Our newest project is designed to inspire, encourage, and prepare mothers of babies with Down syndrome to breastfeed their babies. According to our research 20-30% of women are told that their babies with DS are not as capable of breastfeeding as other children. These mothers report feeling unsupported when speaking with their medical professionals about breastfeeding their babies. Our project is aimed at both mothers and medical professionals, seeking to empower mothers to advocate for themselves and their babies and to educate medical professionals about the unique challenges some babies with DS encounter. To that end, we also plan to provide concrete tools to both mothers and professionals.
We have already launched the first phase of the project, a photo shoot of 10 mothers breastfeeding their babies with Down syndrome, with excellent results. The original facebook post has been shared by Love What Matters and Popsugar Moms as well as by several national and international Breastfeeding and Down syndrome organizations. The photos have also inspired Julie Bernichan, of LCI, a French news agency, to write an article on breastfeeding and babies with Down syndrome. Our project has also been featured on the blog Our Milky Way.
Another integral piece of this project is our video Nursing Down syndrome, is designed to support and empower new and expectant mothers to breastfeed their babies with Down syndrome and to encourage medical professionals to support this important process. Learn more about the project.
Additionally we are working with several experts to develop a book with an accompanying website that will serve as a comprehensive resource for new mothers and medical professionals seeking information on how to help babies with Down syndrome breastfeed successfully. Our book will be available as a free download and a print version will be available for a nominal fee, to cover printing costs and shipping. We are putting together a database of lactation consultants who specialize in working with babies with Down syndrome.
The second phase will focus on developing educational resources for medical professionals to support these women in breastfeeding their babies with DS. These will include instructional videos, photos, and presentations that will be available through our website and will be presented at conferences for OBGYN and pediatric residents; neonatologists; midwives; genetics counselors; and Labor and Delivery, pediatric, and NICU nurses.
Our ultimate goal is to have information regarding this material available in every new parent packet distributed by every local and regional DS organization and DS medical clinic in the United States and Canada.
We are currently seeking stories, tips and tricks, challenges and monetary donations and we need your help. Please contribute to our project by sharing your story and by making a monetary donation. Our goal is to raise $15,000 this fiscal year to implement the first phase of our project. All donations are fully tax deductible.
We are grateful to Nicole Starr Photography for her amazing work on this project.
Have you seen our brochure?
Our brochure, Nursing Down Syndrome: A Short Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby is available now! Get your copies.
This is what the Down syndrome community is saying:
"We are so excited that Julia's Way has developed this fresh, informative short guide to breastfeeding a baby with Down syndrome. It is an invaluable resource for welcome packages for both new and expectant families as well as the medical community at large. For moms who choose to breastfeed their baby, it provides much-needed support and hope. This guide is a gold standard resource and should be shared far and wide!" - Sarah Cullen, Family Support Director for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
"We are so excited to be able to share these wonderful brochures from Julia's Way with our new families! Check out these beautiful brochures and visit their site for more info!" - Angela Lombardo, Down Syndrome Program Coordinator, Boston Children’s Hospital