Fathers are Key to Breastfeeding Success

A woman’s decision to breastfeed typically occurs long before labor and delivery. But her commitment to carry through frequently hinges on the opinion of someone often overlooked in breastfeeding education—the baby’s father.

“If the father is indifferent, the mother will breastfeed some of the time, but when the father is pro-breastfeeding, she will breastfeed almost all of the time2,” says Muswamba Mwamba, IBCLC, a peer dad coordinator at the City of Dallas Woman, Infants and Children Program (WIC) Program.

A father’s participation in the decision to breastfeed, his awareness of the health benefits for mom and baby and his approval are critical to a mother breastfeeding after leaving the hospital, particularly for women with lower incomes.

That’s why the city of Dallas is investing resources in programs that include fathers in breastfeeding education, such as its Peer Dad Program. The Peer Dad initiative pairs future fathers—identified through women receiving services in the clinic—with WIC-trained peer mentors, all fathers of breastfed babies whose partners were enrolled in WIC. The peer dads are trained to inform, coach and offer support.

“Breastfeeding can be difficult for a mom in the beginning,” says Deborah Parnell, breastfeeding coordinator for the City of Dallas WIC Program. “This is when dads can be most helpful and where education received in the Peer Dads program can make a difference; making dads aware of ways they can help mom and make the process easier.”

Read more.

Aquarium Pump CPAP Saves Lives

Students from Rice University in Houston, Texas, have designed a very low cost CPAP machine using aquarium pumps. Their device has increased the survival rate of infants with respiratory distress from 44% to 71% in Malawi, the country with the highest premature birth rate in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

A typical Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine can cost more than $6,000. The Rice students’ machine can be manufactured for about $350, which is a tremendous benefit for hospitals in poor countries.

In Malawi, when a newborn is having trouble breathing, extra oxygen tubes are placed in the baby’s nose. But no air pressure is added to help inflate the infant’s lungs. All countries treated respiratory distress this way until the CPAP was invented in the 1970’s. With a CPAP machine, gentle air pressure is pushed through the tubes into the nostrils and/or mouth to help facilitate breathing.

Doctors know it takes very little air pressure to help newborns breathe. The Rice students found that two aquarium pumps provided the perfect amount of pressure for tiny lungs. Their machine is also easily portable. The original prototype was housed in a shoebox.

So far the aquarium pump CPAPs have been introduced in nine government hospitals in Malawi and plans are underway to expand into private hospitals and other countries.

Read more.

PPD and Gestational Diabetes Information

It’s National Women’s Health Week.  Here are some resources for Post-Partum Depression and Gestational Diabetes, two health issues especially important for multiples moms.

Research shows that PPD affects 10-20% of all new mothers and generally occurs within the first year following delivery peaking between 10-14 weeks. According to a 2003 MOST survey on PPD, PPD appears not only to affect a higher percentage of higher-order multiple birth mothers, 29%, but may occur at a later time, as late as 18 months to 3 years post-delivery, and go undiagnosed and untreated in a significant percentage of new mothers of multiples.

MOST Resources


As you know, some women get diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the babies are born. Even if the diabetes goes away, you still have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life. Your children may also have a greater chance of being obese and getting type 2 diabetes later in life. Use this tip sheet to learn what you can do for yourself and your children.

MOST eNews May 2014



Continue reading MOST eNews May 2014

Atlanta Round Up: Thanks to Business that Donated

All gifts

 The Atlanta MOM Weekend Gathering was FUN FUN FUN! (and for some of us FUN x4 or FUN x5) .Wonderful businesses and individuals donated items, food products, and discount coupons.  Here are the companies that donated.

Please visit and LIKE  their Facebook page or website to Thank them. Continue reading Atlanta Round Up: Thanks to Business that Donated To MOMS Gathering

Volunteer Cuddlers Boost Preemie Health

It’s well established that newborns benefit from touch. But in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) it’s more difficult to give newborns the nurturing contact they need because of the wires, equipment and incubators helping them survive. That’s where the cuddlers come in. Volunteers are working at hospitals around the country cuddling premature newborns who cannot go home yet.

When nurses are swamped with other patients and parents cannot make it to the hospital, grandmas, empty-nesters, college students and other volunteers step in. They hold the babies, swaddle them, sing and coo to them, rock them, and treat them as if they were their own.

NICUs are noisy, stressful environments. There are babies born extremely prematurely, or with birth defects and other illnesses. Some are too sick to be held – but not too sick to touch. Cuddlers reach a finger inside their incubators and stroke tiny bare bellies.

“You can see them calm, you can see their heart rate drop, you can see their little brows relax,” said Kathleen Jones, 52, a cuddler at the Chicago hospital. “They’re fighting so hard and they’re undergoing all this medical drama and trauma. My heart breaks for them a little bit.”

Jones used to wonder why parents or other relatives aren’t comforting their own babies. But then, in August, her youngest grandchild was born deaf, with brain damage doctors say was caused by a virus her mom contracted before birth. The baby spent her first three weeks at Comer, and got cuddling care while she was there.

While family members visited often, “life happens and you can’t sit by a bedside for three weeks,” Jones said.

Jones’ daughter had had a C-section, and already had her hands full with a toddler at home. “She was being held and loved and watched over,” she said. “I felt a great sense of relief from that.”

Parents typically must consent for their babies to be part of cuddling programs, and cuddlers must undergo background checks and training before starting the job. At Chicago’s Comer hospital, that includes lessons in how to swaddle babies tight to make them feel safe and how to maneuver around intravenous lines, as well as instruction in hygiene including frequent hand-washing.

Other cuddling services for preemies exist throughout the country. Contact your local hospital.

Full Story. Please also see : NICU Care; Infant Massage; NICU FAQ’s

Triplets' Sausage Recipe Wins Contest

Triplets have come up with a sizzling sausage recipe that will feed their school pals.

Nine-year-olds Archie, Charlotte and Flynn Roberts were invited to see their creation – the “Ardingly Tripolata” – produced after designing a recipe to mark British Sausage Week.

A competition was held at their school, Ardingly Prep, where pupils were challenged with dreaming up a new flavour of sausage. Their winning entry was then created by Lingfield butchers’ CMB Foods and will be added to their school menu.

Each team of would-be chefs gave a presentation to explain why they had chosen the ingredients they had and it was left to headmaster Chris Calvey to pick the tastiest. But you won’t be able to recreate the winning recipe – as the triplets are keeping some of their ingredients a secret.

Archie said: “We had a fantastic couple of hours learning the process of sausage making. It was epic! It is amazing to think that we have created new sausages.” Charlotte added: “When we held the first sausages to be finished they were so slimy.” Pupils at Ardingly College got their first taste of the winning sausages on Friday.

The college’s catering manager Jo Davis said: “The triplets produced a poster describing their sausage which was a work of art. It was hand drawn and it featured a picture of a sausage wearing a hat and holding a spoon and it concluded that it was ‘probably the best sausage in the world ever.”

“They had grand plans containing hard-boiled egg and for it to be wrapped in bacon as they wanted an all-in-one breakfast sausage. However, it had to be a bit simpler when it was made. They all sat around the kitchen table and decided upon the name and ingredients together. The prize was not known to the children until they found out they had won.”

10 Steps to Face the Tears & Fears Associated with Immunizations

Because it’s National Infant Immunization Week, we thought we’d share some tips from one of our members, the mother of 4 boys, including triplets.

In this article she provides a very detailed checklist of coping strategies to help young children handle the pain and fear associated with immunizations and other shots. You can gain a repertoire of techniques from dealing with the anticipation, distraction exercises, and even how to handle the aftermath.

We hope you find this and the other resources below helpful!

10 Steps to Face the Tears & Fears Associated with Immunizations

Study on Pain Reduction During Immunizations

Immunization Schedules from the CDC

MOST eNews April 2014 Ah Spring

  • April is Multiple Birth Awareness Month- How Many Babies???     
  •                - Autism Awareness Month
  •                - Child Abuse Prevention Month – How you can help prevent
  • NYC : MOST Moms Gathering
  • Stories from the Heart blog  Check out the new blogs!
  • MOST Membership - Help other parents


Family in spring Continue reading MOST eNews April 2014 Ah Spring

Premature Birth Linked to Higher Insulin Levels in Children

Babies born prematurely may suffer an increased risk of diabetes later in life, according to research conducted at Johns Hopkins University. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, surveyed data on 1,358 babies whose insulin levels were checked at birth and later in life.

“The effect is greater the earlier the baby is born, possibly because whatever induced the preterm labor may have altered the settings of the baby’s pancreas-control system,” said study co-author Mark Hanson.

“We could identify babies potentially at risk right from birth and alert pediatricians and parents to pay more attention to future risk of metabolic disease,” said study co-author Dr. Xiaobin Wang.

Full article

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Parent of Multiples

Jill Covyeou is the mother of triplets and a younger singleton.  She is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at Ferris State University College of Pharmacy.  She has been a MOST member since 2010.

A few months ago I was approached by a colleague to write an article Continue reading 5 Things You Should Never Say to a Parent of Multiples

Coping with a Diagnoses-Our Story

Jeanette, mom of triplets, shares her experience of having all three children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  She shares her emotions and coping through those first few years. 

My husband Chris and I were lucky enough to have relatively healthy 30 week triplets Rachel, Kirsten, and Dylan. We went through the “normal” preemie problems, and thought that we were home free when they reached 1 year of age hitting most of their developmental milestones. Little did we know what we were in for!  Continue reading Coping with a Diagnoses-Our Story

Kindergarten - To Separate or Not? One Family's Experience

My triplets are third graders now, but when they were in preschool we faced the question of whether they should be together or in separate classes for kindergarten and beyond. From the time they were infants, I had felt that we would probably try to keep them together to ease the transition into kindergarten, and then separate them after that. I kept an open mind, however, and paid attention to my children’s developing personalities, strengths, and needs. I also did some research into the subject, reading about other families’ experiences. I read MOST’s statement of their position that it should be a joint decision of the school personnel and the family. As a teacher, I believed that the “right” choice is different for each family, based on their children’s situations, as well as things like school size and the logistics of grouping.

When the final year of preschool was underway, I talked with my kids’ teacher, asking whether they got along in class, if any of them seemed dependent on a sibling, if they played with other kids. The teacher said my trio occasionally played together, but usually chose to play with other friends in the class. They got along with each other, but were fine independently as well. My husband and I felt that keeping them together would make kindergarten easier for all of us. Five-year-olds have a hard time understanding why they have more homework than their sister, or why only one of them was invited to a party. Communication with just one kindergarten teacher was another thing that appealed to me.

Having heard that the administration believed multiples should be separated, we “did our homework” so we would be able to present solid reasons for wanting our children together in one class for their first year. Our request was granted, and I feel it was the best approach for our family. After kindergarten, the kids were placed in separate classes, a decision we approved. For our children, it was important for them to gain some individuality in separate classes. Our daughters look very much alike, so we didn’t want them hearing, “Which one are you?” every day. Our son needed the opportunity to be his own person, not to have his sisters jump in and speak for him before he had a chance to decide what he wanted to say or do.

My husband and I are both educators, so we are perhaps more comfortable speaking our minds about issues regarding our children’s schooling. Even so, knowing MOST’s policy gave me extra confidence as we met with school officials. I printed it out and brought it along, just in case! Now, four years later, I am glad we had a say in our children’s classroom placements. I am also grateful for MOST’s research and family discussion forums which helped me become knowledgeable about the topic before we had to make and defend our decision. – Eileen Raff


Read MOST’s Classroom Placement Policy Statement and list of states with legislation.

Bacteria a Major Cause of Premature Birth

A major cause of premature birth, thinning membranes around the baby that eventually tear, may be caused by specific bacteria according to new research.

Early rupture of membranes, also known as PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes), causes almost a third of all premature births. Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine have found high numbers of bacteria at the site where membranes rupture, which are linked with the thinning of membranes.

If the bacteria are the cause rather than the consequence of early membrane rupture, it may be possible to develop new treatments or screen for women at risk, they say.

Study author Amy Murtha, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine, said: “For instance, if we think that certain bacteria are associated with premature rupturing of the membranes, we can screen for this bacteria early in pregnancy.”

“We then might be able to treat affected women with antibiotics and reduce their risk for PROM. Our research is several steps away from this, but it gives us opportunities to explore potential targeted therapeutic interventions, which we lack in obstetrics.”

Read more.

You can find out more about PROM and how it relates to multiple birth deliveries on MOST’s Supertwins Statistics page.

Massachusetts Triplets Determined to Curb Distracted Driving

These triplets are making a difference. Way to go Salit brothers!

We first told you about the Salit triplets after they hosted a distracted driving event last May at the Statehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. Now they’re promoting a distracted driving summit in Seekonk in March. Continue reading Massachusetts Triplets Determined to Curb Distracted Driving