Lactation Support Services

Lactation2The Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health is committed to supporting a mother’s choice to breastfeed or pump breast milk for specialized feedings. Research shows that breast milk is significantly beneficial for all babies (enhancing development and growth, and lowering risk of infection and disease by protecting your baby against bacteria and viruses). This is especially important for those born prematurely, as each mother’s milk is specifically designed for her baby’s needs.

Here at the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) at University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, we offer dedicated lactation services. Nurses trained as lactation clinicians are available to assist you with nursing your baby or pumping breast milk. Both NICUs have breast pumps available for use at your baby’s bedside or in nearby private pumping rooms.

In the event that your milk is not available, your baby’s healthcare team may recommend the use of pasteurized human donor milk from a local milk bank. We only use donor human milk provided by Milk Banks that are members of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), which adhere to stringent guidelines reviewed and approved by representatives from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mothers who donate their milk are carefully screened and tested. Download authorization form and learn more (.PDF).

Currently, Children's Hospital ColoradoUCHealth and University of Colorado Hospital School of Medicine are studying the duration of marijuana in breast milk. As marijuana becomes legal in more states, there is public inquiry in regards to this topic. Commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control, read about our research.

Lactation Support at the University of Colorado Hospital

University of Colorado Hospital was recognized for achieving best breastfeeding practices for health and term infants by the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition in 2012 by excelling in five key criteria: ensuring that the infant is breastfed in the first hour after birth, keeping infants in the same room as their mothers, feeding infants breast milk only, avoiding pacifier use, and ensuring the mother is supported by staff with breastfeeding tips to address any complications or issues.

Lactation services consults with your newborn's treatment team to ensure optimal feeding outcomes.

The hospital is working toward its Baby-Friendly Hospital designation, which signifies promoting breastfeeding to infants from day one. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global initiative of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This designation applies to healthy term babies who do not require an extended hospital stay.

Lactation Support at the Children’s Hospital Colorado

The Lactation Department at Children’s Hospital Colorado works in tandem with your baby’s healthcare team -- neonatologists and pediatricians who specialize in infant nutrition and feeding. Optimal infant feeding outcomes are achieved by providing individualized care using a team of specialists including registered dieticians, occupational therapists, physical therapists and nurses.

Registered nurses in the NICU have received advanced training in feeding premature or at-risk infants. Nursing mothers are assisted by International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants who will help them through this process.

The Milk Lab at Children's Hospital

Our Lactation Support Services are designed to provide the most natural breastfeeding experience, backed by professional support and an efficient, revolutionary model that is nationally recognized. Our centralized Milk Lab, staffed with specialized technicians, is a center that prepares and distributes breast milk feedings for infants throughout the hospital.

Adhering to the highest standards and practices, breast milk is barcoded and meticulously tracked throughout the storage, preparation and administration process. Milk Lab technicians work closely with the registered dieticians, physicians, nurse practitioners, neonatal nurses and lactation consultants to ensure that use of expressed breast milk is stringently monitored.

What Lactation Support is offered at our NICUs?

The CIMFH Lactation Support Services can help you to achieve your breastfeeding goals by offering support in the following situations:

•    Breastfeeding a premature infant or an infant with slow weight gain/failure to thrive
•    Breastfeeding under special circumstances, such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and heart disease
•    Infant feeding challenges, such as cleft lip / cleft palate and cardiac defects
•    Insufficient or low milk supply or concerns about weight loss (less than 10% in first two weeks)
•    Infant fussiness/sucking difficulties that interfere with breastfeeding
•    Infant preference for bottle feeding or inability to latch
•    Concerns about your medications,  an acute or chronic illness, or food intolerances/allergies
•    Breastfeeding while returning to work
•    Breastfeeding more than one infant (multiple births)
•    Discomfort with nursing
•    Breast engorgement or mastitis
•    Concerns about maintaining your milk supply and/or breastfeeding when you and your baby are separated
•    In the event that you have a premature or hospitalized infant, the lactation team will help you express your milk with a breast pump.

Lactation Services Post NICU Stay

After you and your newborn leave the hospital, our breast feeding resource center provides:
•    Telephone advice related to breastfeeding or pumping issues    
•    Referrals     
•    Educational materials for mothers and healthcare professionals
•    Breastfeeding supplies or breast pump rental referrals
•    In-service education for healthcare professionals

What methods are used to diagnose breastfeeding/nursing problems?
We generally evaluate by observing a nursing session and use pre- and post-test weighing to measure intake at the breast. Blood tests may also be necessary to determine other reasons for weight loss mistakenly related to breastfeeding.  Other issues that may affect breastfeeding include vitamin D deficiency, reflux, and hypoxia due to airway issues.

Why choose the Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health for outpatient lactation support services?

•   We have leading experts in the field that provide evidence-based consultation in combination with a pediatrician and lactation consultant.
•    We offer mental health resources for the family along with our team support to address the complicated and important process of breastfeeding when the infant is sick or having difficulty.
•    We screen all mothers for postpartum depression in an outpatient setting and provide as-needed referrals for food assistance programs, mental health evaluations and mothers’ support groups such as the Fussy Baby Network.
•    One-on-one antenatal consultations for hospitalized mothers.
•    A weekly breastfeeding support group and one-on-one consultation after birth.
•    Coordination with community services and supports, such as WIC.