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Join us for a special Preemie Chat during Breastfeeding Week on August 4th hosted by Leah Whitehead! Registration opens on July 21st.



Discover the power of colostrum, the golden ticket to optimizing preemie health. Learn how this unique substance, with its amniotic fluid-like properties and essential growth and immune factors, protects vulnerable preterm infants in their critical first days of life.


Hear from the Lactation Support Team at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario), who will discuss their dedication to supporting lactating families, especially those in the NICU. They will explore how the program assists families with feeding goals, milk stimulation, and colostrum collection, as well as following their journey from admission to discharge.Hear inspiring stories of success and challenges along the way.



In addition, Daina, a mother of four and a preemie breastfeeding advocate, will share her personal experience of pumping for her premature baby, Timothy. Discover how she overcame obstacles during Timothy's 108-day NICU stay and achieved a successful breastfeeding journey, including her remarkable donation of 30 litres of breast milk to other families in need.


Don't miss Lisa Naylor's enlightening discussion on the importance of breast milk donation, raising awareness, and increasing donor support. Join us on August 4th for an empowering Preemie Chat that celebrates the strength of breastfeeding and its

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Dr. Rebecca Hoban:  Colostrum: A golden ticket to optimize preemie health



Dr. Rebecca Hoban is a neonatologist and Director of Breastfeeding Medicine at SickKids, and Associate Professor at University of Toronto. Dr. Hoban graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s, neonatology fellowship at Tufts, and a MPH at Harvard before joining Chicago’s Rush Medical Center. Dr. Hoban transitioned to the Hospital for Sick Children/Sickkids in 2017, where her focus is human milk. Current projects include improving human milk provision in high-risk neonatal populations, milk biomarkers to predict lactation success, inflammatory markers in human milk, and human milk as potential stem cell therapy for intraventricular hemorrhage.

Dr. Lars Bode

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Dr. Lars Bode is Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology and the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, the Larsson-Rosenquist Chair of Collaborative Human Milk Research, and the founding Director of the Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence (MOMI CORE) and the new Human Milk Institute (HMI) at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Bode received both his Master of Science and PhD degree in Nutritional Sciences from the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany and completed a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, United Kingdom in 2003. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, Dr. Bode joined the University of California, San Diego, in 2009.

Currently, Dr. Bode is leading a research program dedicated to research on breastfeeding and human milk in general and Human Milk Oligosaccharides in particular. Dr. Bode’s main research objectives are to elucidate (i) how milk components are synthesized in the mother’s mammary gland, (ii) how milk composition is affected by external factors such as nutrition, pathogens, or medications, (iii) how milk components affect immediate as well as long-term health and development of infants and mothers, and (iv) how they can serve as natural templates for the development of preventatives, therapeutics, and diagnostics for people of all ages.

Dr. Bode has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles on human milk oligosaccharides and in 2022, he ranked in the top 0.1% of most highly cited scientists in the world.

Jennifer Dion:  The Lactation Support Team at CHEO for the Premature Baby

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Jennifer Dion is a Registered Nurse with 10 years of experience who specializes in NICU and has a passion for lactation as medicine. Jennifer has a BScN from Laurentian University and a post-graduate certification in critical care.  Jennifer is an International Board-certified lactation consultant at CHEO and is committed to the growth of the program to encompass evidence-based practice, inclusive and family centered care for our community. Jennifer’s areas of interest include oral immune therapy as prophylactic treatment for the premature infant, cow’s milk protein intolerance and the care of the family as an extension to the care of the baby.  Jennifer is very excited to be a part of the ever-growing CHEO Lactation Support Team and is eager to expand the role to reach all lactating families in our community.  


Alanna Lakoff:  The Lactation Support Team at CHEO for the Premature Baby

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Alanna Lakoff has 16 years of nursing experience in primary care, pediatrics, and NICU nursing. She has a BSc in Biology (University of Ottawa), a BScN in Nursing (York University), an MSc in Nutritional Sciences (University of Toronto) and a post-graduate certificate in perinatal intensive care nursing. Alanna had significant involvement over the last nine years as an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant on infant nutrition QI projects and regional-level leadership initiatives, including co-chairing for the Baby-Friendly Initiative Ontario. Alanna teaches nursing at Loyalist College, and her interests include human milk fortification and family togetherness (zero separation). She is committed to evidence-informed best practices that reflect the diverse backgrounds in our communities. Alanna is thrilled and grateful to be part of the CHEO lactation team. She is the proud Mama of three girls born at the IWK in Halifax.

Daina MacLellan (parent):  Pumping for Breastfeeding a Preemie

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Daina is a 35 year old mother of 4 children. Her youngest baby, Timothy, was born at 28 weeks due to preterm membrane rupture and placental abruption. He weighed 3lbs, which Daina was told is heavy for a 28 weeker. For the first couple of days, Timothy received donor milk. As soon as Daina was able, she started pumping her milk for him. 11 months later they are still enjoying a breastfeeding journey. It has not always been an easy one, and Timothy struggled greatly to be able to eat on his own. After 108 days in the NICU and many other hurdles, he mastered it and was able to come home. Daina was also able to donate 30 litres of her milk to two other families who needed help.

Lisa Naylor (parent):  How and why I donated my breast milk and why it's so important to increase awareness and continuously gain more donors.

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Lisa is the mother of Everely, a  two year old who was born at 27 weeks. Because of the emergency C-Section she had, Lisa was not able to produce milk for her daughter immediately, and the baby received donor milk in the first hours after birth. But just after two days, Lisa was producing  more milk than Everely needed. She ended up buying a six foot deep freezer to store her unused milk and donating more than 101 litres. Mother and daughter spent 79 days in the NICU and Lisa believes human milk helped save her micro-preemie’s life.


Lisa is now an advocate for the British Columbia Provincial Milk Bank which she helps in campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of milk donation.

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