Author Archives: jamee

October is Infant Safe Sleep Month

roomsharing2October is Infant Safe Sleep Month in Sarasota County. In 2015 over 120 infants in Florida died because of unsafe sleep situations – sleeping in car seats, on couches, or sharing a bed with siblings or adults. It is the leading cause of death for infants under the age of one in the state of Florida. These deaths, while very tragic, can also be prevented. There are a few simple things you can to keep your baby safe during sleep.

Remember the ABCs:

Alone. Babies should sleep alone in their own crib or bassinet, but in the same room, next to where parents sleep.

Back.  Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.

Crib. Use a firm sleep surface, in a safety-approved crib, covered with a fitted sheet, free from soft objects such as pillows, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding.

To keep your baby safe there are additional things to you can do:

Breastfeed! Breastfeeding offers so many protections for babies including cutting the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in half. Breastfeed your baby for at least six months, but longer is better! If you need help breastfeeding contact Healthy Start at 941-861-2905.

Smoke free! Do not smoke around your baby or in the same room where your baby sleeps. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to for your health and the health of your little one. For help in quitting, call the Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit

placing_babyOffer a pacifier. When placing your baby to sleep, offer – but do not force – a pacifier. Do not use pacifier holders or ties.  If breastfeeding, wait until the baby is at least one month old and breastfeeding is well established to offer a pacifier.

Prevent overheating. Keep the temperature of the room where baby is sleeping comfortable for a lightly clothed adult and do not overdress your baby.

Keep hazards out of reach. Make sure mobiles, strings from blinds and curtains, or other hazards are out of baby’s reach.

Make sure ALL of your child’s caregivers know these Safe Sleep Tips.

For more information on Safe Sleep education offered in Sarasota County visit


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January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

PACTBirth defects are common, costly, and critical. Every 4½ minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. Become an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention Month by joining the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes and their impact.

We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. However, we encourage all women to make healthy choices and adopt healthy habits to help lower their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect. This year we are encouraging all women to make a PACT for their own health and the family they may have one day.

Plan ahead

  • Get as healthy as you can before you get pregnant.
  • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

Avoid harmful substances

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
  • Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.

Choose a healthy lifestyle

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils.
  • Be physically active.
  • Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.

Talk to your healthcare provider

  • Get a medical checkup.
  • Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Talk about your family medical history.

Women and their loved ones can participate in a PACT and take these important steps toward a healthy pregnancy. Share your own tips for healthy pregnancy using #LivingMyPACT on social media.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network, in collaboration with many state and local organizations, are working together to raise awareness of birth defects and encourage women to make a PACT for prevention. Learn more about the effect you can have on birth defects at

For more information on getting healthy before or between pregnancies, visit our Show Your Love page.

[From: National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN)]

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Thanks for the Mammaries!

This post is part of our 2nd Annual Breastfeeding Blog Hop! Please visit the other participating blogs for more perspectives on breastfeeding. Links are provided at the bottom of our post.


Every August we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th of August). We have a lot of fun, free activities throughout Sarasota County: Latch-On Sarasota, our Door Decorating Contest, breastfeeding displays, bake-offs, photo shoots, gatherings, and more.


What I love about this month is all the positivity and encouragement, the impactful stories that come from the moms we’ve helped. Sometimes we get so focused on how far we need to go, we forget how far we’ve come.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in breastfeeding over the last 11 years in Sarasota County.  According to Florida Charts in 2004 only 67% of moms breastfed at all. Compare that to a decade later (latest stats are for 2014) where we sit at 86.7%. That’s a HUGE change in a decade.



It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. There were highs and lows. While Sarasota County has remained ahead of the state average, we experienced a significant decline in 2010. Breastfeeding initiation plummeted from a recorded high of 85% to just under 82%. The recovery was gradual but we did it, although it took four years to make it back over that hump.



We’ve also seen our businesses change the way they support their employees. In 2008, only 11% of employed moms said they were allowed to breastfeed or pump at work. With the adoption of a federal workplace breastfeeding law in 2010, that number rocketed to 50% by 2011, and finally to 62% by 2014.


How was all of this accomplished?


In October of 2009 the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County saw the need for action and rebirthed the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County (BASC). This taskforce includes organizations and individuals throughout our county – anyone and everyone who had anything to do with pregnant women and breastfeeding are welcome.

We’ve faithfully met every other month since – with an extra meeting thrown in for National Breastfeeding Month planning. Members (past and current) include: the Healthy Start Coalition, Healthy Start Program, Save My Life Program, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Florida  Department of Health, Birthways Family Birthing Center, Rosemary Birthing Home, La Leche League, Lactation Love, Suncoast Lactation, private lactation providers, private citizens, students, pediatricians, area childcare providers, and other businesses. Whew!

Our goal – to provide seamless support for breastfeeding moms from birth until weaning and to normalize breastfeeding in our community. We celebrate our achievements and work together to find solutions to our community’s problems.


Each and every year we’ve proven that Sarasota County has what works: a team, a community that encourages others, and that works together to make sure our most vulnerable citizens have a healthy start. We have a long way to go, but with a dedicated group continually striving to overcome obstacles we’ve got a great foundation.



Interested in joining this fabulous taskforce? Visit us at our website, Facbeook page, or contact



A blog hop is a series of connected blogs all discussing the same topic, in this case breastfeeding in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month. Below our blog post you’ll see links to other participating blogs (not affiliated with the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County). Click the links and see what others have to say.

*The ideas and comments expressed are those of the writers, not necessarily the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County’s.

Do Your Best Sanctuary [DYBS]

Butterfly Birth

Castles & Fairy Tales

In Patti’s Imagination

Maiden to Mother

J. Nichole Parkins


References:; Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County Breastfeeding Survey 2008, 2011, 2014;

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Text4Baby launches a new FREE app!

Published February 20th, 2015


We are excited to announce that Text4baby has launched an app!

The Text4baby app makes it even easier for moms to get critical health and safety information to keep both themselves and their babies healthy. As a complementary tool to Text4baby text messages, the free app offers additional content and interactive features that enhance the overall Text4baby experience. Using their app, moms can look forward to:

  • A weekly planning list of medical, developmental and lifestyle calendar items.
  • Polls that allow participants to compare themselves to other moms on topics such as pregnancy symptoms, infant development and emotional experiences.
  • Appointment reminders that are set up through the application itself and received through the text message service.
  • Helpful health hotlines and community resources.

The free Text4baby app is available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores – download today!

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Is Healthy Start for you? Healthy Start Eligibility FAQs

Are you interested in Healthy Start but you don’t know if you are eligible?

We provide free, confidential, professional help and support for pregnant women and new families regardless of income or insurance status.

There are THREE ways to get into Healthy Start:

  1. Screening IniStock_000007096555XSmall

At your first appointment with your doctor or midwife, you will be offered the Healthy Start Prenatal Screen. It’s a quick and simple form with 16 questions. After your baby is born your hospital, birthing center, or midwife will offer you a similar screen the Healthy Start Infant Screen.

Your doctor or midwife will add up your score and let you know what it is. If your score is high (6 or over for prenatal, 4 or over for infant) you will be offered a referral to Healthy Start.

What does this mean?

It means that according to your answers you or your baby could benefit from FREE services that Healthy Start offers. All of our services are high quality and offered by trained professionals. Participation is voluntary, you can change your mind at any time.

  1. Referral

If you do not have a high score on your screen you may still be eligible for FREE, high quality services through Healthy Start. Your doctor, midwife, or other health professional, can refer you for confidential Healthy Start Services. Ask them if we can help you!

  1. Contacting Us

Even if you do not have a high score on the screen and are not eligible through your doctor or midwife, you can still contact us! We can answer your questions about Healthy Start or discuss your eligibility for services. Call us at 941-861-2905 to talk to someone who can confidentially discuss your needs.

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Breastfeeding in Sarasota

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding Week Blog Hop where we connect with blogs throughout our community all discussing one of our favorite topics: breastfeeding. At the bottom of our post you will find a variety of links for participating blogs, each covering a different aspect of breastfeeding.


Just in time for World Breastfeeding Week (August 1st – 7th), the Centers for Disease Control released the 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card. This annual report shows breastfeeding rates by state for various indicators including at specific points in time, number of support personnel, state child care regulations, supplementation, and more. While this report shows a general increase in rates throughout the US and Florida, rates for our state fall behind national averages for most areas. Locally the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. conducts a semi-annual Breastfeeding Survey. The results show that Sarasota County exceeds Florida and US rates for each indicator measured. Eighty-eight percent of Sarasota County moms are breastfeeding, while the rate for Florida is 77%, and the US is 79%.

Why is this? The answer is as complex as the question is simple. Breastfeeding is a community effort; moms and babies do not live in isolation. The community must support breastfeeding in order for breastfeeding rates to rise and Sarasota County does an outstanding job. From our birthing centers and hospital, to support groups and agencies, we have a variety of support available – most at no or little cost!

Another way is through the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County (BASC), an active taskforce of breastfeeding professionals, local healthcare providers, and community members. This group works to ensure that there are no gaps in the system of care that breastfeeding mothers receive and, if there are, they work to find solutions to these issues.

If would like more information on free breastfeeding support, BASC, or to find out what you can do to support breastfeeding in our community, please contact the Healthy Start Coalition at 941.373.7070 or email

The 2014 Breastfeeding Survey of Sarasota County will be available on our website once the report has been compiled. For more information on the CDC’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report please go to:


Please visit our partnering blogs for the World Breastfeeding Week Blog Hop!

Butterfly Birth

The Kelly Twins: From Pregnancy to Insanity

Knight Party of 4

Diary of a Lactation Failure


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