MilkWorks Blogs

We Never Imagined ...

January 30, 2016

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

ann_2015When MilkWorks opened our doors in 2001, breastfeeding advocacy was almost non-existent. Over the past 15 years, our culture has shifted, and breastfeeding support is now mainstream. However, it appears this support is facing major scrutiny.

Courtney Jung, author of the acclaimed book, Lactivism, has taken on breastfeeding advocacy with a vengeance. A political scientist professor in Toronto, Canada, Jung has set out to prove that breastfeeding is not what we think it is. She attacks breastfeeding research and claims that advocacy only makes women feel competitive, frustrated, sad, mad and disappointed.

Is there an element of truth in what Jung has to say?

Welcome 2016!

January 2, 2016

ann_2015By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

I look forward to 2016 with both joy and a bit of trepidation. MilkWorks opened our doors 15 years ago, in 2001. This year will bring both reflection and celebration to our organization.

Much has happened since a group of women gathered together to make sure that other mothers would have the support that we did not have. Information about breastfeeding has advanced light years.

Trust and Acceptance

December 5, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks


ann_2015December and the holidays are a time of great joy and celebration. Families come together, traditions are re-lived, and we hopefully take a moment to listen to the bells and feel the silence of the night.

The holidays can also be a difficult time, especially if you are a new mother having problems breastfeeding. Whether we like it or not, some mothers end up frustrated, sad or disappointed that breastfeeding is downright hard for them. And some of them will stop because it is just too much.

Unusual Soul Sisters

October 31, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

ann_2015My family and my friends often accuse me of being “breast-oriented.” It is true. Being the Executive Director of a breastfeeding center means that I pay attention to breasts. So imagine my fascination when I learned that Playboy magazine will no longer feature photos of fully nude women. My heart went out to all of my junior high friends (boys) who hid tattered Playboys under their mattresses and discovered the wonders of female breasts in a Playboy centerfold!

I have something else in common with Playboy magazine. We were both born in 1953 – a time when American mothers were abandoning breastfeeding for processed cow’s milk formula. A multitude of cultural and social factors influenced this change, including the women’s movement and a burgeoning interest in science and technology.

I Can't Imagine MilkWorks Without the O

October 3, 2015

By Meredith Willits
Manager of MilkWorks O

meredithI first experienced MilkWorks in 2006 when I started attending the Monday evening Mom Talk with my newborn son. I was young and passionate about motherhood and breastfeeding; this passion grew, leading me to apply for a job at MilkWorks a few months later. I didn’t get the job, but was instead offered an internship along with 2 other young women. The internship transitioned to a permanent position that ultimately included multiple roles: Breastfeeding Educator, retail assistance, insurance billing, pump tracking, and facilitating moms’ group.

When I left MilkWorks and relocated to Omaha a few years later, my passion for the organization stayed strong. In May 2013, I met with Ann Seacrest (Executive Director) and Stacey Roach (Lincoln Manager) with a proposal: Let’s expand MilkWorks to Omaha!

Support for All Mothers

September 1, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

ann_and_cbe_milk_and_cookiesWhen MilkWorks opened our doors in Lincoln 14 years ago, we wanted to be a support system for all mothers, regardless of their income, education, marital status, race or cultural background. This is why we incorporated as a 501 c3 nonprofit and why we hold fundraisers, seek donations and write grants.

Our Board of Directors recently held our 5th Annual Milk and Cookies fundraising event at Lux Center for the Arts. Thanks to their hard work gathering desserts, auction items and sponsors, MilkWorks will now have more resources to serve our community of breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding in Every Language

August 1, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

anns_grandparents_webMy great grandparents were born in Poland and Austria. When they immigrated to the United States in the late 1800’s and settled in the Dakotas, they were seeking a better life for their families. They did not speak English and they brought unique cultural traditions with them. They also breastfed their babies.

Families have been moving to America for many years, leaving behind familiar landscapes and often other family members. Sometimes they come on their own accord. Sometimes they are seeking refuge. Even if their journey to America is a blessing and a relief, it is human nature to long for a familiar face or language.

In the year 2015, my family of eastern European origins is no longer the new kid on the block. Our customs and beliefs are firmly integrated into American culture. English is our native language. We eat a mixture of foods found in any grocery store or restaurant. I walk down the street and see other people who look just like me.

How Many Women Does it Take to Run MilkWorks?


July 1, 2015

By Stacey Roach, Manager, MilkWorks Lincoln

Today's answer: 32.

Yes - we've grown from the original seven woman 14 years ago to a staff of 32. Day in and day out, we are weighing babies, stocking consult rooms, cleaning pumps and pump parts, advocating for our clients to their insurance companies, searching for the best breastfeeding products, writing donation and grant requests, entering data, making copies, changing lightbulbs ... Let me tell you, the business of breastfeeding is not necessarily glamorous.

But, seeing a baby gaining weight that had been struggling, and reading a thank you note from a mom who wasn't sure she would make it breastfeeding past the first week helps us realize that no task is insignificant. Just like no breastfeeding victory is insignificant. We love hearing from people we've had a hand in helping achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Forgive me for patting our staff on the back a little. I think they deserve it. In the future, there may be more than 32, or maybe less. Regardless, every single Milk Woman, past and present, has helped contribute to the success of our organization and our clients, creating a healthier community for all of us.


A Salute to One Very Brave American Mother

June 6, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

orozcoThe world is a better place because we have female doctors, judges, state senators, and police officers. Women bring wisdom and insight to professions that were traditionally male dominated.

Officer Kerrie Orozco of Omaha is a shining example of creating positive change in our world. At the young age of 29, she was highly engaged as a community volunteer and a police officer. Not just your day-to-day, high risk police officer, but as part of the extra high risk Omaha gang unit.

Like many young women today, Officer Orozco also had a yearning to become a mother and breastfeed her baby. Yet our culture failed her, as it fails so many other mothers.

The Journey of Motherhood

May 2, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

Being a mother is a journey of discovery. We may think that mothering is something we do for our children.  In reality, mothering may be more about our own growth and development. Motherhood presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about ourselves.

camieIn celebration of Mother's Day, I ask you to join me to listen and learn as a very wise Native mom shares her story of healing through motherhood on May 15th at 10:15 am at the Mary Riepma Ross Arts Center at UNL. Camie Jae Goldhammer's presentation is part of the Standing Bear Symposium and is FREE and open to the public.

Learn more about Camie and the opportunities to meet her while she is in Nebraska - both in Lincoln and in Omaha!

More Than Just Milk ... Sensory Nutrients for Newborns

April 4, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

ann_2015Most American mothers stopped breastfeeding their babies 50 years ago due to a variety of cultural and social factors. Not until 2007, when a meta-analysis of 9,000 research studies was completed, did we truly realize that what we feed babies matters.

Another shift is taking place as research is looking deeper into the breastfeeding process. We know that human milk is different from cow’s milk. Now researchers are looking at the breastfeeding process. If you read Nicole’s story, you will get a new sense of what breastfeeding is all about.

Everything I Love About WIC

March 2, 2015

By Leah James, RN, IBCLCLeahIBCLC


I am a board certified lactation consultant and I work for the Kearney WIC program. Not everyone makes a connection between WIC and breastfeeding. Many people know that WIC provides free formula for low income newborns. In reality, WIC may well be the single largest organization in our country that actively provides breastfeeding education and support for new mothers.

The Power of Mom Talk

February 4, 2015

By Sara Furr, MA, LLLL, IBCLC











Mom Talk Friends for Life! Front row, left to right: Shannon Wilkinson, Azusa Ronhovde, Barbara Weiner Frost, and Melissa HnoskoSecond row, left to right: Suzanne Holzworth, Tracy Uecker Jamison, Joyce Dykema, and Karen Hupp. Back row: Jamie Garrison and Rachael Blaske.

Mothers have been supporting other mothers on their breastfeeding journeys throughout history. As our lives have become busier in the modern world, this support can be hard to find. A few organizations, such as La Leche League, have been built on the idea that mother-to-mother support is one of the most important ways to help moms initiate and continue breastfeeding.

Before MilkWorks even opened our doors in February of 2001, we understood that providing group support for moms would be an important part of what we do. Countless numbers of moms have found MilkWorks’ Mom Talk groups to be one of the best part of their relationship with MilkWorks. I had the joy of leading many of these groups through the first few years of their existence and will always be grateful for the moms who came to support each other.

Ending ... or Starting the Mommy War?

February 4, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of Milkworksannweb

Similac (a brand of infant formula) has posted a video that pits moms (and dads) against each other. The video asks, "What's better? Cloth diapers or disposable diapers? Being at home with baby, or working outside the home? Breastfeeding or bottle feeding formula?" While the video hints at humor, it ends on a serious tone.

Parents face a lot of choices in today's world. They are also held to lofty expectations: if they make the "right" decisions and do everything "right," their baby will be 100% safe and perfect. Ask any grandparent and they will tell you that 100% safe and perfect is just not realistic in the world of parenting, or the world in general.

A New Year for MilkWorks

January 1, 2015

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

It’s January, which means it’s time for looking back AND looking forward. I feel as though breastfeeding exploded in the news this past year. Almost weekly, a major news source posted a breastfeeding blog. Fourteen years ago when MilkWorks opened, blogs were unheard of. And it was a rare day when breastfeeding was mentioned anywhere except a childbirth class. Certainly not in the New York Times or Washington Post!

When Numbers Change Their Value
October 29, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks


Our culture is obsessed with numbers. How many days until Xmas? How many Nebraska touchdowns? How many miles did I ride my bike? How many shots in my latte?

Parents are no different. They wonder: how many days until my due date? How many hours of labor will I have? How many days until my milk comes in? How much weight did my baby gain? How much sleep does my baby need? How little sleep did I get last night???? 

The Wonders of Sleep

October 2, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks


I have a secret to share. When my new granddaughter comes to visit, I am so glad that I do not have to get up at night with her. I love playing with her, feeding her sweet potatoes, and putting her in a baby carrier and walking around the block to put her to sleep. But please don’t make me get up with her in the middle of the night!

Celebrities, ice buckets and mountain climbers!

September 2, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks


Wow! It's hard to know where to start. Celebrities, ice buckets and the U.S. Surgeon General. What do they all have in common? Breastfeeding.

Celebrities who breastfeed are not new. Pink, Gwen Stefani and now Olivia Wilde have all done it. Perhaps these celebrity moms help make breastfeeding a  bit more cool? And perhaps these moms exploit their babies just a bit while doing it? But they also show that breastfeeding is breastfeeding. Babies love it and moms do it.

Ice buckets and breastmilk ARE something new...

Celebrating July

July 3, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorksAnn_and_Olivia_2

July is always a month to celebrate - full of firecrackers and sparklers and snakes (my favorite as a kid!). While we honor  the independence of our country on July 4th, this year I have many things to celebrate. My new granddaughter will come to visit, my youngest son will take a bride, I will submit a grant that I hope sustains MilkWorks through recent funding cuts, and I will savor our recent Milk and Cookies event at Jack&June. It was a wonderful evening filled with sweet potato chips, Cupcakes & More, and friends. Our many wonderful sponsors made the evening both a fun celebration and a financial success.  

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Click here for photos and watch for more!

Call the Midwoof

June 3, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorkskent_seacrest_web

May was an exciting month at our home - we celebrated the birth of five adorable lab puppies. While I may be the lactation consultant in our home, when it comes to birthing puppies, all of the credit goes to Slate, the momma dog, and my husband, Kent. He may masquerade as a land use attorney by day, but in his heart he is a true midwoof.

Humans like to position ourselves well above other mammals, but when it comes to birth and breastfeeding, there are similarities. Slate gazed at her first puppy with amazement and a look that said “what do I do now?” She then got to work, helped her newborn crawl to one of her nipples and has not looked back. The puppies weighed a pound at birth, are gaining three ounces a day, and at two weeks have quadrupled their birth weight. (Yes, we have a puppy weigh station set up in our kitchen!)

Give a Little Milk This Mother's Day

April 30, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorksannweb

I like to think that mothers are the first wonder of the world. With a little help from dad, a mother's body nourishes, protects and gives birth.  Until recent history, it was then all about the second wonder of the world:  mother's milk - all a baby needed for the next six months.

This process changed about fifty years ago as cultural forces embraced a growing trend to feed babies processed cow’s milk, or formula. Intentions were good:  moms could more easily join the work force and moms would no longer need to bare their breasts to feed their babies in public. Unfortunately, no research was behind the move to abandon breastfeeding, and by the time the U.S. Surgeon General issued the 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,  the effects of more than two generations of babies raised on cow’s milk were evident:  more acute infections and chronic illnesses, including obesity, diabetes and asthma, and higher health care costs.

Restoring my Faith


April 2, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks


olivia_webOne of the perils of being a Lactation Consultant is that you feel as though breastfeeding is always difficult. Moms walk through our doors every day with babies who struggle to latch or remove milk, or with breasts that make too much or too little milk.

So when I encountered a mom at a restaurant who "lived" at MilkWorks with her first baby, and she told me that her second baby nursed like a champ right from the start, it warmed my heart. NOW she gets to experience breastfeeding in its glory!

In early March I witnessed firsthand the glory of breastfeeding with the birth of my first grandchild, Olivia.

After 24 hours of labor, Olivia was born by Cesarean. Within an hour, Olivia was skin to skin on her mother’s chest. Her high pitched newborn squawks quickly quieted as she bobbed around and found her mother’s breast. Olivia’s parents then enjoyed a welcome calm at 3 am after two nights of no sleep during a long labor.

More Milk Questions

February 28, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorksbottle-and-glass-of-milk

Just when I think I know everything, I am always pleasantly surprised. But did you ever think there would be boy milk and girl milk????  It is pretty amazing that a mother’s milk changes from morning to night, from one day to the next, from the equator to the North Pole, and that it tastes different based upon what mom eats. Now we learn that animal moms may customize their milk depending upon the gender of their baby!

This raises another question that I would love for someone to answer. If infant mammals are all designed to drink their mother’s milk (which is, after all, why they are called mammals), and they all wean themselves from their mother’s milk when still young, are adult mammals (meaning us) meant to drink milk?

Love Makes the World Go Round

January 30, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

annwebIt makes sense that MilkWorks would be all about milk. It's in our name. It's what we do. We help babies get their mother's milk.

But some moms cannot make enough milk to feed their babies. In the past, these moms often felt as though they could not breastfeed their baby. The reality is that breastfeeding is more than the milk.

In the early 1900's, at the same time that formula was "in the works," many psychologists believed that showing affection towards children was a sentimental gesture that served no purpose. Behaviorist John B. Watson supposedly went so far as to warn parents: "When you are tempted to pet your child, remember that mother love is a dangerous instrument." Some people thought that affection would spread disease and lead to adult psychological problems.

A Harvard trained psychologist, Harry Harlow, decided to challenge this theory and study the topic of love.

How MilkWorks was Born

January 30, 2014

annwebBy Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

MilkWorks started with a conversation between two moms. One said, “I am having problems breastfeeding and I need some help.” The other one said, “Everyone is telling moms to breastfeed, but where do they go for help?” They both agreed:  “We need to do something about this.”

They invited five friends who worked in health care and who breastfed their kids - a pediatrician, a hospital lactation consultant, two doulas and a labor and delivery nurse - to talk about their dream.

Celebrating a Century ... and Holding Up Well

January 1, 2014

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks


1913-BraBreasts have been “under cover” for many years. In the 19th century, they were hidden beneath corsets, a torturesome device designed to shape, lift and “punish” a woman’s breasts. An American debutante, Mary Phelps Jacob, is credited with the invention of the modern day bra. In 1914 she enlisted her French maid to help her sew two handkerchiefs together and attach pink ribbons for straps. The design stuck, Mary sold the patent for her “Backless Brassiere” to Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1,500, and bras took on a life of their own.

As a child, the only breasts my friends and I saw were forbidden photos from National Geographic or Playboy magazines. Not until I became a mother did I fully realize that the original purpose of human breasts was to feed a baby. And not until I became a lactation consultant did I realize that breasts come in many different sizes, shapes and colors.

Breasts are a bit more visible today.

The Many Cultures of Breastfeeding

November 1, 2013

annwebBy Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the country of Guatemala and loved the hillside villages, local fair trade coffee plantations, incredible woven fabrics...and beautiful madres and bebes.

Charming Mayan babies nestle in handwoven slings while their mothers go about their daily lives. When hungry,  the babies get fed. They get fed without their mothers covering up or feeling the need to find a private space. No one bats an eye or looks the other way.

I came away thinking that Guatemalan babies are very lucky - they get great food whenever they want it with very little fuss. But what about their families?


Teach a mom to breastfeed ... or allow a baby to learn???

October 3, 2013

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorksannweb

Many mothers and fathers take a class at MilkWorks to learn about breastfeeding. During class, we provide a lot of left brained information about feeding cues and frequency of feeds and newborn weight gain. The reality is, mothers don’t really learn to breastfeed by taking a class.

Traditionally, mothers learned to breastfeed by growing up around breastfeeding. They listened to and observed the experienced mothers around them (including their favorite cat and her new litter of kittens in the barn!). Young girls practiced holding babies and all of this knowledge was incorporated into their hearts and minds. When it came time to feed their own babies, their emotions and instincts took over and, Voila! a baby got fed.

New Parents and Empty Nesters

August 29, 2013

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorks

annandbellawebMilkWorks is all about new parents. They walk in our front door gently carrying a brand new baby. With great anticipation they enter the world of parenthood. All of the changes seem enormous at first. Sleep? What's that? A daily run? Fat chance! Money in the bank? How can one little baby cost so much?

Whether you have one child or many more, life is forever changed. Eventually new parents settle into a routine. We learn to juggle disrupted sleep, feel stretched too thin, cry for joy, worry too much, sit through endless dance recitals or soccer games, and make friends with other parents.

Then, in the blink of an eye and out of the blue, your last baby heads off to college. I have vague, but happy, memories of life pre-children, and, I was thrilled to become a mother. I will soon find out what comes next as my last baby hauls her matching sheets and comforter into her college dorm room.
The Value of Support

August 1, 2013

MilkWorks is proud to have five board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) on staff. Under the direction of Dr. Kathy Leeper, our breastfeeding medicine specialist, they work as a team to provide care based on the latest research and years of hands on experience.

Here's what Joanna writes: As a first-time mother of a 4-month-old, I have only now had a chance to reflect and think about thanking everyone for the excellent care I received at Milkworks, especially Michelle Jenkins RN. I won't go into the nitty gritty details of our problems initially, but as a nurse myself I always thought it was nice to receive a note of thanks, which is why I am writing.

Joanna and baby
Joanna and baby

I am choking up writing this email because breastfeeding my son Harrison has been such an incredible journey. As I quickly learned no journey is without its hills (or mountains) and valleys. I have never trained for a marathon but those early days of triple feeding sure felt like I was training for something amazing! And amazing it has been.....

Food: The Healthcare of Tomorrow?

August 1, 2013

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

Over my lifetime, food has undergone drastic changes. I was born when breastfeeding was rapidly disappearing. Mothers were actively encouraged to feed their infants formula, a form of processed cow's milk. The food I remember most as a child - white bread, jello, cool whip and tomato soup - had little connection to real food. It was processed and almost devoid of natural nutrients. Made in a factory, it was touted as modern and exciting.

When my own children were born, I rebelled against anything from a box. I made cake from scratch and mashed my own baby food. My meager attempts made only a small dent in the growing amounts of processed food my children ate as fast food restaurants became main stream.

The Soapbox of Breastfeeding

July 3, 2013

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director of MilkWorks

annwebAs a community breastfeeding center, we like to educate the public about breastfeeding. Students from UNL who come to MilkWorks often leave amazed at what they learn about infant nutrition. But we also want to avoid being pushy. Our primary role is to support mothers who want to breastfeed, not tell them what they must do. Success is when we can help mothers navigate the unknowns of breastfeeding.

Every once in a while, a study is released that makes it worthwhile to "get on my soap box" (as my children would say). In 2010, Pediatrics published a cost analysis that drew national attention.  Researcher Dr. Melissa Bartick made the case that the US would save $13 billion and prevent 911 deaths per year if 90% of infants were breastfed exclusively for six months.

A Princess in Every Mother's Eyes

June 3, 2013

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorks

annwebPrincess Kate is now eight months pregnant and the royal baby watch is on the count down!! As an avid reader of People magazine (I call it my guide to Popular Culture), I am following the style of Kate's maternity clothes, her favorite baby names and the most likely godparents. Virtually every issue of People has an article on the royal baby. Should I be surprised that each article is accompanied by a cozy and appealing ad for formula?

My heart goes out to Kate. Ask any new mom and she will tell you how out of control she feels about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. No matter how much she plans, no matter how many experts she employs, the reality is that becoming a mother means unexpected outcomes. No doubt Kate will be judged for whatever she does, or does not do. Pressure no mother needs.

It's FREE and tastes great

March 1, 2013

By Sara Dodder Furr, MA, LLLL, IBCLC

SaraFurrwebsiteMy son told me about something that happened in his high school classroom today. They were discussing population growth and birth rates in the United States compared to other countries. The teacher noted that, though the birth rate in the U.S. is as low as in some other countries, our population growth is higher due to the greater number of people who immigrate to the U.S. In addition, according to the teacher, larger families are more common and highly valued among some immigrant cultures because more children are needed to make the family successful. Our American culture may value smaller families because of the high cost of raising a child in our society.

So what makes it so expensive to raise a child in the United States? The teacher went on to say part of the issue is companies marketing unnecessary products to new parents. As an example, companies often provide a few weeks’ or months’ worth of free formula to new parents. To really hook those new parents, the companies send literature warning them about possible ill effects associated with changing formulas - at the very time the flow of free formula has ended, with the goal being that the baby will be fed the formerly free formula, now sold at a premium price. The teacher went on to say that it made no sense for a parent to buy expensive brand-name formula when ... wait for it ... generic formula is just as good and less expensive!

A Breastfeeding Journey

jennycaptionFebruary 1, 2013

By Jenny, Guest Blogger

My son was born by Cesarean after about six hours of labor when we found out he was breech. He was a sleepy baby in the hospital. He would latch and suckle a bit, but for the most part the nurses had me pump and finger feed him. There was not a lactation consultant working during my hospital stay, so the nurses did the best they could. When Levi did latch, often his lip was curled in and it hurt.  One of the nurses wondered if he might have a tongue tie. I thought she was making a joke. Babies don’t talk, so how could a baby be tongue tied?

A Teachable Moment

January 1, 2013Jessicas_girlsweb

By Jessica, Guest Blogger

An online discussion among a group of friends recently turned to breastfeeding. The question was asked:

"For those of you that breastfed your 2nd (or 3rd) did you talk to your oldest about breastfeeding and how that works before the baby came? I breastfed my daughter until she was 1 but she hasn't been around any other nursing since then so she has no idea that is how the baby will eat. Should I go out and find a book or just explain it to her the first time she sees me feed the baby?"

Another means of support ...

January 1, 2013

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

Human beings are one of 4,000 species of mammals. All mammalian mothers have one thing in common:  they feed their babies milk from their breasts - milk that is designed just for their baby.  Human mothers are different from other mammals in that our breasts enlarge both during puberty and again while pregnant and breastfeeding. There are numerous theories for this, including the fact that human babies do not have snouts, or long noses. Therefore, the breast enlarges in order to get closer to baby.

Which brings me to my point:  the evolution of the human bra, a device known throughout history to support, suppress, decorate, and create cleavage in the human breast. When I was a teen ager, bras were definitely under-cover. Heaven forbid that your bra strap should show in any way, manner or form!

Forward forty years to my own daughter. We traveled to a Jesuit college campus in Los Angeles this fall. Bras brightly decorated for breast cancer awareness lined the walkway. So where did the evolving bra get its start? 


Dreaming of a Baby Doll ...

December 1, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannanddollsweb

I grew up in a family of very modest means. My sisters and I had a few board games and books. No jungle gym, motorized toy cars or electronic games. We made mud pies, rode our bikes, went to the park and swam in a nearby lake. Once a year, at Christmas time, I received a new doll.  I remember their names well. Chatty Cathy. Charmin' Chatty. Thumbelina. Betsey McCall. My favorites were the life size baby dolls. I remember going to Ben Franklin to buy real cloth diapers and baby bottles for my dolls.

When I read about the new breastfeeding doll, it made me think of myself. I was the youngest child in our family and never saw a baby breastfeed.  All the kids I babysat for were bottle fed.  Would I have been better prepared to breastfeed my own children if I had been given a breastfeeding doll?

Too Old for Breast Milk?

November 1, 2012

by Adam Prochaska, President, MilkWorks Board of DirectorsAdam_and_daughter

Earlier this year, Ann Seacrest wrote a blog post  about the controversial Time magazine breastfeeding cover photo.  A three-year-old is standing on a chair next to his mother and nursing.This photo was the perfect catalyst for a public debate on "how long is too long?"

It's unfortunate that a portion of our society considers a toddler who breastfeeds as strange or inappropriate. Human milk is considered more species specific, or suitable, for humans than cow’s milk. The unacceptable aspect may be the notion of a child, who can walk and talk, feeding at the breast. So what happens to this "debate" if the physical act of breastfeeding is not involved and we are only talking about the feeding of human milk to a toddler? I recently discovered the answer when a mother emailed MilkWorks with this exact dilemma.

Too Old for Breast Milk?

November 1, 2012

We love hearing from parents who feel as though we have made a difference for them.

annandangelablogEarlier this year we received an unusual request. Ann, a breastfeeding mom, returned to work when her daughter, Angela, was 3 months old. When her daughter weaned, Ann had a freezer full of pumped milk. Angela’s care provider is licensed by the state and participates in the Nebraska Food Program. Because Angela was older than two years, the provider could not feed Angela her mother’s milk because it was contrary to regulations, which require the feeding of 1% cow’s milk. In order for her daughter to receive her milk, Ann had to submit signed documents and a diagnosis from her pediatrician indicating that Angela had a special medical or dietary need. Attorney Adam Prochaska, president of MilkWorks Board of Directors, helped Ann come up with a solution.

Renewing my Hope

September 30, 2012

leeper_copy_1By Dr. Kathy Leeper, Breastfeeding Medical Specialist

Every so often something happens to renew my hope that we are actually providing better support for new moms. Like when breastfeeding is mentioned as a major factor in obesity prevention..... or insurance companies start to provide breastfeeding help for new moms...... or a donor comes through with a donation just when we really need it.

But I have to say, this year the most exciting thing for me is a diaper commercial!


Why Breastfeeding Matters for Breast Health

September 30, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorks

pink_ribbonI am seeing pink ribbons everywhere as Lincoln prepares for breast cancer awareness events in the month of October. As a breastfeeding center, we are especially aware of the relationship between breastfeeding and breast cancer. Florence Williams, an investigative journalist,  a new mother, and author of the book, Breasts, reports that breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide. The good news is that breastfeeding plays an important role in reducing breast cancer rates.

According to a meta analysis conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there is substantial evidence that breastfeeding decreases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. The disruption of certain hormones, specifically estrogen, works to protect a woman from breast cancer.  The effect seems to be cumulative.  The longer a woman breastfeeds, the less exposure she has.

Leave it to our bodies to be a bit more complicated than that.

Melissa Meyer, a local mom, is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer which was detected after she weaned her son. According to the National Cancer Institute, a very small number of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer following a pregnancy. Some researchers believe this may be due to the effect of high levels of hormones on pre-existing microscopic cancers or the rapid growth of breast cells during pregnancy. Melissa explains that breastfeeding her son may have helped to save her life.

Meet Laci and her baby boys

September 30, 2012

Twin Talk! A group just for moms who are breastfeeding multiples!twinsblog1
Meets the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m. Older children are welcome to attend. No fee to attend.

Laci was the experienced mother of two breastfed children when she found out she was expecting twins. Things got a bit more complicated when her new sons came early - at 31 weeks. Her life became centered around the NICU, where the boys lived for five weeks. Because the twins were premature, Laci initally pumped and James and Joseph received her milk through a feeding tube. When the boys were discharged at 36 weeks gestation, they were still not feeding well at the breast. Even though Laci was an experienced breastfeeding mom, this time it was a bit different. 

The Olympics of Breastfeeding

September 1, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

I LOVE watching the Olympics. I have a blend of sympathy and admiration for the athletes. Their fierceness for perfection strikes me as unrealistic. Yet their determination inspires me. Because I personally value teamwork more than winning, when they help each other to succeed, it makes me smile.

So what do the Olympics have to do with breastfeeding?

The Centers for Disease Control releases statistics on breastfeeding every couple of years. When they release the new data, it is like reading the sports page. How did Nebraska do? Are our stats better this year? Did we beat Iowa?

Milk in Many Languages

July 31, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

The act of breastfeeding a baby cuts across cultures and races and religions. It meanders across the ages, dating back to the first human born, and across geography, from continent to continent. There are few experiences throughout history, and in today’s diverse world, that are as shared as a mother breastfeeding her baby. Andrea Cabra White, a member of MilkWorks Board of Directors, was born and raised in Colombia, South America. She now lives in Lincoln with her two children and her husband, a native Cornhusker. A talented artist, Andrea designs unique hair accessories under the brand Luna. She also has a special interest in helping Spanish American mothers breastfeed their babies.

andreawebAndrea and I recently spent time with a small group of mothers from Cuba and Mexico at El Centro, one of Lincoln’s multi-cultural community centers. The stories they shared with us were very similar to ones we hear every day at MilkWorks. Sometimes breastfeeding is easy for a mom and baby. Sometimes it is hard. Support is vital. Mothers new to America are often raised in a breastfeeding culture back home, but may struggle in the United States. Free formula sends a mixed message. Language differences and a lack of transportation create additional barriers to seeking support.

Call Me a Milk Mentor

July 31, 2012

By Natalienatalieweb

When I see another woman walking into the office with her Pump In Style over her shoulder, I want to run up and give her a high five. I want to ask her so many questions. How’s it going?  How old is your baby? Where do you pump? Do you have a stash in the freezer at home? I want to tell her that I’m like her. I do it too. I sit alone and watch my milk drip down into the bottles. I count the ounces. I have good days and bad days, just like she does. I’ve done this before. It gets easier.  

We usually say hello to each other, but that’s it. There are no high fives or pep talks, because at that moment, we’re just two women heading into the office.  Pumping is part of our day like staff meetings and conference calls. In a way, this is positive. It shows we work in an environment that allows us to include pumping in our daily routine. But, there are so many times when it’s helpful to have a sounding board and a support system. You might not give each other high fives in the hallway, but an encouraging email here and there can be a tremendous help. What we all  need is a Milk Mentor.

Seventeen years too late, but I am still happy ...

July 2, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

The Supreme Court ruling this week on the Affordable Health Care Act is monumental for breastfeeding mothers.Not only does “Obamacare” amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and require that employers provide reasonable breaks and private space for mothers to pump, but as of August 1, 2012, health plans must  begin phasing in 100% coverage of certain proven preventive health services, including breast pumps and lactation support.

Happy Father's Day (a grizzly tale)!

June 11, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksWyoming_June_2012_055

Grizzly bears and humans have one thing in common. They are both mammals and they both nurse their newborns. Beyond that, they are quite different.

Grizzly bears go into hibernation (a deep sleep or state of inactivity), for five to six months during the winter. A female bear will hibernate earlier if she is pregnant and will burrow much deeper below the snow and earth. While in hibernation, she will not eat, drink, urinate or pass stool.  In January, she will give birth to one to three cubs while in hibernation. The cubs will weigh around 5 pounds each and will begin to nurse while their mother sleeps.

Humility in Breastfeeding

June 5, 2012

By Libbylibbyandtwins

I am proud to say that I breastfed my first two children. Did I have some struggles? Yes, especially with my first son. But in the end, I had such positive experiences breastfeeding I can truly say feeding my babies were some of the greatest moments of my life.

When I found out I was expecting my third child I had no doubt that breastfeeding would be easy this time around. I was excited that I would soon be a breastfeeding mom again. Before too long, I found out that I wasn’t just having a third baby - I was having twins! I love to know as much as I can and so I moved into my typical mode as an information gatherer.  Before long, I learned everything I could about nursing twins. As I waited for my new daughters to arrive, I was confident breastfeeding twins would be easy.

Enter reality. Wow! Breastfeeding twins is a whole new ballgame. Two babies means twice as many factors to think about:  Are they both latching well? What if they want to eat at different times? Can I make enough milk for two? Although I was created with two breasts, and I know I have the ability to make enough milk for two, three, or even more babies, I was only given two hands. This remains my biggest challenge as my babies gain some weight, get more mature and learn to breastfed.

As I struggle (yes, I admit to this), it makes me ask why mothers (like me) are determined to do something for their children that is downright hard? I am sure some people look at me and think, “Why doesn’t she just formula feed her babies? Others can help. She can get some rest.It will be easier.”  

It's been a busy month ...

May 29, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

It has been a busy month for breasts! First, the Time magazine cover photo and then the publication of Florence William's book about breasts. There has been lots of talk about breastfeeding, which is always exciting if you are a community breastfeeding center!

The other excitement is our upcoming 2nd Annual Milk & Cookies party. This is our main community fundraiser for the year. Coming on the heels of the successful Give to Lincoln campaign, we are honored that so many of our loyal volunteers and board members have spent their time and energy planning this party. Please join us at the home of Ed and Coty Ring to sample sweets and enjoy visiting with MilkWorks staff and supporters on June 23rd!

Asking for money is the one part of my job that is really hard for me. But until the Bill Gates of breastfeeding comes along to make sure we have the resources we need to help Lincoln families, it is part and parcel of running MilkWorks. Every single donation, no matter the size, helps to pay our staff, write a check to our landlord, and cover our liability insurance. In turn, this allows us to educate, support and be here for breastfeeding moms.  

Thank you for your support!

Nursing too long is not the problem

May 18, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

Wow! Everywhere I have gone the last week, someone has asked me about the Time magazine cover photo, Are You Mom Enough? At graduation parties, the grocery store and even my neighbor's front yard. My darling 92-year-old mother-in-law brought the cover to Mother's Day brunch, along with an article from the Omaha World Herald that really gets to the crux of the issue. Nursing too long is NOT the problem. The problem is that too few infants get ENOUGH of their mom's milk.

Why did Time choose to use this photo for their well researched article on Dr. William Sears? Anyone who knows anything about Dr. Sears and his wife, Martha, know that they love kids, they understand how challenging parenthood can be and they believe children need their parents. I expected the article to be extreme and outlandish. Instead it was a pretty good piece of journalism that explored the Sears family and their perspectives on kids and parents.

Maybe this "unusual" breastfeeding photo is actually a good thing. Perhaps people will start to say, "I'm not sure how I feel about a toddler nursing, but it's fine for a baby to nurse for a year." Why is this a good thing? Because ten years ago the general public may NOT have thought it was okay for a baby to nurse for a year, or even nurse at all! That's progress.

My Mother's Day Dream

May 1, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, MilkWorks

This Mother’s Day, I would like to thank a special group of mothers. Breastfeeding is alive in the United States because of them. Fifty six years ago a group of mothers in Chicago resisted social and medical advice and refused to formula feed their babies. This group developed into La Leche League, which to this day provides mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding.

annwebAnother consumer led breastfeeding effort is happening in the year 2012. Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy group founded in 1971, has launched a petition to stop the free distribution of formula in hospitals. They claim that free formula samples undermine breastfeeding. Fortunately almost all Lincoln and Omaha hospitals have now stopped providing free formula.

It is a paradox. We encourage mothers to breastfeed, but we often provide free formula in hospitals, doctor’s offices and food supplement programs, such as WIC. Public health experts promote human milk as the “gold standard” of infant food. Yet we seldom provide the support that a mother needs to make breastfeeding work, including the “next best alternative.”

Local, renewable and free

April 23, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director and Lactation Consultant, MilkWorks

annanddianneLocal, renewable and free. There is no better fit for Earth Day than breastfeeding. It was a sunny, windy day at Antelope Park as Dianne and I chatted with pregnant moms, charming babies, shy children, breastfeeding moms, baby carrying dads, board members and friends. We showed off fashion forward reusable diapers and Green Toys, made from milk jugs (I really like the milk connection there!).

La Leche League, Nebraska Friends of Midwives, Circle Me, MilkWorks and Sycamore Family Resource Center were all together in one place. What a great community Lincoln is for families!

It was especially fun seeing babies all grown up, shyly grinning as their moms re-lived their memories of days spent at MilkWorks "when you were a baby." I loved hearing from second time moms that "I didn't need you guys this time around." Yeah! And, I was glad to tell pregnant moms "you have a place to come to for support."

Every drop of mother's milk that every baby drinks makes the earth a little bit greener.

The Right Milk for Earth Day

April 16, 2012

by Adam Prochaska, President, MilkWorks Board of Directors

adam-127x150Got Milk? is a very popular ad campaign that often features a celebrity with a milk mustache. A question the ads never ask is - Which Milk?

When most people think of milk, they think of cows. The National Milk Processor Board’s milk mustache campaign was, and continues to be, extremely successful in promoting cow’s milk. But as you may know, other animals also make milk. In fact, sheep and goat milk is often considered more easily digested by humans.

We can choose the amount of fat in our milk. Grocery stores sell skim (with less than 0.2% milk fat), 1%, 2% and whole (which contains the same amount of fat as it did when the cow was milked - 3.5%).   

We can also choose milk that was grown in a field. Soy milk is a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein produced by first soaking and then grinding dry soybeans with water. Almond milk and rice milk are made using a similar process.

We can choose milk that has been produced without synthetic chemicals, hormones or antibiotics. Organic milk comes from farms that use only organic fertilizers and pesticides and which prohibit supplemental hormones.

We can also choose milk that is made specifically for feeding human babies. Breast milk is widely acknowledged as “the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a wide range of benefits for infants’ health, growth, immunity and development.”  

Trustworthy Advice

breastfeeding_momApril 9, 2012

Many moms tell us that they are confused by the inconsistent breastfeeding advice they receive from well-meaning friends and healthcare providers. One person tells them to nurse on both breasts for 10 minutes each. Someone else says, “Oh, no, one breast only for as long as you want to!” The medication insert says, “Don’t take if you are breastfeeding.” But their doctor just wrote a prescription for the medication!!!

Since we opened our doors eleven years ago, our goal has been to give moms consistent, accurate breastfeeding information.

Working for change ... changing for the better

April 9, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

annwebI recently facilitated a panel presentation at Ameritas sponsored by WorkWell, Southeast Nebraska’s worksite wellness council. Funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the event was designed to help employers understand the amended Fair Labor Standards Act. 

As of March, 2010, employers must provide private space and reasonable pump breaks for breastfeeding mothers in the work force. Over 65 representatives from Lincoln businesses attended the event. While a handful of employers have been supportive for years, there were many who have no formal policy in place. Their interest in complying with the law was exciting. It also made me realize how far we have come in providing support for breastfeeding moms.

About eight years ago, I was the guest speaker at a similar WorkWell presentation. I believe six or seven employers attended and I spoke to the “choir” – businesses that were already supportive. Around that time, MilkWorks started hosting yearly workshops for moms called “You Can Do It:  Return to Work and Breastfeed Your Baby.” However, my interest in breastfeeding in the work place goes back even further.

What does a Breastfeeding Center have to do with a Technology Fund?

April 9, 2012











There are a lot of smiling faces at MilkWorks this week. Why? New computers that work well. Five words that are not familiar in that combination around MilkWorks.

Thanks to Nebraska Global, a software investment company, our dream has come true!

Three Months of Double Joy

March 26, 2012

alanaBy Ann Seacrest, Executive Director and Lactation Consultant at MilkWorks

Meet Alana, her son, Isaiah, and her twins, Anna and Simeon, shown here at their weekly outing to MilkWorks. Anna and Simeon, who were born 2 months early, are now 3 months old. While Simeon is being undressed for his turn on the scale, Isaiah is alternately entertaining Anna, who is sucking on her pink pacifier, or playing with the toys in our waiting room.

When asked if he wanted his picture taken, Isaiah gave me a huge grin. It seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the twins three month birthday - a group photo at our baby weight station! Alana enjoys coming to MilkWorks to weigh the twins because she says “it helps her know they are gaining well.” After a crazy day with twins,  Alana said, “It is nice to know that something is going well and my  hard work is paying off.”

Happy Three Months to Anna and Simeon! Keep up the great work, Alana! You are doing a beautiful job!

Beyond Beyonce

March 19, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

beyonceTraveling back to Lincoln from a college tour with my daughter, I read a commentary in USA Today about Beyonce openly nursing her baby in public. The author, Joyce King, poses two questions. Should Beyonce have considered other people’s discomfort, and, should people be responsible for looking the other way if they don’t want to see a mother breastfeeding?

King also raises the “larger debate” of whether breastfeeding makes for smarter and healthier kids and mentions two British studies. One found that breastfed kids have higher test scores throughout childhood and the other suggested that six months of only breastmilk is too long and opens the door for allergies and iron deficiencies. This larger debate was really put to rest in 2007 when the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published their meta analysis of 9,000 research studies and concluded there are significant health benefits when a baby is breastfed.

A TransAtlantic Weaning

March 14, 2012

By Libbytransatlanticwean-_PHOTO

In 2009 I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. My husband and I traveled to Europe with our parents and our 18 month old son, John, who was still nursing frequently. We boarded our long overnight flight to Italy and arrived in Rome jet lagged, but ready to sight see. I realized then that John had not asked to nurse since we landed.

I was following a gentle child-led weaning method called “don’t offer, don’t refuse," so even though John asked regularly to nurse, I did not think much of it, assuming we were all just tired. That evening as we went to bed, John came over and pulled up my shirt. Instead of nursing, he laid his head on my belly and fell asleep. I was amazed that we had gone a whole day without nursing. Little did I know that our plane ride to Italy would be the last time I breastfed my firstborn son.

A Return to Work Event for Employers

March 9, 2012


Please let your employer know about this upcoming presentation (and free lunch!) that is being offered at Ameritas on March 21st.  It is a perfect way for businesses to learn how to comply with the newly amended Fair Labor Standards Act and support breastfeeding mothers in the work force.

The panel will feature two MilkWorks board members, attorney Adam Prochaska and Liz Ring-Carlson, a public affairs manager at State Farm who has returned-to-work and breastfed two babies (with a third on the way!).

Please help us spread the word about this event!


Ann, Executive Director, MilkWorks

The Fair Labor Standards Act and Breastfeeding Mothers: What Employers Need to Know

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act was recently amended to address the needs of breastfeeding mothers in the work force. WorkWell, Southeast Nebraska's worksite wellness council, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health, and the Women’s Health Advisory Council are sponsoring an informational luncheon designed for employers to help them better understand the FLSA changes and how to support breastfeeding employees. There is no cost to attend.

All employers, business managers and human resource managers in Lancaster County are invited to attend the presentation on Wednesday, March 21st from

11:30 am – 1:00 pm at Ameritas, 5900 O Street.

A complimentary lunch will be served. Registration is required. Please call or email Jackie at (402) 441-6212 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Breastfeeding 59 years ago ...

March 1, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorksannasbabycaption

The year is 1963. I remember being 10 years old, snooping through my mother's closet and finding a pale pink baby book with my birth certificate tucked inside. As I opened the book, a small card fell out. My mother told me it was my "crib card." It read "Baby Girl Raschke, born March 11 at 11:53 pm, weight 7 lbs. 8 ounces." In the corner of the card was the word "Breast." My mother explained that she breastfed me. Thinking that all babies were fed from a bottle, I asked her why. She responded that our family could not afford to buy formula.

That discussion was my first experience with breastfeeding.

Covered? Or uncovered? Or badge of honor?

February 1, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

This past weekend I attended the 125th anniversary celebration of my college sorority.The ballroom of the Holiday Inn was filled with women ages 18 to 91.We watched a video on the history of the sorority and I was amazed by the changing looks (clothing and hair styles) of college women. Needless to say, there was a great difference from the 1887 straw hats and white gloves to the 2012 skin tight short dresses and high heel shoes.

The contrast made me think of a recent article published in Great Britain that took on the hooter hider, calling it a “shower curtain cover up”. Better known as a nursing cover, this large piece of fabric drapes over a baby at the breast. The neckline “bows” which allows a mom to see her baby, yet be covered up while breastfeeding.  

Some of the older staff at MilkWorks initially scoffed at the nursing cover. Doesn’t it just draw more attention to nursing your baby? Is this progress? Or is this moms feeling like they must be “under cover?" I personally liked being a bit bold nursing in the 1980’s because I felt it might help pave the way for other mothers to feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public.

But then I wondered if the shower curtain look is actually a badge of honor? In a way, it does say “look at me!” I am breastfeeding and I am proud of it!

Like sororities, breastfeeding will no doubt continue to adapt to the times. While the basic process of breastfeeding will not change, the fashions of breastfeeding will most likely go through many evolutions .... as mothers continue to nurture and care for their newborn babies.

Instruction manual, please?

January 1, 2012

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

Breastfeeding is a simple biological process. A mother gives birth. This change in her hormones causes her breasts toannweb make milk. Her baby shows feeding cues and latches to her breast, suckles vigorously and removes milk. More milk is made each time her baby wakes and feeds.

Ah, if it were only so simple! Ask many mothers and they will tell you a different story. The reality is that breastfeeding is a natural process, but it presents uniquely for each mother and baby. No instruction manual can do it justice. 

Mothers used to learn how to breastfeed from their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends. In the year 2012, we now have nurses, doctors, midwives, breastfeeding educators and lactation consultants to round out the support team and make sure mothers get accurate information and guidance.

Finding the support you need

December 14, 2011

By Sara Dodder Furr, LLLL, IBCLC

When MilkWorks opened in February of 2001, we all knew it was important to provide a way for moms to get together regularly, to support and encourage each other. We envisioned a group where moms could talk freely, bring their babies and just be themselves in a non-judgmental atmosphere. We wanted to provide a safe place where moms could breastfeed without having to worry about offending someone. We wanted moms to come regardless of whether or not they were having breastfeeding difficulties. We hoped it would become a place where moms who’d come in for consults could go to get support from others, beyond clinical care.  

cathy_picEventually, the group became known as MomTalk. In the beginning, I led the group once a week and for at least a month, I sat on the couch and really got to know Cathy and her baby Spencer. Cathy was our first consult client at MilkWorks and she and Spencer taught me a lot about really listening to a new mom. Cathy’s quiet confidence grew over time and as other moms started coming to MomTalk, Cathy welcomed them and gave them the support. This was exactly what we had hoped for! As each mom came to the group, perhaps she was initially seeking support for herself, perhaps she had urgent questions or problems. As the group facilitator, I provided resources and information and sometimes shared my own experience, especially since my daughter Nora was a nursling at the time and was my “demo model” in the group. Fortunately, she was an easy-going baby and, as an older nursling (she was nine months old when MilkWorks opened), she was eager to demonstrate her breastfeeding skills to Spencer and the other babies who came to MomTalk.

The wisdom of a mother

December 1, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorksannweb

This is a story about Finn, a sweet baby boy who was born last November. Finn's parents, Sarah and Jonathon, live in Montana. They traveled to Arizona so that Finn could be born near grandparents. Jonathan emailed me shortly after Finn's birth because breastfeeding was not going well. Despite trying everything for several weeks, Sarah could not get Finn's latch comfortable. She ended up pumping to give Finn her milk. But by then, it hurt to even pump. I was at a loss and wondered if Sarah should wean Finn. Little did I know what was to come...

A Taste for Vegetables

December 1, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks


Why does breastfeeding help protect against obesity? Information points to multiple reasons. Babies may be able to control their intake better at the breast. Not only do they have to work to get the milk, but they can more easily stop when they are full. In addition, a fast flow bottle may deliver formula very quickly, before a baby’s blood sugar has time to rise and a baby has time to feel full. Human milk also contains satiety hormones that may help a baby to eat less and be more satisfied. It may also have to do with other hormones found in breast milk that help to regulate blood sugar.  

Provocative or Natural?
By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks, Lincoln’s Community Breastfeeding Center

Every time a celebrity talks about breastfeeding her new baby, I get excited.  Whether it is actress Evangeline Lilly on the Jay Leno show, or ex-Spice girl Victoria Beckham quoted in People magazine, it makes me smile. Does it really matter if Celine Dion or Jessica Alba are breastfeeding their babies?

Like it or not, celebrity America garners a lot of attention. Whether they are selling movies, TV shows, make up or gossip magazines, they are the pulse of popular America. And we pay attention to them: what they say, what they wear, what they do.

Victoria Beckham announced earlier this year that she was planning to breastfeed her fourth child (a daughter after three sons), saying she wanted “everything natural and perfect for my little girl”. Celine Dion explained on Oprah that her grueling performing schedule must work around breastfeeding her four-month-old twin sons.

Yet when People magazine ran a small photo of model Miranda Kerr breastfeeding her son Flynn, opinions were dramatically divided.  One reader wrote, “This crosses the line and makes mother/child bonding provocative.”  Another reader wrote, “Way to go, Miranda Kerr, for showing that breastfeeding is not only beautiful, but natural.” Is it any wonder that American women have second thoughts about breastfeeding?

celine_dion We know that other cultures make the shift and are able to see breastfeeding for what it is:  a way to feed babies. Women around the world breastfeed their babies wherever they are, without thinking twice about offending someone or worrying if a tiny bit of skin is visible.

This is just the reason that we need more actresses like Evangeline Lilly showing up on Jay Leno looking absolutely beautiful (and sexy) and talking about breastfeeding.  It’s one more way that we can incorporate breastfeeding into today’s culture, making it acceptable and popular. One more way we can bring it out of the closet and into the living room.

If we are going to provide a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers, it will come from all aspects of our society: from the work place, the celebrity world, our health care providers, the insurance industry and our next door neighbor. When a mother nursing her baby does not warrant a second look or a comment, and when breasts may be provocative, but breastfeeding is normal, we will have finally created an environment that allows women true choice in how they feed their babies.
The Accomplishment of Breastfeeding

October 10, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

I just returned from my (yikes!) 40th high school reunion. I grew up in a small town, so many of my classmates shared memories all theann way back to kindergarten. It was a warm and comforting event full of acceptance and laughter.

1969-1971 was a pivotal period for high school students. While my oldest sister sat through English class in a cashmere sweater and plaid skirt, I attended our school's first Black History course dressed in bell bottoms and a hand embroidered peasant shirt.

I came of age in a time period when young women were empowered to consider  new opportunities and make choices about their future.

When feeling bad leads to a good thing ...

October 5, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

A close friend of mine just returned from spending a week helping her son and daughter-in-law take care of their first baby.  She loved playing grandma, listening to their birth story and helping to take care of everyone.
newbornApparently her new grand baby did not nurse well for the first several days.  Her son was very supportive, encouraging his wife to be patient until things improved.  My friend said that her daughter in law felt like a failure when her baby was not nursing well.  This comment launched us into a discussion of our culture’s expectations of new moms.

I think I surprised my friend when I said, “Well, of course new moms should feel like a failure if their baby does not feed well.  If they didn’t, who would take care of the babies?”

Take a moment to think of what would happen if moms did not feel compelled to take good care of their babies, or, in the case of breastfeeding, did not take it personally when their babies don’t feed well?  Without this motivation, would any babies ever survive?

We often forget that much of what we do has origins in biology.  Why is sex pleasurable?  So that people reproduce.  If sex was miserable, humans would be extinct.  Why should moms feel responsible for their babies?  So their babies will survive and thrive.  We live in a rapidly changing world more focused on technology than brain chemicals and hormones.  Yet it is well known that biology still rules in some matters.

What should we do when new moms feel bad because their babies are not breastfeeding well? Provide reassurance that their feelings are normal and find them help.  When moms feel as though they are being listened to, they work through their feelings.  They realize that life (and breastfeeding) is not perfect.  With help they can go on to breastfeed their baby in their own unique, special way.

When breastfeeding is second nature ...

September 1, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

Everything about breastfeeding seems pretty second nature to me. I breastfed my four children and have been helping mothers breastfeed for over twenty years. I can speak comfortably about breastfeeding to politicians and high school students, in front of television cameras and to people I meet in elevators and at parties. So when the Fusion Project asked me to teach a breastfeeding class to a group of eight moms, I did not even think twice. Until I showed up and learned my lesson.

A bit of friendly help

August 2, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

As a community breastfeeding center, MilkWorks depends upon grants, donations and fundraisers. This income allows us to provide free moms' groups and drop in weight checks, answer breastfeeding questions 7 days a week and offer reduced consultation fees for low income moms. 

Recently one of our funders complimented MilkWorks.  She said  "You know what you want  (to help moms breastfeed), you are very tenacious and you know how to ask for help."  Help is exactly what we got when a group of incredible volunteers, led by Sarah McCurley, planned our July 16th Family Festival to celebrate ten years of MilkWorks. It was fantastic!

My "marathon" memories - Happy Birthday MilkWorks!
Guest Blog Post by Clover Frederick
Clover is a mom of two in Lincoln. She volunteers as co-chair of MilkWorks’ Fundraising Committee.

Last week, my youngest child lost her two top front teeth. These were the same two teeth that brought me to MilkWorks when she was eight months old. She was learning how to use the teeth and my breasts were damaged because of it. Thanks to the ladies at MilkWorks and the wonders of “triple nipple cream”, I was able to heal and continue to nurse Cate beyond the one-year goal I had set for myself.
Cate is 6 (and a half!) now. The birth of her big sister Ainsley, 8 years ago, brought me to MilkWorks for the first time. Her low weight gain at six months old had me back to Milkworks. Again, with their help, I reached my goal.

I didn’t realize it at the time but when I went to MilkWorks for the first time, the organization itself was still in its infancy. Ten years later, MilkWorks is still going strong – just like those babies (who are now “big kids”.)

I was honored to be a part of the planning of MilkWorks 10th Birthday Party held last Saturday at Prairie Hill Learning Center. As I greeted families, it was wonderful to see all the moms, dads, grandparents, babies and big kids who have been touched by the women of MilkWorks and the good work they do.

The casual celebration was a wonderful walk down memory lane for me and other moms. We reminisced about our experiences and what I discovered was that nursing my babies was my “marathon” experience. I doubt I’ll ever run a marathon, but accomplishing my goal of nursing each of my babies for their first year was my marathon.

I am proud of it. And I couldn’t have achieved it if it weren’t for MilkWorks.
A Bit of Magic

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

July 1, 2011

I always feel as though summer is truly here when the fireflies appear.  As a young child growing up in a small town in South Dakota, I spent many summer evenings enchanted by the sparkling lights darting in the grass, wondering how they worked their magic.

June 4th bought a bit of magic right here to MilkWorks as board members and volunteers held our first official fundraiser at the home of Dr. Tim and Patti Gardner.  It was enchanting to see such great community support for MilkWorks.

Dr. Tim and Patti Gardner’s home was the perfect setting for tasting incredible pastries and cocktails and enjoying the many friends of MilkWorks.

Home Away From Home

June 2, 2011

Ann Seacrest, Executive Director, MilkWorks

Women often give birth and breastfeed their babies without family members living close by. There is a saying that "mothers were not meant to do this alone" and another saying that "it takes a village to raise a child." MilkWorks takes both of these concepts very seriously.

In many cultures, grandparents and other family members play a dominant role when a new baby is born. They help with household chores, make meals and model parenting behavior:  soothing a crying baby or rocking a baby to sleep. It's all so basic and seems so simple. Unless you are a new parent doing it for the first time in a sleep deprived state of mind.

Protect and Cherish

May 1, 2011

Ann Seacrest, Executive Director

We all know that human babies must be protected. They need to be kept warm and dry, well fed and safe. Our babies also need to be held and loved so they learn to trust and be part of our society. The vast majority of parents work very hard to make this happen.

Many of my friends, who are now becoming grandparents, have noticed the incredible number of rules young parents face today. Sleep positions.  6-point car seat harness systems. Safety approved high chairs. Rigid and multiple immunization schedules. Sling recalls. Baby CPR. It's enough to make those of us with older children shudder and wonder how our children ever survived.

An infant injury or death is devastating to parents and family members. And in a perfect world, no child would ever get hurt. In our attempt to create a safer world for children, we must stop and realize that all the rules in the world will not make perfection. And when life throws us non-perfection, we need to avoid judgment. We need to extend support instead.

Time to Celebrate!

April 2, 2011

Ann Seacrest, Executive Director

Time to celebrate!

Last week Nebraska joined the rest of the country when Governor Heineman signed the new breastfeeding bill into law! Nebraska mothers may now nurse their babies in any location they have a legal right to be.

Having just returned from a service trip to Honduras in Central America, I am very aware of the drastically different living conditions in our two countries, as well as a drastically different attitude towards mothers feeding their babies.

It's All About Community!

March 2, 2011

Ann Seacrest, Executive Director

We recently received a thank you note and donation from a Lincoln day care provider who relies upon us to answer questions she has when taking care of babies who are breastfeeding. This is exactly what US Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin meant by community support when she issued the recent Call to Action for Breastfeeding.

Everyone in our community, from a breastfeeding mother, to her partner, to her mother-in-law, to her health care provider, to her employer, to her day care provider, needs to know where they can get accurate, consistent information and support.  

Not just when a mom has a baby who won't latch or isn't gaining weight, but for all those other small reasons we don't think about. The support needs to be easy to access and it needs to be available 7 days a week (and preferably 24 hours a day!).

Celebrating 10 Years!

February 10, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director

MilkWorks opened our doors ten years ago this month, shortly after the US Surgeon General issued a Breastfeeding Blueprint for Action calling for community support. Seven Lincoln women took this document to heart and decided that if mothers were going to be encouraged to breastfeed, they needed to have a good support system once they left the hospital. MilkWorks was developed as a free standing, non-profit organization (we are not affiliated with any hospital or doctor’s office), so we could serve all women and grow and develop based upon the needs of Lincoln families.

It is hard to believe that our first babies are now 10 years old!

We started out in 1,000 square feet and saw 100 mothers for consultations in the first year. Over the past 10 years, we have expanded our space 4 times and now provide lactation care to approximately a thousand mothers a year. We have done this without monthly fundraising letters and without insurance reimbursement for lactation consultants - a true testimony to the grass roots efforts, dedication and passion of our staff.

Until we opened our doors, breastfeeding support in our community was minimal.

Breastfeeding in Nebraska

January 26, 2011

By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director

State Senator Annette Dubas introduced LB 197 in the Nebraska Legislature today. The bill simply says a mother “may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mothers is otherwise authorized to be.”  The bill is part of an obesity prevention campaign endorsed by the Nebraska Medical Association.

So why do we need legislation that allows mothers to breastfeed?

Infant nutrition has been identified by the US Surgeon General, Healthy People 2020 , the American Academy of Pediatrics, and numerous other medical experts as a major factor in the health of our communities.

The most recent meta analysis by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (April 2007) reviewed 9,000 studies related to the impact of what infants are fed.  Their conclusion is that feeding human babies human milk (instead of formula) results in a 4 times lower risk of SIDS, a decreased risk of type I and type II diabetes, asthma, diarrhea, eczema, ear infections, childhood leukemia, hospitalizations for lower respiratory infections and necrotizing enterocolitis in pre term infants, and, a lifetime protection against obesity, which is epidemic in Nebraska.

Mothers of Many Abilities
By Ann Seacrest, Executive Director

One of our clients, Amy Buresh, recently brought my attention to an unfortunate event.  A mother, who is blind, was breastfeeding her baby in a Missouri hospital and asked for assistance.  The hospital called Child Protective Services and removed the baby from her parents.

It took two months for the National Federation for the Blind and a legal fight to return the baby to her parents. In the meantime, the baby's mother lost her right to breastfeed her baby, something she will never recover.