Tips for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk

There are several reasons why mothers may want to pump and store breast milk for their babies.  For some, they are returning to the workplace, for others pumping and storing milk simply offers convenience and flexibility for their busy schedules. In certain cases, pumping and storing milk helps to address supply problems. Lastly, this method can provide opportunities for dads and other family members to bond with babies by participating in feedings.

Whatever one’s reasons are for pumping and storing milk, it is important to know the fundamentals of properly and safely doing so. 

Here are a few tips to consider when pumping milk:

  • Always start by washing your hands
  • Ensure that the tools you are using to pump milk are clean to avoid the risk of bacterial contamination
  • Consider pumping in the morning, many moms produce the most milk during this time of day
  • Massage areas of your breasts that feel firm before pumping, doing so can help improve the letdown of milk
  • Relax and make yourself comfortable, stress can hinder letdown
  • Use hospital-grade breast pumps if you are not expressing milk manually
  • Keep a consistent schedule. Pump at the same times every day.  (If returning to work it is best to express your milk during the same time you would normally feed your baby. Inform your employer about the importance of keeping this schedule- exercise your pumping rights).

When storing breast milk, it is advised that you follow these tips:

  • Store breast milk in clean containers designed specifically for this purpose
  • Do not store breast milk beyond the recommended or optimal time for safe storage (It is important to note that storage guidelines may differ for premature infants)
    Room temperature (The medical definition of room temperature is a temperature of from 59° to 77°F (15° to 25°C) – no more than four hours
    Refrigerator– up to 3 days
    Freezer-up to 6 months
  • Label each container with the date that you expressed milk
  • When thawing frozen milk, it is best to do so overnight in the refrigerator or by holding the container under warm, running water.
  • Do not defrost frozen milk in the microwave, doing so can damage the composition of breast milk

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is a designated Baby-Friendly USA facility that promotes breastfeeding. Our hospital provides several social and clinical programs designed to support pregnant and nursing mothers.   Some of our programs include breastfeeding education classes, CenteringPregnancy and breastfeeding support groups.  To learn more about our breastfeeding initiatives, please visit https://jamaicahospital.org/clinical-services/ob-gyn/baby-friendly/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Autism Acceptance Month

Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by a range of conditions that can significantly impair behavioral, communication and social skills.

Autism -624530410There are three different types of autism spectrum disorders; they include Classic Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Each condition differs by the severity of symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) children or adults with ASD may display the following symptoms:

  • Having delays in speech and language skills
  • Not responding to their name by 12 months
  • Avoiding eye contact or wanting to be alone
  • Having difficulty understanding the feelings of others
  • Displaying unusual reactions to the way things look, feel, sound or smell
  • Repeating actions over and over
  • Not looking at objects when other people point to them
  • Repeating words or phrases in place of normal language
  • Preferring not to be cuddled or cuddling only when desired
  • Having trouble adapting to changes in daily activities
  • Displaying behaviors such as flapping hands, spinning in circles or rocking the body

The most obvious symptoms of ASD typically emerge between two to three years of age. However, in some cases, they can be identified earlier.

There are no definitive causes of ASD but it has been discovered that there are several factors that can make a child more likely to have the disorder.  The CDC asserts the following findings:

  • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.
  • Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD.
  • ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis.
  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth.
  • Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD.

Diagnosing ASD can be difficult as assessments are primarily based on behavior and development. There are two stages of diagnosis, the developmental screening and the comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.

Currently, there is no cure for ASD but research shows that early intervention services and treatment can improve development in children.

April is National Autism Acceptance Month, during this time, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center hopes to promote autism awareness and acceptance through education.  The hospital proudly supports the nationwide goal of building a greater understanding and acceptance of ASD.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Understanding Virus Mutation

A virus is a submicroscopic parasite that is made up of genetic code: RNA or DNA, surrounded by a protective protein coat known as a capsid.

 A virus’ purpose is to create more copies of itself and spread to hosts.  However, viruses lack the ability to thrive and reproduce outside of a host body. In other words, “A virus cannot replicate alone. Viruses must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of themselves. Often, they kill the host cell in the process, and cause damage to the host organism,” according to the National Human Genome Research Institute.

When a virus replicates, its genes may undergo copying errors or genetic mutations. This is a natural and normal occurrence and is especially true of viruses that contain RNA such as the coronavirus.

Over time, alterations to the virus’ surface proteins or antigens can occur through mutation. This leads to the formation of new variants of a virus strain.

It has been reported that multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Information about the characteristics of these variants is rapidly emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them.”

The CDC is closely monitoring these variants of concern and advises people to continue to protect themselves from COVID-19 by practicing good hand hygiene, wearing a mask, social distancing and getting vaccinated.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Ayshea Beswick-Bailey Shares Her “Jamaica Journey”

Thousands of people work at Jamaica Hospital and each has their own unique story to tell about their career path.  The following is one of them.

Ayshea Beswick-Bailey RN, MSN, PMHNP; Clinical Nurse Manager for Psych-3, began her career journey at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center 17 years ago.

Driven by a strong desire to care for others, Ayshea pursued a career in nursing “I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. As a child I enjoyed helping people and was intrigued by anything related to medicine,” she shared.

In 2003, she joined Jamaica Hospital as a Licensed Practical Nurse on 3-North. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lehman College, Ayshea honed her clinical expertise by working in various areas of the hospital as a Float Team RN.  Her next career stop was the E.R., where she worked for almost 10 years.  For Ayshea, working in the E.R. was one of her best experiences.  She said there is no limit to what you can learn there.

Ayshea used the knowledge and experience she gained in the E.R. to transition to the Psychiatry department. While working as a Staff Nurse, Ayshea completed the Master of Science program at Hunter College and received her degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Throughout her journey at Jamaica Hospital, Ayshea has become known by many for her strong work ethic and willingness to go above and beyond. In fact, she was nominated for a G.E.M award which is given to employees who go the extra mile to help patients and colleagues.

In addition to her commitment to providing excellent care to patients, Ayshea credits her professional growth to the support of her mentors and colleagues.  “My first mentor at Jamaica hospital was Linda Hayes, the Assistant Director of Nursing Administration. She always pushed me and believed in me,” she stated. “I am also very grateful that other leaders such as Marge Lilienthal, Liz Garcia, Dr. Daniel Chen, Dr. Martha Edelman and Dr. Meri Nisimova gave me a chance.”

When asked about her overall experience of working at Jamaica Hospital, Ayshea replied, “I know this may sound cliché, but it is the truth, working at Jamaica Hospital has truly been like working with family. My colleagues have been there during the difficult and best times in my life, including my dad’s cancer diagnosis and recovery, as well as the birth of my kids, two of which I had at this hospital.”

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Offers A Virtual Prenatal Experience For Women

Being pregnant can be very challenging, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the issues that a growing number of pregnant women are encountering at this time is loneliness.

Studies show that over 50% of expecting mothers admit to feeling extremely lonely and isolated because they are spending more time at home, and away from others.  These factors are believed to be contributors to a rise in prenatal depression.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center hopes to provide a solution to this problem by offering pregnant women a safe place where they feel supported. By moving its CenteringPregnancy program to a virtual space, patients of the hospital can receive prenatal care and actively engage with a community of healthcare providers and fellow moms on Zoom.

In the CenteringPregnancy program at Jamaica Hospital, patients with similar due dates are invited to participate in group sessions facilitated by doctors or midwives.  Participants meet every two or four weeks (depending on gestational age) and interact with nutritionists, lactation consultants and other healthcare providers.  A variety of topics including mental health, breastfeeding and labor preparation are discussed. Special guest speakers from organizations such as Safe Sleep and Queens Healthy Start are also invited to share information and connect moms to helpful resources.

Before their first group session, patients attend an in-person orientation where they are given a Centering prenatal kit. This consists of a scale, blood pressure monitor, fetal Doppler, books and other materials, all of which are needed to participate in the program.  Participants are trained on how to use each item to monitor their baby’s development and record vital health information.  Patients report this information to their providers in a private session before the start of every group meeting.

While engagement and group discussions are encouraged among participants, there are 1-on-1, break-away sessions during each meeting. Here, mothers can speak privately with facilitators about any concerns or questions they may have. If a patient’s needs cannot be addressed via Zoom, an appointment will be scheduled to see their doctor at the Women’s Health Center where strict COVID-19 safety protocols are followed.

Jamaica Hospital’s virtual CenteringPregnancy program has been highly successful. The program has earned recognition from leading institutions and is used to demonstrate the benefits of virtual prenatal care to other medical facilities.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the pregnancy experience for a lot of women, and we are constantly thinking of ways to make it as positive as we can,” said Patricia Fox, Certified Midwife.  “Our team has established this unique, virtual platform so that we can provide our patients with a healthcare service that is convenient, safe and supportive. We understand how important these things are during these unprecedented times,” shared Thalita Viruet, Practice Manager for the Women’s Health Center.

To learn more about Centering at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Women’s Health Department at 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Keloids

When our skin is injured our body begins the healing process and produces collagen to mend the damage; this results in a scar.

However, when our bodies continue the healing process after the initial scar is formed, excess collagen is produced causing the scar to become flesh-colored, raised and larger than the original wound. This is known as a keloid.  

Keloids are most commonly found on the shoulders, chest, cheeks and earlobes. However, they can develop on other parts of the body, and you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Scars that feel soft and doughy or hard and rubbery
  • Scars that are itchy, painful or tender to the touch
  • Scars that become darker over time

Although any type of injury to the skin can lead to keloids, some people are more likely to develop them than others. At-risk individuals include:

  • Those who are African American, Asian or Latino
  • Those who are 30 years old and younger
  • Those who have a history of keloids in their family
  • Pregnant women

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) the risk of getting a keloid can be reduced by following these measures:

  • Wearing a pressure earring after getting ears pierced. They should be worn for at least 12 (and preferably 20) hours a day for 4 to 6 months
  • Spot testing areas of the skin before getting a tattoo or body piercing and wearing a pressure garment as soon as the skin begins to thicken
  • Informing your surgeon before surgery that your skin is prone to developing keloids. There may be a technique your surgeon can use to reduce the likelihood of keloids forming after surgery
  • Following AAD recommended tips to properly care for a wound
  • Applying silicone sheets or gels to the skin as soon as it heals

Keloids are typically not harmful to a person’s health but for some individuals, they may become a cosmetic concern. The appearance of a keloid can be improved by receiving laser therapy, pressure treatments, corticosteroid shots, surgery or by freezing the scar. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations after these treatments to avoid the return of a keloid.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Anemia

Anemia is defined as having a lack of healthy red blood cells to carry adequate amounts of oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is one of the most common blood conditions in the United States, affecting almost 6% of the population.

There are three main causes of anemia. They include:

  • A decrease in red blood cell production
  • An increase in red blood cell destruction
  • Blood loss

There are several factors that may lead to a decrease in red cell production, here a few:

  • Not having enough iron, folate or vitamin B-12 in our diets
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bone marrow or stem cell problems

Factors that can lead to an increase in red blood cell destruction are:

  • Infections
  • Severe hypertension
  • Toxins produced by advanced liver or kidney disease
  • Genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease  or thalassemia

Blood loss can be the result of an injury; it can also occur for other reasons such as heavy menstrual periods or gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.  

Some people are more at risk than others for developing anemia. Those who have an increased risk are:

  • Women who have heavy periods
  • Women who are pregnant and are not taking prenatal vitamins that include iron and folic acid
  • Older adults
  • Individuals with a family history of anemia
  • Individuals living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease
  • Individuals with a diet that lacks sufficient iron, vitamin B-12 or folate

The signs and symptoms of anemia can be mild or severe depending on the cause, they may include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet

It is recommended that you see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist.  During your appointment, your doctor may perform a physical examination and ask questions about your diet as well as family and medical history.  A physical examination may be conducted and a series of tests ordered to determine a diagnosis.

Treatment for anemia depends on the cause. A patient’s treatment plan can involve making changes to their diet, and taking supplements. Prescription medications, chemotherapy, blood transfusions or marrow transplants may be needed in other instances

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Anxiety

The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as, “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

Experiencing anxiety occasionally is normal; however, if this feeling occurs frequently, and gets worse over time it may be an indication of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental health disorders. Nearly 30% of adults living in the United States are affected at some point in their lives. 

There are four main types of anxiety disorder, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Specific phobias
  • Separation anxiety disorder

It is important to note that it is possible to have one or more anxiety disorder.

The causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood; however, there are certain risk factors believed to contribute to developing them.  General risk factors include:

  • Exposure to negative or stressful life events in early childhood or adulthood
  • A family history of anxiety disorders or other mental illnesses
  • Having certain health conditions such as heart arrhythmias or thyroid problems
  • Taking certain medications that can aggravate symptoms

For those living with any type of anxiety disorder, feelings of excessive worry, fear, apprehension or nervousness are often difficult to control and can interfere with daily activities. These feelings can also lead to physical symptoms such as:

  • An increased heart rate
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sweating
  • Hyperventilating
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue

If you are finding it difficult to control anxiety, and symptoms are affecting your health or ability to live a normal life, please seek help.  A mental health specialist can conduct a psychological evaluation to help determine a diagnosis. A physical exam may also be recommended to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Treatment for anxiety disorders can include psychotherapy or medications.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips To Avoid Overeating While Working From Home

More people are working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This arrangement can provide several benefits; however, there can be just as many challenges.

One of the most common issues experienced by some is the easy access to their kitchens and refrigerators. Having convenient and constant access to food often leads to overeating and unhealthy weight gain.

Here are a few things one can do to avoid this dilemma:

  • Work furthest away from the kitchen as possible
  • Develop an eating schedule and plan the times you are going to eat
  • Portion out meals and snacks
  • Avoid snacking  out of boredom
  • Avoid stress eating but instead, practice healthy relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing
  • Drink plenty of water (When you are dehydrated, hunger can sometimes be mistaken for thirst)
  • Stock your kitchen with healthy food
  • Avoid doing other activities when eating ( Being distracted can lead to overeating)
  • Stay physically active

Practicing these tips can help provide balance and structure to your daily work-at-home routine. If you continue to struggle with overeating, speak with a dietitian or doctor who can help you with improving eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight.

To make an appointment with a dietitian at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa-often used interchangeably with anorexia, is an eating disorder and psychological condition characterized by having a distorted body image (believing one is much heavier than they are), and the intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese.  

The exact cause for anorexia nervosa is unknown; however, there are several environmental, biological and psychological factors believed to contribute to its development.

Individuals with anorexia nervosa aim to maintain a low body weight that is abnormal for their height and age. This is typically achieved by practicing unhealthy weight loss habits such as:

  • Exercising excessively
  • Severely restricting the amount of food consumed
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Misusing, diuretics, laxatives or diet aides

The symptoms of anorexia nervosa can be physical, emotional or behavioral, and may vary from person to person.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Severe loss of muscle mass
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning hair or hair that breaks easily
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Infertility
  • Lanugo- soft, downy hair that covers the body

Emotional and behavioral symptoms may include:

  • An unhealthy preoccupation with food
  • Excessive concern about  being overweight
  • Adopting eating rituals such as chewing food and spitting it out
  • Lying about food intake
  • Avoiding eating in public
  • Repeated weighing or measuring of the body
  • Social withdrawal

Most individuals with anorexia nervosa hesitate to seek help because their desire to stay thin often outweighs their concerns for being healthy. However, anorexia nervosa can be life-threatening, so it is important that they receive the immediate care of physicians and mental health experts to help with overcoming this condition.

The diagnosis of anorexia nervosa generally includes physical exams, lab tests and psychological evaluations.  Treatment is often administered by a team of healthcare professionals who are experienced in dealing with eating disorders such as a primary care doctor, dietitian and psychologist.  A care plan may include medication, psychotherapy and nutrition education.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.