Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT DOES THE COLORADO BREASTFEEDING COALITION DO AND HOW CAN THEY HELP ME?

The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition (COBFC) is here to support mothers and families so that every mother’s breastfeeding journey is positive and successful. Here at the COBFC, find breastfeeding support and information, handouts, resources and links to others who can help. Find information on Colorado’s breastfeeding laws, returning to work, choosing a breastfeeding-friendly child care or medical office, and many other topics. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional information or support!

The COBFC is a volunteer organization comprised of healthcare providers, public health officials, dietitians, lactation consultants and counselors, business leaders and members of the community who are passionate and dedicated to breastfeeding success in Colorado. The COBFC works closely with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to reach communities which typically have low breastfeeding rates. Thanks to the hard work from volunteer members, the COBFC has helped Colorado to have some of the highest breastfeeding rates in the nation!

I NEED HELP AND SUPPORT WITH SPECIFIC BREASTFEEDING CONCERNS, WHERE CAN I GO?

If you are struggling with breastfeeding or have specific questions, there are many places you can turn to for help. First, try contacting the lactation program at the hospital where you delivered or a maternity hospital near you (many programs do not require you be a member of the hospital, have delivered there, or have their insurance to participate). Contact your doctor or your baby’s Pediatrician, many of them can connect you with lactation resources in your area. If you are a participant in the WIC Program, call your clinic for support, local agencies have trained breastfeeding specialists and some have IBCLCs (click here to read about what an IBCLC is and why you may want to see one). Additional support can be found at the links below:

Colorado Lactation Consultant Association
Find a Lactation Consultant (ILCA)
Find a La Leche League Group
Office on Women’s Health – Breastfeeding information and resources, including the National Breastfeeding Helpline: 1-800-994-9662
Kellymom resources

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING?

Every mother’s journey is unique. One of the first choices a mother makes is how to feed her child. Breast milk is the normal way to feed babies.

By choosing breastfeeding, a mom makes the healthiest choice for her baby and helps to get him or her off to the best start. You as a mom get to make the food for your child, food that is always nutritious, available, safe and the correct temperature. Breast milk provides your baby with the best start in life!

All major medical organizations promote breastfeeding for optimal child health and development and recommend breastfeeding for as long as both mom and child want to continue.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all babies receive only breast milk for the first six months and then, along with solid foods, continue to receive breast milk for at least one year, or longer.

The longer breastfeeding occurs, the more health benefits mom and baby receive!

For benefits and more information visit the Office on Women’s Health or visit KellyMom or 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child.

CAN I OFFER FORMULA AND BREAST MILK?

Breast milk contains all the nutrition that your baby needs. In fact, it changes as your baby grows to meet your baby’s needs. Introducing formula can often affect your milk supply because it is digested differently than breast milk and interferes with time your baby would normally be at the breast.

For benefits and more information visit the Office on Women’s Health or visit KellyMom or 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child.

To better understand the risks of formula feeding, visit kellymom, INFACT handout and brief summary, (or a research summary click here).

Powdered infant formulas are never sterile and can become contaminated with dangerous, potentially life threatening bacteria. For information on bacterial contamination and proper mixing of infant formula, visit the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cronobacter website.

Also, read over the Los Dos section on our site for more resources and information.

WHAT IS THE BABY-FRIENDLY HOSPITAL INITIATIVE? HOW DO I FIND A BABY-FRIENDLY HOSPITAL?

What does Baby-Friendly mean to my family? Click here for more information.

Baby-Friendly hospital designation means the hospital provides the best maternity care for mother and baby, while supporting breastfeeding. Giving birth in a designated facility ensures that you will be provided with correct education to make the best feeding choice for your family and then will be supported thereafter, regardless of your choice.

Research clearly shows implementing The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding helps to start breastfeeding and get baby off to the healthiest start in life. The Ten Steps are evidence-based practices proven to help mothers successfully initiate and continue to breastfeed.

Receiving essential breastfeeding support in the hospital significantly increases breastfeeding success.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program started in 1991 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to assist and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for mother and baby. This includes The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes.

Research estimates if 90% of the U.S. population breastfed exclusively (no other food or drink, including formula) for the recommended 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths could be prevented and approximately $13 billion in excess health care costs could be saved each year.

Baby-Friendly is a registered certification mark of Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. The term “Baby-Friendly” can ONLY be used by facilities that have met rigorous criteria, demonstrated through an on-site assessment, and have achieved the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation.

Click here to find a facility in Colorado that is officially designated or on the official path towards designation.

Over 400 facilities in the United States are currently designated. Click here to find a Baby-Friendly designated facility nationwide. If a facility is not listed on this site, then they are NOT officially designated.

WHAT IS THE COLORADO CAN DO 5!

The Colorado Can Do 5! Was a statewide public health initiative to increase breastfeeding support and improve maternity practices. By implementing 5 of < a href="https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/about-us/baby-friendly-hospital-initiative/the-ten-steps" target="_blank">The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, Colorado hospitals work towards Baby-Friendly designation and are able to better support breastfeeding families. The Can Do 5! Steps that must be implemented by a hospital to improve breastfeeding support and success and for a hospital to previously receive the B.E.S.T. Award are:

1. Infants are breastfed in the first hour after birth.
2. Infants stay in the same room as their mothers (“rooming in”).
3. Infants are fed only breast milk and receive no formula supplementation, unless medically indicated.
4. No pacifier is used during the hospital stay (except for a medical procedure).
5. Staff gives families a telephone number to call for help with breastfeeding after they discharge.

Click here for a complete listing of Can Do 5! B.E.S.T. Award recipient hospitals and more information on the Can Do 5! initiative.

WHAT IS THE BREASTIVAL?

The Breastival is a fun, FREE event for Colorado families hosted by the COBFC to help normalize breastfeeding and connect families to local resources. The event is held every August to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. All families can participate in events for the whole family, including face painting, a bounce house, baby yoga, music classes, and more. Plus families can connect with numerous baby and breastfeeding vendors and support services.

Check out our Breastival info page or visit the Breastival’s website for more information.

Want to volunteer to help the Breastival? Contact us!

Know of a vendor or support that would like to participate? Contact us!

For more COBFC projects and events, visit our Projects page.

WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT TAKING CERTAIN DRUGS OR RECEIVING VACCINATIONS WHILE BREASTFEEDING?

If you need to start a medication while breastfeeding, whether short term or long term, check with your healthcare provider about its safety while breastfeeding.

Visit our Medication’s page or check out these resources for more information:

LactMed, is a free online peer-reviewed drug and lactation database maintained by the National Library of Medicine. It is a fully referenced database of drugs that breastfeeding parents may be exposed to. The information includes maternal and infant drug levels, possible effects on breastfed infants, alternate drugs to consider and effects on lactation.There is also a free smartphone app available.

The InfantRisk Center (1-806-352-2519), headed by Dr Thomas Hale, RPh, PhD, has phone helpline and additional information on medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Dr Hale also has a fantastic reference book, Medications and Mother’s Milk, which is a fantastic reference for anyone working with breastfeeding mothers. There is also a smartphone app available for parents called ‘mommymeds’ or one for healthcare professionals.

If your health care providers do not know about these resources, help educate them!

CAN I STILL BREASTFEED AND USE MARIJUANA?

There is NO known safe amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

While marijuana is now legal for adults over 21 in Colorado, this does not mean it is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding moms and babies. You should not use marijuana while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, just like you should not use alcohol and tobacco.
“Pumping and dumping” your breast milk does not work for marijuana the same way it does for alcohol.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and need help to stop using marijuana, talk with your healthcare provider or call 1-800-CHILDREN.

For more information visit our Marijuana page or visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or check out the information fact sheet, Marijuana and Your Baby.

WHERE CAN I DONATE MY BREAST MILK OR OBTAIN DONOR MILK FOR MY BABY?

The health benefits received from using human milk for newborns, especially premature newborns, cannot be replicated by any commercial formula product. Donor human milk is widely recognized as the first choice for all infant feeding when the mother’s own milk is unavailable.

Donating and receiving milk from a non-profit milk bank guarantees that the milk will be safe, unaltered, and provided to the babies who need it the most.

If you have extra milk, please contact Mothers’ Milk Bank in Colorado or your nearest Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) milk bank. Your extra milk could help babies in NICUs all over the country. Just one ounce of milk can feed a micro preemie for an entire day! To become a milk donor visit Mothers Milk Bank or call (303) 869-1888.

WHERE CAN I GO FOR HELP AND SUPPORT FOR BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION?

In Colorado, “A mother has the right to breastfeed in any place that she has the right to be.” If you feel that you have been discriminated against, please contact us for help with understanding and navigating the laws or visit the resources on our Laws page for more information.

Colorado Breastfeeding Laws

Colorado Department of Labor

HOW DO I GO BACK TO WORK AND CONTINUE TO BREASTFEED? WHAT ARE THE WORKPLACE LAWS?

Take as much maternity leave as possible to help you and your baby learn to breastfeed and establish a good milk supply.
Talk to your employer or school nurse/advisor about your breastfeeding plans before you have your baby. This way, they know what your plans are and have more time to help accommodate.
Many employers are more than happy to accommodate nursing mothers but they may not be aware of the law or what your needs will be. Please refer employers to the Breastfeeding and Employers section of this website.
For more information on workplace law in Colorado (which is stronger than the federal law) and additional resources click here.

WHERE CAN I FIND DATA AND STATISTICS ON BREASTFEEDING IN COLORADO? THE UNITED STATES?

The most comprehensive breastfeeding data available is from the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Breastfeeding Report Card.

Additional data can be found on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or through the WIC program (county specific data).

WHERE CAN I RENT OR PURCHASE AN ELECTRIC BREAST PUMP?

Having the right breast pump is important to maintain your milk supply when you are away from your baby or if you choose to allow someone else to feed your baby from a bottle. For more information on pumps and resources, visit our Milk Expression and Breast Pumps site.

In accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act many insurers now cover the cost of breast pumps. Contact your insurance company directly to inquire about coverage. Consult with your healthcare providers about which pump would be the best option for your specific circumstances.

To find a pump with insurance, click here.

If you are on Medicaid, you are automatically eligible to participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. WIC provides breast pumps, breastfeeding education and support, as well as nutrition education, free food and resource referrals in your community. Contact WIC directly, click here for eligibility information or here to find the clinic closest to you.

WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HANDLING AND STORAGE OF BREAST MILK?

Recommendations for storage and handling of breast milk can vary depending upon the regulatory agency. Additionally, licensed child care providers have different storage rules and regulations they must follow.

Visit the following resources for information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Office on Women’s Health
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol #8
Colorado Child Care Provider information – CDPHE`

CAN I SHARE OR BORROW SOMEONE’S BREAST PUMP?

Research evidence suggests that certain viruses and bacteria may pass through breast milk. For that reason, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and all medical organizations advise that only hospital-grade pumps approved for multiple users can safely be used by more than one person. This is because such multi-user pumps are close systems, so no breast milk can come into contact with the inner motor of the pump itself (which cannot be cleaned or sterilized). Because of the potential for contamination, all other breast pumps, whether electric or manual, should be considered single-user pumps and not used by more than one person.

Besides the possibility of contamination, electric pumps have a limited lifetime. High quality ones may last through more than one child, but like other electronics, there is no guarantee of how long a pump will maintain their functionality beyond the first year. If you are using your own electric breast pump with more than one child, you can compare its performance to see if the vacuum and speed are still adequate. If you purchase or borrow a pre-owned pump, you have no point of comparison to know if the vacuum and speed are at full capacity and will effectively drain your breasts.

For more information visit the FDA’s site: What to Know When Buying or Using a Breast Pump.

IS MY PUMP CONSIDERED A REIMBURSABLE MEDICAL EXPENSE?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stated that breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are medical care under § 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. Like obstetric care, breast pumps are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman and therefore are a deductible medical expense.

If the remaining requirements of § 213(a) are met (for example, the taxpayer’s total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income), expenses paid for breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are deductible medical expenses.

IRS announcement
Update from the Huffington Post – “A Breastfeeding Deduction, and Other Tax Breaks for Parents”
Breastfeeding Insurance & Reimbursement from Medela

Join us for COBFC at the Colorado Rockies on 6/3 at 1:10pm against the Dodgers! Click Here!