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Challenges of “Baby-Friendly” breastfeeding status in Arizona

Only five birthing facilities have achieved “Baby-Friendly” breastfeeding status in Arizona, with only one in the Phoenix metro area: the Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC), a full-service hospital that has provided free health care since 1970 for Native Americans registered through tribal census.

Baby-Friendly USA (BFUSA) is the non-profit organization that designates the status on birthing facilities where women labor and deliver their newborns. To receive and retain full Baby-Friendly status, hospitals or birthing centers must adhere to a list of 10 “steps”—or evidence-based practices—that increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.

PIMC’s designation, conferred by BFUSA in June 2013, was spearheaded by Captain Kimberly A. Couch, PIMC Women & Infants Service line director. It took just over two years.

It isn’t easy to satisfy the ten steps required to become Baby Friendly. Facilities must train not only employees but also private practice physicians and other health care practitioners who may work on a contract basis for the hospital.

One advantage for PIMC is that all staff—physicians, nurses, administrative and even janitorial personnel—work for a single employer: the U.S. government. Still, it was a huge task to make sure everyone was on board, says Couch. “We had a closed system—and it was still difficult.”

During the transition, Sue Murphy, IBCLC, a lactation consultant at PIMC, was on the front lines. She helped implement and explain to PIMC staff the reasons behind the changes. Though pleased with the outcome—Murphy says that the number of moms who report that they are exclusively breastfeeding has doubled since the PIMC attained Baby-Friendly status—it wasn’t easy. “Change is hard,” says Murphy. “It takes a while to move away from old habits.”

What were some of the hurdles to achieving Baby-Friendly status? Murphy explains.

No more casual supplementation

Before, if a mom asked for a bottle or pacifier or had trouble with breastfeeding, she was given a bottle of formula to feed her baby. Often, the result was that the baby was overfed. Then the baby would sleep for hours, missing the chance to practice the sucking that helps stimulate milk production in women. “That tended to destroy the mom’s confidence,” says Murphy. “But it was perceived as easier.”

Now, according to Baby-Friendly policy, babies cannot be supplemented with formula without a medical reason or an informed request from the family. If the baby’s weight is healthy, and blood sugar count and bilirubin (produced by the liver) tests are within the normal range, Murphy says there is no medical need to supplement.

If the mom says that she wants to give her baby formula or a pacifier, the staff is trained to ask why, to address her concerns and to help reassure her. Staff also explains how both formula and pacifiers can interfere with breastfeeding.

Murphy says that nursing staff members were pleasantly surprised at how successful they were in guiding and reassuring new moms about the breastfeeding process. Sometimes, just a few minutes of encouragement was all it took to make a big difference. But ultimately, says Murphy, mom makes the call. “If the mom decides that she still wants formula, we provide it.”

Ditching the magazines

Studies show that when written materials with advertisements for formula products are distributed by hospitals and birthing centers, breastfeeding rates are hindered. PIMC stopped passing out free magazines with advertising for formula and pacifiers to new families. “‘But there are such good articles in the magazines!’ was what we heard a lot,” says Murphy. She adds that once staff realized that passing out the magazines was tacitly showing approval for supplementing, it was easier to stop.

Continuing education

Murphy says that determining ways to monitor the changes so staff doesn’t slip back to the “just-give-the-baby-a-bottle” practice is an ongoing challenge, especially with personnel changes. New staff members must be trained to meet Baby-Friendly guidelines, too.

Raising Arizona Kids – By Vicki Louk Balint | August 4, 2014

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Creating Newspaper Pots; Fun Summer Activity!

A fun summer activity that allows your child to play and learn is gardening! 

This a fun summer activity that allows your child to play and learn by  creating something and watching it grow. Making your own organic planting pots is a great way for children to have fun, learn responsibility, and start learning early on about composting and their carbon footprint.

 Step 1: What you need to Create a paper pot

  • Newspaper
  • Bottle
  • Pair of scissors
  • Soil
  • Seeds
Picture of What you need

Step 2: Basic cutting

Picture of Basic cutting

 Step 3: Wrap the paper around the bottle

Use your bottle as a guide to see where you should cut the newspaper. I like to cut several pages each time.

Picture of Wrap the paper around the bottlecompletely-wrapped.jpg

 Step 4: Folding the bottom of the pot

Using finger of your choice, fold excess paper towards bottom of bottle. It is useful in this step if bottom of bottle is slightly concave.
Picture of Folding the bottom of the potcompletely-folded.jpg

 Step 5: Flatten the bottom

Remove pot from bottle. If you look inside the pot the bottom will be raised. Use fingers or knuckles to press bottom flat.

Picture of Flatten the bottomflatten.jpg

 Step 6: Fill with soil and Sow Seeds

Fill the pot with soil. It is now ready for sowing the seeds.
Picture of Fill with soil

 Step 7: Plant the Seedlings in the Ground

Using popsicle sticks and shapes make nice-looking tags! Once the pots are ready seedlings can be planted
in their newspaper pots directly into the soil, without disturbing the roots. The newspaper pots will
disintegrate when planted in the ground.


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Making Your Baby Comfortable in the Summer Heat

By Nancy Mattia from Parents Magazine

To make sure your little one stays cool and protected during the long, hot days of summer, check out our expert advice.

1. Pick the Right Clothes

If you’re going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting, lightweight garments, preferably made from a natural fiber like cotton, which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. A good rule of thumb: “Dress the baby the way you’re dressed,” Dr. Epstein says. “If you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt, that will be fine for her too.” For the outdoors, put her in light-colored long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield her face. Resist the temptation to leave her exposed on a gray day, since harmful rays can penetrate the clouds.

2. Provide Good Ventilation

Since a baby doesn’t perspire effectively, he can become overheated far more quickly than an adult. That’s why you should never leave an infant in a hot room or a parked car. Even a few minutes could cause his temperature to spike and, in extreme cases, may prove life-threatening.

3. Use a Summer-Friendly Baby Carrier

The combination of your body heat and the carrier’s confining space can make an infant hot and bothered within a matter of minutes. Choose a carrier made from organic cotton or lightweight breathable fabrics keeping both mom and baby cool. If a child’s face starts to look flushed, remove her from the carrier at once.

4. Keep Him Hydrated

Even if you don’t see beads of sweat dripping from your infant’s forehead, he can be losing precious fluids to perspiration in hot weather. A flushed face, skin that’s warm to the touch, rapid breathing, and restlessness may be warning signs of dehydration. Since infants under 6 months shouldn’t drink water (babies over 6 months can take in modest amounts), replace the lost liquids by giving him extra formula or by nursing more frequently. Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the summer (normal fluid intake is at least two ounces per pound per day), so a ten-pound baby who usually takes in 20 ounces should be offered a minimum of 30 ounces.

5. Time Outdoor Activities Wisely

The worst time for your baby (and you, for that matter) to be outdoors is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun does the most harm to skin, says Eric Siegel, M.D., a dermatologist in Millburn, New Jersey. Plan outdoor excursions for before or after this peak period.

 6. Seek Out Shade

When you arrive at the beach or the park, look for a protected spot, such as under a tree, an umbrella, or a canopy. A handy item to take to the shore is a tent made of fabric treated to block the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure it has see-through mesh sides for proper ventilation. Sunglasses for your little one are a good idea, to protect her eyes and reduce glare; the label should state that the lenses block at least 99 percent of ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation.

 7. Be Cautious With Sunscreen

Since a baby under 6 months has thin, delicate skin, try to keep him out of direct sunlight. But for times when that’s impractical (such as taking a dip in the water with Mom or Dad), make sure he’s wearing sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatrics now says it’s okay to apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to a baby’s exposed skin, including the face.

For a baby older than 6 months, use sunscreen more liberally and more often. Reapply every two hours, or whenever he gets wet or sweaty. Choose a waterproof sunscreen designed for kids, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply it under clothing too. “An average cotton T-shirt has an SPF of only five,” Dr. Siegel notes.

8. Skin Soothers

If an infant sweats profusely during hot, humid weather, tiny red bumps may start to cluster on her neck or groin, in the folds of her skin at the back of her knees, or in the crease of her elbows. To relieve heat rash, remove her sticky outfit and dress her in loose cotton clothes (or simply a diaper).

A sunburn, characterized by hot, red, swollen skin that’s painful to the touch, can cause a baby even greater misery. Contact your doctor immediately if a child under age 1 gets a sunburn. He’ll likely have you apply cool (not cold) tap water, followed by a moisturizer, to the burned area. Don’t pop blisters; they protect against infection. Infants’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be appropriate for relieving discomfort.


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Product Review – Sakura Bloom Ring Sling

We have decided to launch a section of our blog entirely devoted to reviews on our favorite Zoolikins products!

To jump start this series, we’ve selected the Sakura Bloom ring sling. A little backstory, my name is Kristin and I have 2 sons, a precocious 2 year old named Beckett and a 7 month old named Kellan. Between the two of them, I have plenty of opportunities to test and re-test various products from Zoolikins. I was never much of a ring sling fan until Kellan came around. I had one prior, but it was made of Solarveil which to me was incredibly uncomfortable to wear. So, unless I was in the pool or at the beach, it was never used. When I had Kellan, I quickly realized I needed a carrier that would keep him on me securely but would still allow me to chase after Beckett. I attended the babywearing workshop in store and tried on the Sakura Bloom linen ring sling and it was love at first wear! I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to get Kellan in the carrier and secure. With just a couple pulls on the tail, he was snuggled right against me and I was hands free to tend to Beckett. It was amazing.

Pardon the "selfie" I need to get in pictures more!

Pardon the “selfie” I need to get in pictures more!

There’s really nothing extraordinary when you look at a ring sling. It’s a piece of fabric, sewn at one end and contains a couple rings that the fabric threads through. In fact, ring slings are a dime a dozen in the babywearing world. However, the way the pleats on the Sakura Bloom are sewn, makes it slide over your shoulder like butter. It creates a nice wide spread over your shoulder allowing the fabric to spread nicely across your back as well (this is if you’re doing a basic front or hip carry). This helps to offset the weight of the baby allowing you to wear that little bambino comfortably for an extended period of time. The linen is super breathable and has such a great strength to it, that once you secure the baby in the ring sling he’s not budging. This is great for itty-bitty kiddos where you need something strong to give them head support and comfort, but also beneficial for 30 lb toddler that needs support as well.

Ok, it's not a Sakura Bloom, but this should tell you how often I would wear Kellan. Beckett wanted his own sling to wear his "baby"!

Ok, it’s not a Sakura Bloom, but this should tell you how often I would wear Kellan. Beckett wanted his own sling to wear his “baby”!

At the end of the day, if a ring sling can win over a pretty hard core soft-structured carrier girl like me, there must be something to it! It’s become one of my favorite recommendations for new parents, whether it’s your first or fifth kid. It’s compact when you’re out and about, quick and easy to get the baby in and secured, versatile and easily switched between parents of different body types, and the colors are simply stunning! If you haven’t tried one on yet, you must do it. The age range is from newborn to toddler and you can safely wear your child on your front, hip or back with minimal thought!

The Sakura Bloom double silk sling is absolutely stunning! Easy enough for every day use, but simply beautiful for special events!

The Sakura Bloom double silk sling is absolutely stunning! Easy enough for every day use, but simply beautiful for special events!

Does anyone else have a Sakura Bloom and share my affinity for this amazing ring sling?


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Giving & Getting with the GCDC

We really love the GCDC because it’s an opportunity to show the world how much of an impact the cloth diaper community has. We want to take that same energy and show our local communities how dedicated the natural parenting community is to paying it forward.

You know Zoolikins has always taken care of you with great deals, fun giveaways,informative classes and awesome events. Now, here’s your chance to take care of those around you. Instead of digging through your swag bag at this years event, we would like you to dig through your pantries first.

We’ve partnered with Vista del Camino Food Bank in Scottsdale and Chandler Christian Community Center to collect donations for local families in need. Both Zoolikins store locations will have donation bins for the whole month of April to inspire a little friendly competition between the two stores.

We’ll be accepting throughout the month and on the day of the GCDC:

– Diapers
– Baby food
– Laundry soap
– Paper towels
– Toilet paper
– Soap
– Shampoo
– Disposable razors
– Peanut Butter
– Boxed Prepared meals (MacNCheese, Hamburger Helper, Cereal)
– Canned meat (Tuna, Chicken, Prepared Meals, Ravioli, Beans and Fruit

Although we are all cloth diapering fanatics, many families do not have access to washing facilities and need disposable diapers so if you have received any disposable diapers for gifts that you are not using, a family could always use them for emergencies.

If you have cloth diapers that you’d like to donate, we’re working with the Share the Love program to donate cloth diapers to families in need as well.

Please make sure your donations are in a condition that you would either give to a friend or use yourself. We want to show families how easy cloth diapering can be, and how budget friendly it truly is!


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Get Easter Pictures Done Early!

Shop in store March 2 – March 22 and spend $100 or more and qualify for a mini photo session.

Start shopping, only 20 sessions available!

The mini photo session includes:

  • One digital image of your choice
  • The opportunity to purchase the remaining images.
  • Fun spring themed props

Purchase of classes is excluded.

Customers will be notified of their qualification at time of purchase, then they MUST email instruction@zoolikins.com to arrange payment and schedule session time.


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Get to know us-Shira

We want everyone to feel like family when they shop with us, whether it’s in store, over the phone, or on-line. A fun way to do this is to have a monthly “Employee Feature”. These posts will highlight a member of the Zoolikins family and will allow you to   get to know them a little better.

We’re kicking this series off with the store’s matriarch: Shira.

Have you always lived in AZ?

 Nope, a newcomer….only two years come this March

When you’re not at Zoolikins, how do you spend your time?

Time away from Zoolikins, it doesn’t happen 🙂

 Do you have any children?

 3 wonderful children and a grandson on the way

 When were you bitten by the natural parenting bug?

 Hummm if my oldest is 30 years old, I’d have to say 31 years ago

What are your three favorite products in the store? Must have 1 diaper, 1 baby carrier, and 1 of whatever else you’d like:

 In anticipation of my soon to make an appearance grandson…..Lillebaby carrier, Bumkins SIO in gray, L’oved Baby striped NB gown

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a parent?

 You’re they’re manager for only so long, you then become a consultant…..important to know the difference and recognize when the switch happens

What is your favorite thing about living in the Phoenix area?

 The weather

Do you have a favorite quote/mantra?

I’ve got 2 – From Nike…..’Just do it! ‘ AND from Mary Poppins, ‘once begun is half done’

When placed in it’s holder, does your toilet paper roll over or under?

Many many years ago this became an argument with my husband….I would not dignify an issue such as this with a second of pondering, not then…..still won’t. For those who think that ‘the other guy’ put it on the wrong way…remember…it takes less time to switch it to the other direction than it does to mention it. Ha, that’s more time than I’ve ever given this issue….