(7/31/12) - The first week in August every year is celebrated around the world as World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding is considered the "gold standard" among medical professionals and researchers. The benefits of breastfeeding not only immediately affect each baby in the most critical hours after birth, but also stay with the child through the rest of their life.
McLeod offers breastfeeding support to new moms through the McLeod Lactation Team and the McLeod Resource Center.
The McLeod Lactation Team is composed of six caring and wonderful women who help moms have a positive and healthy breastfeeding experience every day at McLeod Regional Medical Center. Each member of the McLeod Lactation Team is a Registered Nurse who is highly skilled and certified and specifically trained to meet the needs of breastfeeding mothers and their families.
The team consists of two Lactation Educators and four International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC). The IBCLC certification is the gold standard in Lactation Consultant certification, and is acquired by achieving extensive experience with breastfeeding women, participating in continuous ongoing breastfeeding education, and passing the rigorous IBCLC exam. The consultants complete ongoing training and renew their status every five years. These McLeod specialists provide the most up-to-date and medically sound advice to breastfeeding mothers.
The Lactation Consultants are available to patients during their stay at McLeod Regional Medical Center. Using the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, as well as the International Lactation Consultant Association's Evidenced-Based Guidelines for Breastfeeding Management, new mothers are assisted with breastfeeding and taught what to expect during the first few weeks. These women also encourage moms to call with any questions or concerns after discharge, and make a call back to breastfeeding moms within the first 10 days to follow up with mother and baby and offer assistance if needed.
McLeod is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week in a variety of ways. Between August 6 and August 17, every mom who buys a Medela Pump in Style Advance or Freestyle breastpump at the McLeod Resource Center will receive a free Medela Calma bottle, and every mom who rents a breast pump for at least 30 days will also receive a free Medela Calma bottle.
In addition, a special meeting of the Night for Expectant Women, a support group for women during pregnancy, will also be held to educate women early in their pregnancies about the benefits of breastfeeding. This group meets monthly at the McLeod Resource Center. At any time during the year, expectant mothers and fathers can attend breastfeeding classes taught by the McLeod Lactation Team.
The McLeod Resource Center is a hub of information for expectant women, new parents and any patients seeking health information for their families. Outpatient lactation consultations for new mothers are available at the McLeod Resource Center one day a week and all maternity education is coordinated through the center. It is also the site of a breastfeeding boutique that sells Medela breastfeeding and breast care items, including breast pumps for sale and rent. The breastfeeding boutique is open Monday through Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. The Resource Center is located on the McLeod campus, in the Levy House behind the McLeod Pavilion. For more information, please call 777 - 2890, or visit the McLeod Resource Center online at www.mcleodresourcecenter.org.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in more than 120 countries and is organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.
The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be understated; they go beyond the baby to the mother, the family, and the community.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, benefits include:
For the baby: Breastfeeding decreases the possibility that your baby will get a variety of infectious diseases, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and gastrointestinal diseases. Also, the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by over a third in breastfed babies.
For the mother: Breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They also experience less postpartum bleeding, as the hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract.
For the family: Breastfeeding facilitates bonding. Fathers and other children can participate by helping the mother with burping and rocking the baby, and by making sure the mother is eating and drinking enough.
For the community: Breastfeeding is lean, green, and clean. Breastfed babies are at a lower risk of becoming obese children and adults. Breastfeeding won't put a huge dent in your wallet, it saves water, and it doesn't use energy for manufacturing or pollute the environment with garbage or manufacturing air pollution. There is no worry about the risk of contamination from bacteria or other substances. It is always fresh, at the right temperature, and ready to feed.
For more information, please contact the McLeod Resource Center at (843) 777-2890 or visit www.mcleodwomen.org.