We Love Our Animal Babies, Too!

Isolette in new home at the zoo.

The pictures show the zoo’s lab/nursery where the isolette will live and a stuffed animal as a prop to show off the zoo’s newly acquired item.

On Sept. 1, 2016, the Overlake Medical Center NICU donated an older isolette to the Seattle Woodland Park Zoo. (An isolette is an incubator for premature infants, and since we recently upgraded ours, we had one to donate). The zoo will use it the same way we did —to keep small ones warm when they can’t maintain their temperature. Rita, a longtime NICU nurse who recently retired, gave zookeepers directions on how to use the isolette properly. We have a promise from the zoo that they will send us a picture when they put an actual baby animal in the isolette. We can hardly wait!

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Ava’s Birthday Gifts

Ava's Birthday GiftsLast month, NICU graduate Ava returned to Overlake Medical Center to celebrate her 10th birthday.  She brought 25 gift bags to be handed out to our current NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) patients’ mothers. Each gift bag came with a note from Ava that read:

“On July 25, 2006, I was born at Overlake Hospital and I spent the first two weeks of my life here in the NICU. I know that it is difficult when you have a baby in the hospital and so to celebrate my 10th birthday I wanted to do something special. I hope you will enjoy this bag that will have some essentials you might need. I had many friends and family donate and I want you to know that we are thinking of you. With love, Ava” (She signed each one.)

It brought a big smile to Ava’s beautiful face to personally give a bag to the mothers who were here when she visited; they, too, were touched by her generosity.

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Save the Date for the 2016 NICU Reunion

The Overlake NICU staff is busy planning the 4th Annual NICU Reunion. It will be held Sunday, September 18, 2016, from 1 – 4 p.m. We all look forward to seeing our graduates with their parents and siblings!!!

Please join us for a little food, lots of fun and renewed friendships!!

NICU - heart-small


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Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

intl_india_andrea_Gore2_103_4x3-breastfeeding-momAugust 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week, which provides a great opportunity to celebrate and consider the myriad advantages of breastfeeding.

Did you know breastfeeding benefits the baby, mom and society? Here are just a few benefits to breastfeeding, according to Womenshealth.gov:

  • Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of a number of health conditions, including asthma, obesity, ear infections and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Moms who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiac disease, certain types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding saves money. Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations, and you don’t have to purchase their meals at the store.
  • Breastfeeding is better for the environment. Formula cans and bottle supplies create more trash and plastic waste. Your milk is a renewable resource that comes packaged and warmed.

If you or someone you know needs help breastfeeding, contact Overlake Mom & Baby Care Center Lactation Line: 425.688.5516.

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Helping Children Create a Positive Relationship With Food

The development of lifelong eating habits begins in infancy. Children who have a positive relationship with food struggle less with poor food choices and body image concerns.  The Division of Responsibility is an approach to raising healthy eaters developed by Ellyn Satter, a renowned Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Therapist.

The Division of Responsibility is tailored to a child’s developmental stage. Parents and children are responsible for different aspects of feeding, and children assume more responsibility as they age. Infants choose feeding times and volumes, while parents select breast milk or formula. Parents of toddlers are responsible for offering balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals, and the child is allowed to determine what food items they would like and how much. In addition to giving children autonomy of choice, Satter also recommends occasionally offering chips and sweets to prevent children from prioritizing them over other foods.

Satter’s approach to feeding capitalizes on children’s innate ability to regulate their food intake and gradually accept new foods. Studies have shown some infants adjust how much formula they drink depending on the calorie concentration. The higher the calories, the less volume they take in. On average, children must be exposed to a new food 10 times before they will choose to taste it, and possibly a few more times before they accept it. The process is slow, but when children experiment with new foods at their own pace they develop a positive relationship with food and gravitate toward balanced meals.

Whether you are just starting to plan your approach to feeding, or are currently embroiled in conflict at the dinner table, Ellyn Satter has a multitude of resources to help. Free information is available through The Ellyn Satter Institute.

Other good resources include Fearless Feeding and Creating Healthy Eaters.

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We’re updating our space!

We always want the very best for our patients and their families–you deserve it! That’s why we are updating the entire Childbirth Center with new flooring, new paint, new fixtures and a remodeled lobby.

We are working on the unit in sections, so if you are visiting us within the next two months, you may notice some parts of the floor look different from others. So far, we’ve completed the lobby renovation and a couple of the patient hallways. In these next several months we will continue the updates.  The contrast between old and new is easy to see, and we’re so pleased with the fresh new look. We hope you like it, too.

Thank you for your patience during this project that will last until October. Overlake remains committed to your experience throughout this renovation, while also building toward the upcoming Project FutureCARE and an entirely new Childbirth Center in 2020.


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Pelvic Floor Therapy

You may have heard about or even experienced physical therapy (PT) for back, shoulder, knee and foot issues, but have you heard of PT for your pelvic floor?

Many women suffer from pelvic floor pain after giving birth. Some women have pain even before they get pregnant. Injury to the pelvic floor muscle can lead to leaking of urine, feces or pelvic joint pain over a period of time.

Your Pelvic Floor – Why it Might Hurt

Your pelvic floor consists of the group of muscles between your hips, which cradle your bladder, uterus and rectum. After giving birth, those muscles are sometimes injured or torn and can be tender. Pain in this area can also be from spasms and scarring following birth. Additionally, women may also experience pain during sex.

Pelvic Floor Therapy to the Rescue

The good news is that there are trained PT professionals—pelvic floor therapists—who specifically treat pelvic floor dysfunction including pain in the vagina, leaking and pelvic joint problems (also known as pelvic girdle pain). A pelvic floor therapist can help you stay healthy and pain-free before, during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, she can treat pelvic, back, shoulder and foot pain. Some women see a pelvic floor therapist during late pregnancy for help stretching the pelvic floor muscles in preparation for birth.

Therapy treatments vary based on your particular circumstances. You may only need pelvic floor exercises (often called Kegel exercises), which often require specialized instruction to be done correctly. Or, treatment can be much more extensive, including pelvic floor massage and pelvic girdle joint treatment using various PT techniques. More advanced treatment, especially if you have sexual pain, involves working with you and your partner to help reduce sexual pain to meet your intimacy goals.

Finding Help

If you think you would benefit from pelvic floor therapy, ask your health care provider for a referral. Overlake has several  physical therapists trained as pelvic floor therapists who can help.

You might also consider taking a Pelvic Floor Fitness class geared specifically for expectant and new moms. For more information, contact Family & Community Education at 425.688.5259 or send an email.

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Team Overlake Raised Nearly $28,000 for March of Dimes

March for Babies_Team PhotoThe 2016 March for Babies walk proved to be one of the best yet, with more than 100 members of Team Overlake in attendance in their pink shirts and sunglasses. This year’s team pulled together to raise nearly $28,000 for March of Dimes research, which focuses on maternal
health, preventing premature birth and supporting babies in NICU. Led by the Childbirth Center, Overlake has supported March of Dimes for the last four years, and was the top area fundraising team in 2015. Donations are still being counted, but as of this writing, Overlake is poised to be top area fundraiser again in 2016.

Thank you to each and every person who supported us this year!

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Delayed Cord Clamping at Birth

In recent years, there has been ongoing debate regarding the optimal time to clamp the umbilical cord at birth. The current practice at many centers in the United States is to immediately clamp the umbilical cord at time of delivery. However, numerous studies have demonstrated safety and advantages to delayed cord clamping (DCC), a practice endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion statement published in 2012, which recommended DCC in preterm neonates, when feasible. In term infants, DCC is typically considered clamping 60 seconds after birth, typically at 1 to 3 minutes after delivery. In preterm infants, DCC is considered clamping between 30 to 60 seconds after birth. When DCC is performed, a newborn receives a placental blood transfusion that may increase their blood volume by up to 40%. Over time, this transfused volume of red blood cells naturally gets broken down, leaving iron for the body to use by developing cells. In the brain, iron is essential for normal development and is important in helping form the insulating sheaths around nerve fibers, a process called myelination, which increases the speed at which nerve impulses travel.

Based on multiple randomized controlled trials, there are many potential advantages to performing DCC compared to immediate cord clamping in preterm babies, including decreased overall mortality, blood transfusion incidence and the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage. DCC reduces the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage by nearly 50%, thereby preventing one case of intraventricular hemorrhage for every 15 neonates treated.  While more studies are needed to better understand the long-term impact of DCC on neurodevelopment, emerging studies continue to demonstrate safety of this natural and cost-effective practice.

As part of the birth plan, I encourage all parents to discuss with our obstetricians and midwives how to optimize their birth experience, which should include a conversation discussing the possibility of performing DCC to promote the benefits of placental transfusion for their baby.


1. Committee on Obstetric Practice American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee opinion no. 543: timing of umbilical cord clamping after birth. Obstet Gynecol. 2012; 120(6): 1522–1526.

2. Backes CH, Rivera BK, Haque U, et al.  Placental transfusion strategies in very preterm neonates: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;124(1):47-56.


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Poem for Parents: The Last Time

This poem has been around for years. The author is unknown, but the thoughts and feelings are timeless.

The Last Time
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
You will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feeding and burping,
Whining and fighting,
Naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget…
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby
for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip,
then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.
One afternoon you will sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’
and do all the actions,
Then you’ll never sing that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your
last dirty face.
They will one day run to you with arms raised,
for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
until there are no more times, and even then,
it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them and
when they are gone,
you will yearn for just one more day of them

For one last time.

– Author Unknown

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