Resources of Note


Early this year, US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin issued a "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding" that outlines steps that can be taken to The Call to Action identifies ways that families, communities, employers and health care professionals can improve breastfeeding rates and remove obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies. These include community expansion and improvement of programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling; health care systems ensuring that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding; and employers working toward establishing paid maternity leave and high-quality lactation support programs. The webpage includes an excellent collection of breastfeeding resource links.


Childbirth Connection has launched a new area of their website to provide evidence-based information about the benefits, harms, and appropriate use of induction of labor—now used in approximately one-third of births in the U.S. According to Childbirth Connection, a systematic review of evidence published in 2009 found that many of the accepted medical indications for labor induction lack rigorous research demonstrating health benefits. Another review published late last year demonstrated harms of elective induction of labor (without medical indication). The new resource sums up the evidence from these reviews and other high quality studies to help childbearing women make informed choices. The resource can be accessed at The site was launched as part of a partnership with the March of Dimes and the Leapfrog Group. The Leapfrog Group, an organization aimed at mobilizing large employers to improve health care quality, released data from their national hospital survey that shows many hospitals falling far short of targets to eliminate elective deliveries before 39 weeks. [Courtesy Preemie Matters, from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition]


We know that engaged, face-to-face communication fosters a baby's social intelligence, and here's a resource to help foster more of it. The U.K.'s National Literacy Trust published "Your Baby is Amazing," part of their Talk to Your Baby campaign, to emphasizing the importance of early communication in healthy brain development. It aims to help parents and caregivers understand how early communication manifests itself through simple mimicking and eye contact. It encourages parents to see that babbling is communication and that responding to it is a great way to have a conversation with a baby.


This resource from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) is for parents and clinicians. It covers key subject areas for care providers, including thermoregulation, jaundice management, NICU designs, anesthesia, complementary practices, developmental care and vital signs monitoring. For parents, Baby First provides information around the NICU experience, a primer on prematurity, life after the NICU, a glossary of NICU terms, useful links and the opportunity to read and share parent stories and "baby heroes." [Courtesy Preemie Matters, from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition]


Among the least-known tragedies of prematurity are the estimated 76% of moms who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a baby's neonatal ICU stay, with far-reaching consequences for families and communities. But a new nonprofit organization is addressing the unmet need for community-based peer support, which studies suggest can cut this statistic in half. Hand to Hold, whose pilot program based in Austin, TX will serve as a national model, provides resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special healthcare needs and those who have experienced a loss. Founded by a mother of preemies, Hand to Hold focuses on empowering parents to advocate for their children; encouraging counseling when needed; providing resources and information for managing insurance and financial issues; educating parents about the challenges their babies may face and preparing them to meet those needs; and sharing the resources and support necessary to help all children enjoy a full and satisfying life. [Courtesy Preemie Matters, from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition]


Filmmaker and longtime APPPAH member Debby Takikawa reports from her "Reducing Infant Mortality" project:
Over the last year our friend Annie Yakutis has been collecting articles about infant mortality and prematurity and organizing them into the archive. Here is a word from Annie: "According to Wikipedia infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths (one year of age or younger) per 1000 live births. Until I began compiling internet news articles and blogs for Debby I had no idea that both the UN and the CIA maintain data about the infant mortality rates of 224 countries around the world, nor did I know this data is the benchmark used to evaluate standards of living. That the United States ranks either 33rd out of 195 (UN) or 46th out of 224 (CIA) came as a surprise. If you are expecting a baby, your mere presence makes a difference—a recent study suggests that an infant's survival rate is improved significantly when both parents are involved, both during pregnancy and beyond.