Quarterly news & updates
November 2019 | Issue II
Educating Our Community
Best Milk
NPA has convened a workgroup of experts on optimal infant feeding. Chaired by the NPA President, Jerry Ballas, MD, MPH and funded by a WK Kellogg Foundation grant , members will work to develop guidelines and recommendations for the promotion, support, and achievement of optimal human milk feeding for all infants.
The overarching goal is to develop coordinated, interdisciplinary systems that improve breastfeeding initiation and duration. This requires that we identify and address the challenges and barriers that keep families and providers from reaching our shared goals and it will require solutions and interventions that extend from before the prenatal period, throughout infancy, and until weaning.

Because sick and preterm infants are a uniquely vulnerable population with special nutritional needs, these guidelines will also outline best practices for supplemental donor milk and human milk-based fortification in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

In addition, the workgroup will identify optimal infant feeding guidelines and recommendations for families who are not breastfeeding. The guidelines will emphasize meeting families where they are, addressing their needs and supporting their decisions regarding the feeding of their infant.

The final product of this work will be a publication of optimal infant feeding guidelines and recommendations for parents, professionals, institutions, organizations, and governments. 

Our Approach

The BEST MILK workgroup meets monthly by conference call. The literature review has been completed and participants are working on reviewing the research to develop evidence-based Guidelines and Recommendations for Optimal Infant Feeding.  The workgroup will have its summit on March 28, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. At the summit we will review the guidelines and recommendations that have been developed to date and begin the process of writing the manuscripts.  The BEST MILK Guidelines and Recommendations will be published in a Supplement of the Journal of Perinatology in late 2020.
Message from the President
Renewing and Reimagining
for the New Year.

As the calendar turns to November and summer fades into memory, the significance of the season comes into focus in so many ways. Whether it be a sense of closure or a feeling of renewal, the oncoming new year provides an opportunity for taking stock of accomplishments and challenges while looking ahead with fresh eyes and a clean slate. As you can tell from this Quarterly Update, for NPA, it is one of the most active and intensive times of the year. From planning our 2020 Annual Conference and selecting new board members to submitting annual reports and forming new partnerships, there is not a day that goes by without a significant update, crucial conversation or important decision to be made.  

With our 2020 Conference Agenda finalized, we have started confirming an amazing array of speakers that will bring the discussion surrounding Perinatal Care in the 4th Trimester to the forefront. We aim to showcase a spectrum of NPA initiatives, including our work in addressing perinatal mood disorders, advocating for social justice for pregnant and parenting patients, confronting inequities in perinatal healthcare and optimizing the nutrition for all newborns. We go above and beyond convening a meeting of multidisciplinary providers by also creating a space for parents, policymakers, advocates, and public health practitioners to network through invited talks, breakout sessions and poster presentations.  

In January will be welcoming our new Board Members at our first in-person meeting of the new year. They are a group that embodies the inclusivity and multidisciplinary nature of NPA and will continue to solidify the accomplishments of NPA while moving the organization forward into new and exciting endeavors.  

As I alluded to before, this is also a time to take stock of our accomplishments. Our branding and marketing campaigns, led by our Director of Communications Erika Goyer, have truly started resonating in both public and professional forums, culminating in one the most successful NPA campaigns in support of Breastfeeding Awareness Month. With an array of inclusive images highlighting the challenges behind optimal infant feeding, our online engagement reached over 1,700 shares with a peak engagement of nearly a quarter of a million views. This is a testament to the unique imagery created by Erika, in addition to the visually appealing and easy-to-read infographics that have become recognized as hallmarks of NPA.

As you can see, combining the credibility of NPA with an influx of expertise and evolving creative outreach, the sky is the limit as we continue to solidify and open new avenues for partnerships, effectively engage patients and families and provide practitioners with valuable content.  This upcoming year promises new opportunities for NPA to grow and we know your support would go a long way in ensuring our ongoing success. 

With warmest regards,

Jerry Ballas, MD, MPH
NPA President

Did you know?

  • 4 out of 5 dyads start out breastfeeding.

This high percentage of babies who start out breastfeeding
shows that most mothers want to breastfeed and are trying to do so .

  • Almost half are exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months.

  • One-third are breastfeeding at 12 months.

Source: CDC

RSV Awareness
RSV Season is here! And families hold their breath hoping that it won't affect them.

Respiratory syncytial virus is a common RNA (ribonucleic acid) pneumovirus. Most of us will be infected with it many times over the course our lives without any complications. We might have a slight cough, watery nasal congestion, and mild fever that passes. But for some, RSV can be deadly.
For babies that were born prematurely, have cardiac conditions. or compromised lung function RSV causes many more problems. Often, these babies are sick for weeks, may wheeze for months or even years, and can go on to develop chronic lung disease. Many cannot get enough oxygen and must be admitted to the hospital, sometimes even for a week or longer. The sickest of these babies may even need to be placed on a breathing machine or heart lung bypass. Some babies with RSV die. This is why we need to educate families - and advocate for effective interventions.

Sobi's Synagis is a medicine for the prevention of serious lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in high-risk infants and is the only approved preventative medicine for the condition. These injections, combined with good health hygiene and awareness of how viruses spread can reduce the risks for serious infections. That's why NPA works to educate families, advocates for effective therapies, and integrates RSV awareness into our fall campaigns.
2020 Conference
Perinatal Care and the 4 th Trimester:  
Redefining Prenatal, Postpartum, and Neonatal Care for a New Generation
For too long perinatal care focused on nine months of pregnancy and the delivery of a healthy infant at 40 weeks. Then we underwent a paradigm shift.

We realized that the care that we offer in first 100 days after a baby is born is just as important as the care we provide during pregnancy. The 4th Trimester was born! But care practices have lagged behind.

If we're going to adequately meet the needs of parents, infants, and families we need a new multidisciplinary framework for delivering comprehensive, collaborative care during the 4th Trimester.

This means not just addressing the medical needs of postpartum parents and newborns, but creating a safe and responsive environment that is prepared to address the physical, social, emotional, and economic challenges that many families face after the arrival of a child.
Perinatal Substance Use

This month NPA submitted an application to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to further support our advocacy.

Our Pioneering Idea proposal encompasses the next phases of our work which will be  both foundational and revolutionary. By re-framing SUD and directly engaging providers and clients in a respectful and open-minded manner, we will break down barriers that have historically stood between medical providers, the Harm Reduction community, and pregnant and parenting patients living with substance use disorders (SUDs).

If you are interested in supporting this essential and meaningful work please contact Jerry Ballas and Erika Goyer .

 1.000 Days
The National Perinatal Association and 1,000 Days partner to advocate for expanded paid family leave policies .

1,000 Days was born in 2010 out of ground-breaking scientific research that found there is a brief but powerful window of opportunity from a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s 2nd birthday to enhance the development and long-term health of individuals and societies.

1,000 Days and NPA meet monthly to work on our collaborative efforts and advance policy.

NICU Parent Network
NPA collaborates with our partners at the NICU Parent Network (formerly the Preemie Parent Alliance) to bring you a webinars on topics of interest to families and their providers. 

This year we've produced a webinar series based on the NPA's Interdisciplinary Recommendations for Psychosocial Support of NICU Parents . We'll be debuting these in November during Prematurity Awareness Month .
Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign: 

  • 66 images
  • 1,700+ shares

"Thank you so much for creating such beautiful and inclusive versions. I can see here in the comments that you truly care about making everyone feel seen and supported."

"I want to weep these are so beautiful."

"Love the tube feeding ones. I pumped and tube fed my little one breast milk for 32 months. She still gets breast milk daily via tube..."

"This is normalizing breastfeeding at its best. Thank you"