Welcome back to Meet our Members, a series where we sit down with the individuals and organizations that make up our devoted Alliance. This week we’re sharing an interview with member, Theresa Joseph, to showcase work her work in this field, connection to the cause and reasoning for joining BFIDSA.
1.Tell us a little bit about you. Please feel free to share details about your work, initiatives or projects you are involved in, and why you decided to join BFIDSA.
A. My name is Theresa Joseph and I work as the development director/partnership coordinator for Love for Lily. Love for Lily is a Colorado based non-profit serving families who are in, or who have had a NICU experience. Before I started working for Love for Lily, the organization supported my family after the birth of our son Finn who was born at 24 weeks in 2016.
B. Love for Lily’s mission is to Empower, Support and Connect families. Giving families the support they need to ease their journey through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and thrive in the unit and at home. We believe that no one should have to walk the NICU alone and we are grateful to stand by families and medical teams everyday.
C. Our goal is to help families in the NICU achieve greater outcomes. We believe that they should have choices and feel empowered to be part of their baby’s medical journey. We believe they should have access to tools that allow them to be more successful and in turn, give their baby the best opportunity to thrive. We are here to support mamas in their decisions about feeding their babies and we believe that should include choices in the tools that they can use. When tools are taken away, it can make the NICU experience more challenging than it already is. We have joined with BFIDSA to ensure that every family has access to the tools they need to thrive in the NICU and at home and that every baby is given the best chances to ensure positive outcomes.
2. What do nursing pillows mean to you? What is your personal experience with these products? What have you observed of the importance of these products for mothers and caregivers?
A. In the NICU, breast milk is referred to as liquid gold. Mom’s milk is the best medicine a premature baby can receive. Studies show that premature babies who receive breast milk have fewer incidents of infections, sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), chronic lung disease, and retinopathy of prematurity. In fact, breast milk has been linked to better cognitive outcomes. Premature babies face challenges that term babies do not when it comes to learning how to feed. It is critical that mom feels comfortable positioning their tiny babies covered in wires, IVs and monitors to achieve either the best latch or to position the baby against the breast and begin training their brains in the feeding position while fed syringes of breast milk.
B. Nursing supports play a critical role in the success of breastfeeding for mamas in the NICU. It is the tool provided in every hospital by medical teams and lactation consultant’s that Love for Lily works in to support and empower mom on her breastfeeding journey. If you take that tool away, you are creating a situation where it becomes much harder for mom to feel supported and comfortable feeding her baby. Mother’s milk is the most important medicine a premature baby can receive. There are already so many obstacles thrown at moms of NICU babies. It is an arduous journey and the harder it is for mamas to be comfortable and at ease while breastfeeding, the lower the chance of success, decreasing the overall outcomes of premature babies over time.
C. I know this because I lived through it. When my son was born, nothing was more intimidating than holding a 1lb baby hooked up to so many wires and monitors. The nursing support provided me with the comfort and stability I needed to be able to hold Finn confidently while providing him with the biggest gift that I could, breast milk.
3. What do you want to the CPSC to know and remember about the importance of infant feeding supports?
Infant feeding supports allow moms to effectively and confidently breastfeed or practice breastfeeding in the NICU. It is the tool preferred by lactation teams as well as nursing teams across CO to help support moms on their breastfeeding journey. The NICU can feel overwhelming and scary. The easier we make it for moms to find success by offering her tools, the more likely we will see babies thrive in the NICU.
Follow along on our blog and social platforms to meet all the BFIDSA members!