts with respect to preparedness for and response to public health and medical emergencies, and served as a focal point for operational and policy coordination with the White House, other federal departments, Congress, state and local officials, private sector leaders, and international authorities responsible for emergency medical preparedness and the protection of the civilian population from acts of terrorism and other public health emergencies. Parker also served at DHS from April 2004 to July 2005 and was a 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, the highest annual recognition for senior executive service personnel.

Parker has 26 years of distinguished active U.S. Army service, serving multiple roles including: Assistant Deputy for Research and Development, Director for the Medical Chemical and Biological Defense Research Program, and Deputy Director for the Combat Casualty Research Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. He is a former Commander and Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Parker graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine in 1976 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine the following year. He holds a Doctorate in Physiology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and a Master of Science in Resourcing the National Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

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Holly Shive <![CDATA[Addressing public health abroad: Aggies team up to provide health services in Ecuador]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=24050 2015-08-03T14:35:18Z 2015-07-30T15:00:44Z This summer, an interdisciplinary group of Aggies - composed of students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, College of Medicine, College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy - spent a week abroad providing basic health services to residents of Guamaní, Ecuador. ]]>

This summer, an interdisciplinary group of Aggies – composed of students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, College of Medicine, College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy – spent a week abroad providing basic health services to residents of Guamaní, Ecuador.

A small community of about 39,000 residents, Guamaní lies on the southern outskirts of the country’s capital, Quito. A relatively new, incorporated community, Guamaní deals with many public health issues including water, sewer, transportation, safe recreation and reliable trash removal. The students wasted no time getting to work, and within the first two hours, created:

  • a triage center for medical and dental attention;
  • a pharmacy center for filling prescriptions after seeing a doctor, nurse and/or dentist;
  • an education center to teach positive nutrition and health routines;
  • a child care center;
  • and a public health training and interview center.

Throughout the week, students worked with community residents and leaders to implement a community health assessment, conducted focus groups and visited with families to discuss what public health means to them. Additionally, residents participated in a photo voice exercise, walking the community, photographing and simultaneously commenting on health conditions in Guamaní.

“Being on the ground and learning directly from residents about the public health challenges in Guamaní really allowed us to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom,” said Evelia Castillo, a student in the Master of Public Health program. “Despite the challenges, the people are resilient and resourceful. They are already working to address many of the challenges that were documented. I hope the work we completed in collaboration with Guamaní residents can be used to amplify their current efforts.”

The data will be consolidated in a report and sent to Guamaní leaders and participants for their use in creating and implementing future community health development projects.

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Elizabeth Grimm <![CDATA[Back to school: How to encourage healthy dental habits away from home]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23529 2015-07-02T14:06:11Z 2015-07-29T13:00:08Z School is just around the corner, which means backpacks and packed lunches await your children. Whether it’s their first year at school or they’re already climbing the ranks, you want to ensure they are making healthy choices when it comes to lunch. However, one aspect you may not have considered when it comes to lunch options is dental health]]>
young girl brushing her teeth in front of a bathroom mirror

Participate in your child’s morning and nightly teeth cleaning rituals, and teach them the tools to keep those pearly whites healthy and happy.

School is just around the corner, which means backpacks and packed lunches await your children. Whether it’s their first year at school or they’re already climbing the ranks, you want to ensure they are making healthy choices when it comes to lunch. However, one aspect you may not have considered when it comes to lunch options is dental health.

All ages are at risk of developing cavities, especially if they don’t practice healthy dental habits, but “dental cavities are a prevalent disease in our childhood population,” said Kathleen Pace, D.D.S., assistant professor at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.

Pace offers the following tips for parents to promote healthy dental habits in children:

1. Eat healthy foods at home

A healthy diet won’t just improve your child’s growth and physical health; it will also improve their dental health. Most natural foods contain lower amounts of sugars and aren’t as damaging to the teeth.

One of the easiest things you can do to ensure your child will make healthy, tooth-conscious decisions at school is to eat healthy foods at home. Aim to serve your child a balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and protein.

“Parents need to serve these foods at home so their children will imitate those eating habits when they are elsewhere,” Pace said.

2. Pack fruits and dairy

Natural is usually better when it comes to foods in general, and the same goes for snacks. Instead of popular snacks that may lead to unhealthy teeth or dental habits, try going the au naturel route. Packing fruit will satisfy your child’s sweet cravings and help them gain all the proper nutrients they need to grow healthy.

Milk doesn’t just help their bones grow stronger, it can also help their teeth stay healthier as well. One of the best snacks you can pack in your child’s lunch is a dairy product. Try throwing in a string cheese or a carton of milk to their lunchbox.

“Cheese or other dairies are a great way to end meals,” Pace remarked. “They can help protect tooth enamel, which is key to preventing decay.”

3. Avoid sticky and sugary foods

“In general, any food that is sticky, crunchy or has sugar can promote cavities,” Pace warned. Sticky foods like candy or gummies are not only loaded with sugar, but they can also be difficult to dislodge later. Anything that sticks to the teeth can potentially damage them or cause decay.

“Frequent sugar consumption is one of the worst things for your teeth that can cause tooth decay. Unfortunately, sugar is in almost everything,” Pace said. Avoid packing food with extra sugar like cookies, sugary beverages or candy in children’s daily lunches. Sugary, prepackaged snacks may be convenient short term, but they may also help a cavity thrive later on.

Check all the sugar content on any prepackaged foods or snacks, and opt for more natural or low-sugar foods instead. Switch out your kid’s sugar-bomb applesauce for the no sugar added variety. If you’re having trouble thinking of appropriate snacks, fruits with peels can satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth without promoting cavities.

4. Be active in their dental care

Participate in your child’s morning and nightly teeth cleaning rituals, and teach them the tools to keep those pearly whites healthy and happy. You can also take it a step further by acting as a dental advocate yourself to promote healthy habits in your children.

“Children love to imitate, so let them watch you brush your teeth and floss. Or even better, do it with them,” Pace suggested. “Really try to have your kids brush their teeth after breakfast.”

Healthy habits start at home, so try to make your child’s formative years fun and memorable. While brushing teeth, sing a favorite song or play a catchy tune on your phone to make it enjoyable, and always serve them healthy foods at home. These are habits they’ll take with them throughout their lifetime.

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Sloane Williams <![CDATA[“Shoppable products”—getting the best deals on health care]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=24036 2015-08-03T14:33:49Z 2015-07-28T18:57:02Z Insured or uninsured, we all feel the pinch of higher health care costs. Get the most bang for your buck by shopping around. Comparison shopping could save you time and money on routine medical services]]>

Infographic on shoppable health care products

 

Learn more about price transparency

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Rae Lynn Mitchell <![CDATA[Innovative preeclampsia research to identify potential biomarkers]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=24007 2015-07-27T20:42:24Z 2015-07-28T13:00:12Z Brandie DePaoli Taylor, Ph.D. will lead a research team that will study subtypes of preeclampsia with different severity. She hopes to help clinicians get ahead of the illness through a new study to identify biomarkers of the disease with the three-year, $181,507 study funded by The Discovery Foundation]]>
Pregnant woman having blood pressure checked

Affecting at least 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies, preeclampsia is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine.

Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous complication facing pregnant women and a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide. The disorder is characterized by newly acquired high blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy. Despite decades of research, the ability of doctors to predict preeclampsia has not improved significantly.

Brandie DePaoli Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, hopes to help clinicians get ahead of the illness through a new study to identify biomarkers of the disease. In the three-year, $181,507 study funded by The Discovery Foundation, Taylor will lead a research team that will study subtypes of preeclampsia with different severity.

Brandie Taylor, Ph.D.

Brandie Taylor, Ph.D.

Thorough identifying biomarkers in maternal blood during the first trimester of pregnancy, researchers hope to better understand differences in immunological responses between women who will develop early-onset and late-onset preeclampsia as compared to women who go on to have healthy pregnancies. This information will be used for new studies focused on predicting specific subtypes of the disease.

“Preeclampsia is a complex disease that may have several subtypes with different causes, which complicates prediction and clinical management efforts,” Taylor said. “To better understand the role of cellular stress and immunity in developing preeclampsia subtypes, we will examine biomarkers in maternal blood that are present prior to disease onset.”

Preeclampsia is a major public health burden and can lead potentially to fatal damage to a woman’s kidney, liver and brain. To date, the only treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the placenta. Delivery is often premature leading to health risk for the baby and increasing the possibility of infant mortality. Health issues for the mother extend beyond pregnancy with an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease later in life.

“There is a critical need to identify biomarkers to better understand preeclampsia subtypes for improved prediction and clinical management,” Taylor said. “Given the immediate and long-term risks, advances in preeclampsia research will ultimately lead to healthier moms, babies and adults.”

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Blair Williamson <![CDATA[You are what you eat? Food fights disease]]> https://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=19208 2015-07-23T16:22:05Z 2015-07-28T13:00:01Z Dashwood explores how to take the most beneficial parts of food and use them to fight cancer, heart disease and other ailments]]>
image of broccoli and pills

“Then, instead of eating four cups of broccoli every day, hoping to stave off cancer, you could take a supplement that contains the most beneficial and efficacious compounds,” says Rod Dashwood.

With his arrival at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) in September 2013, Rod Dashwood, Ph.D., brought an entirely new approach to the old adage, “You are what you eat.”

It’s a simple premise: the food we consume is made of substances that can affect our bodies in positive or negative ways. Dashwood, a world-renowned expert in cancer prevention and epigenetics, takes that idea a step further. Through epigenetics—the study of how alterations in gene expression can be caused by mechanisms other than changes in the DNA sequence—Dashwood explores how to take the most beneficial parts of food and use them to fight cancer, heart disease and other ailments.

Dashwood and his team work to identify how beneficial substances in food can be isolated, replicated in the laboratory and used to prevent diseases. They look for phytochemicals—naturally occurring plant compounds—and other compounds in whole foods that inhibit disease or have other protective qualities beneficial to humans and animals. Such compounds would then be used to develop medicines and preventive treatments.

“We want to refocus the approach to cancer and other diseases,” Dashwood said. “Instead of creating therapeutic medicines to treat a disease once you have it, we want to get to the heart of chemoprevention, using these naturally occurring compounds to reverse, halt or prevent disease expression.”

“If we know, for example, that broccoli is a good source of phytonutrients, let’s replicate them in a controlled and focused way,” Dashwood explained. “Then, instead of eating four cups of broccoli every day, hoping to stave off cancer, you could take a supplement that contains the most beneficial and efficacious compounds.”

To explore this concept, Dashwood serves as director of the Center for Epigenetics & Disease Prevention (CEDP) in Houston, which was recently given the stamp of approval by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. He also has joint faculty appointments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Nutrition & Food Science, the College of Medicine Department of Molecular & Cellular Medicine, and the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention at MD Anderson Cancer Center. With preeminent, multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaborations that include the Texas A&M IBT, four colleges, and components of AgriLife Research and the Texas Medical Center, Dashwood and his team focus their efforts on preventing diseases rather than merely treating them, thus, shifting the standard model of disease treatment.

The main thrust is disease prevention via a “field-to-clinic” initiative. By defining the main active constituents of food from the field, the researchers hope to derive medicines and supplements that can be used in health care settings. Essentially, the fruits of their labor may, in fact, come from fruits.

“Through its partnerships across the A&M System, the new ‘field-to-clinic’ initiative transforms health care by integrating nutrition, chemistry and medicine to radically change the approach to preventing cancer, metabolic disorders like diabetes, and chronic conditions like heart disease,” said Cheryl Walker, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M IBT. “Beyond patient care, this research aims to reduce health care costs and improve quality of life.”

Dashwood sites more than 30 years of education and experience that prepared him for his new role with Texas A&M Health Science Center, where he is also the John S. Dunn Chair for Disease Prevention. Previously he served as the director of the Cancer Chemoprotection Program and as the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Cancer Prevention at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Originally from England, Dashwood received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Cellular Toxicology and Immunology in 1982 from the University of Plymouth. In 1983 he earned a master’s degree in Toxicology from Surrey University, and he earned his Ph.D. in Genetic Toxicology from the University of Portsmouth in 1986. He completed four years of post-doctoral research in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University in 1990. Career opportunities also took him to the University of Hawaii, and the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan.

With such specialized training, Dashwood is well positioned at the intersection of nutrition, molecular biology and disease prevention.

“The link between the food we consume and the long-term health of our bodies is undeniable,” he said. “By identifying and reproducing the best parts of what we eat, we have the opportunity to stop cancer and other diseases before they even start.”

Read more information about the processes involved in taking food from “field-to-clinic” as a means of preventing cancer and other diseases on Vital Record.

Story by Lindsey Bertrand

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Madison Matous <![CDATA[Breast milk or formula: What’s best for baby?]]> http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=23930 2015-07-27T20:37:58Z 2015-07-27T20:37:58Z Parenting is no walk in the park, it’s filled with daily decisions – some large, some small - many of which can affect the well being of your child for years to come. One of the most important decisions new moms must make is what they will feed their new bundle of joy: breast milk or formula]]>

Welcome to parenthood, where the decisions come by the dozen and Google becomes an even better friend than it was pre-baby. All joking aside, parenting is no walk in the park, it’s filled with daily decisions – some large, some small – many of which can affect the well being of your child for years to come. One of the most important decisions new moms must make is what they will feed their new bundle of joy: breast milk or formula?

Baby sleeps on mom's chest.

One of the most important decisions new moms must make is what they will feed their new bundle of joy: breast milk or formula?

Shelley White-Corey, M.S.N., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing, outlines several options available to new moms, including: exclusive breastfeeding, exclusive pumping, a mix of the two or formula.

Exclusive Breastfeeding

“Breastfeeding is a special experience for new moms and promotes bonding through skin-to-skin contact,” White-Corey said. “It can also give the newborn a sense of security.”

Not only is breastfeeding comforting to baby, breast milk is made by nature, meaning it has all the necessary nutrients that a baby needs, as well as antibodies to build up their immune system. It’s also easily digestible.

The most evident advantages though, White-Corey pointed out, are that it is (mostly) free and readily available.

“While breastfeeding is considered “free,” there is a little extra cost in food for mom to consider because she needs to eat 500 more calories per day in order to produce quality milk,” White-Corey said.

Breastmilk is also readily available – no need to tote around bottles and bottle bags – and requires no prep, as it’s already the perfect temperature, making it especially convenient for nighttime feedings.

Obvious disadvantages of breastfeeding include time and commitment.

“Newborns who are breastfed are going to need to be fed more often, around eight to 12 times per day, since the milk is easily digested,” White-Corey said.

While most will agree that breast milk is a good source of nutrition for the baby, many people are uncomfortable seeing mothers breastfeeding in public.

“This can deter new moms from choosing to breastfeed because they may only feel comfortable feeding their baby at home,” White-Corey said. “However, it is important to remember that breastfeeding is a natural thing and it shouldn’t be an issue.”

Exclusive Pumping

Though one of the less common forms of breastfeeding, exclusively pumping – feeding your baby only breast milk from a bottle – may be a good choice for moms with babies that have trouble latching correctly or are not able to breastfeed for other reasons, including illness or prematurity.

Milk production depends on frequent and effective milk removal from the breasts, which can make exclusive pumping a very time-consuming option. Exclusively pumping requires that mothers pump at least eight times in 24 hours.

“Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. The more the baby feeds or you pump the more you are going to produce,” White-Corey said. “This is especially important in order to maintain a good milk supply.”

Additionally, exclusive pumpers will need a quality breast pump, which can be pricey. White-Corey suggests calling your insurance company before purchasing a pump, as many now supply electric pumps free-of-charge to expecting mothers.

While pumping, new mothers are going to want a private, comfortable place to do so, and special arrangements may need to be made, especially when going back to work.

“Every workplace should have a designated, private room for pumping. If not, try talking to your manager about what arrangements can be made,” White-Corey said.

Breastfeeding and Pumping

The combination of breastfeeding and pumping is perhaps the most flexible of the two aforementioned options. There are many reasons women choose to both pump and nurse, including: moms who want to return to work, relieving engorged breasts and increasing milk supply.

This option offers the flexibility and ease of feeding your baby in public, along with the bonding that comes with breastfeeding.

Moms who breastfeed and want to go back to work often choose to pump at work and leave a bottle with the caregiver, this way the baby can still get the benefits of breast milk without mom having to be there.

There is the possibility of nipple confusion though, or a preference of a bottle over breast, which can hinder breastfeeding. White-Corey recommended introducing the bottle after breastfeeding is well established, around one month of age, to avoid this issue.

Formula

Formula comes with it’s own unique advantages and disadvantages.

A major advantage of using formula is that anyone can feed the baby, which can ease some of the pressure off of the new mother.

“If the newborn wakes up hungry during the night, either mom or dad can feed the baby with formula,” White-Corey said.

Using formula can also make dad feel more included because he can share the special bond that comes from feeding the baby.

Formula-fed newborns do not need to be fed as often as breastfed babies. Typically, formula-fed newborns eat every two to three hours and as they grow, that duration extends to every three to four hours.

While formula feeding does have its conveniences, there are some real disadvantages.

“The cost of formula can quickly pile up as it is something you will constantly need to buy, along with other essential supplies,” White-Corey said.

Formula requires more preparation than breastfeeding as the formula must be mixed and the bottle heated to ensure it is the right temperature for baby (unlike breast milk that is always the perfect temperature).

Formula also has the possibility of causing your little one tummy troubles, as it can be harder to digest than breast milk.

“The lack of antibodies found in formula is a major issue as newborns have immature immune systems and are more susceptible to infection until they get their vaccinations at around two months,” White-Corey said. “To protect your newborn, I would urge all moms to be up-to-date on their vaccinations and make sure everyone in close contact with the newborn is vaccinated as well.”

In the end, there is no superior option that is perfect for all women. It’s simply a personal choice, based on what is right for each individual and their family.

“I believe that women have the right and authority over their own bodies to decide what is best for both themselves and their newborn,” White-Corey said. “It should be a woman’s choice and no one has the right to judge or criticize them for making such a personal decision.”

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