Newark-Wayne Community Hospital Rochester Regional Health System’s goal is to provide that safest, healthiest and best birthing experience possible for moms who deliver their babies at the hospital’s Birthing and Women’s Care Center. Studies have shown that breastfeeding is crucial in providing both a healthier start and also contributes to life-long health; studies also demonstrate that not breastfeeding increases serious health risks for both mothers and babies.* For these reasons, the hospital has been actively working to increase its exclusive breastfeeding rates (no other supplemental food is given) for more than three years. The Birthing Center, together with with the medical practices serving its patients, now has a team of nine Lactation Specialists who are available 24/7 to assist breastfeeding moms in being successful. This step, along with the training of all staff involved with maternity/infant care plus policy and procedures that support breastfeeding, has resulted in an increase of the average rate of exclusive breastfeeding from 48 percent three years ago to the current average rate of 85 percent for 2014.
Breastfeeding until at least age six months is considered the best health option for newborn infants and their mothers; not breastfeeding increases the risks for infections, diarrhea, SIDS, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and childhood leukemia and, and increases the mother’s risk of cardiovascular disease, breast and ovarian cancers and diabetes. Overall, breastfeeding is also good for the United States’ economy. More than $13 billion could be saved annually in the United States by chronic illness prevention caused by increased breastfeeding rates.
Breast milk supplies the perfect combination of nutrients for babies to grow and maintain healthier weights, and for optimal brain development. According to the NYS DOH website, breastfed babies typically score higher on IQ scores than formula-fed babies. Breast milk offers other benefits as well. It helps protect against ear and other infections including gastro-intestinal issues (upset stomach, constipation and diarrhea).** Long-term, breastfeeding helps to bring a mother’s post-baby weight back to normal faster and also protects against cardiovascular disease, the number 1 cause of death in women in the United States. It also prevents allergies, diabetes and cancer in women who breastfeed. On top of all of the health benefits, there is the emotional bond between a mother and baby that is incalculable.
“We want every baby born here to have a healthy start in life and to be healthier throughout their lifetime. That is why we invested so heavily in breastfeeding,” said Cindy Witter, Nurse Manager of the Birthing and Women’s Care Center. “Our work towards increasing breastfeeding rates is finally paying off with most moms now initiating breastfeeding after birth. The Lactation Specialists are here to help them be successful both while they are in the hospital and and once they go home. If moms can be successful for any length of time, babies are healthier and serious, life-long health issues can be prevented. They can help answer questions and provide support to help moms get through the early weeks when breastfeeding can be the most challenging.”
Lactation Consultants for mothers delivering at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital’s (NWCH) Birthing Center include: (Left to right): Julia Laco, MS, RN, CLC, NWCH Birthing Center; Jessica Frazo, PNP, CLC, Finger Lakes Medical Associates (FLMA); Ashley Walters MA, CLC, Rochester General Medical Group (RGMG); Rebecca Surgoine, RN, IBCLC, NWCH Birthing Center; Kristin Brandt, MS, CPNP, IBCLC, RGMG; Sharise Cummings, CLC, FLMA; Mary Clyde, IBCLC, FLMA. Not present for photo: Sara Braren, RN, CLC, IBCLC, NWCH Birthing Center; Kathleen Hausman, CNM, RGMG