St. Mary Medical Center and the Northwest Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition are sponsoring a “Nursing Mothers’ Nook” for breastfeeding mothers at the Lake County Fair from August 2-11, 2013. The “Nook” will offer mothers a cool, comfortable and private place to nurse their infants. Staff from coalition member organizations will be present each day including International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC). The “Nook” will be located in the south east corner of the 4-H Building.
In addition to St. Mary Medical Center, coalition member helping to staff the Lake County Fair “Nook” include: Community Hospital, Munster; Community Care Network’s Innovative Women’s Health; the Franciscan Alliance St. Anthony, Crown Point; North Shore Health Centers; Medela; WIC Food and Nutrition program; and Fagan Pharmacy.
The Nursing Mothers’ Nook at the Lake County Fair is part of a larger community initiative to encourage breastfeeding of infants during their first year of age, as well as community support of breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers’ breastfeed their infants exclusively for the first 6 months and then continue to breastfeed until the baby’s first birthday.
“Many new moms stop breastfeeding when their baby is between 6-12 weeks old,” says Diane Gora, RN, certified lactation consultant at St. Mary Medical Center. “One reason they quit so early is because they return to work where, often, there is no lactation support. With the cooperation of area businesses, the Coalition will strive to provide breastfeeding support through the development of work site lactation programs. Supportive employers provide mothers more opportunities to continue breastfeeding, and when given the right support, they are more likely to continue throughout the baby’s first year of life.”
According to Gora, women who breastfeed, lower their risks of breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers. They are also less likely to experience post-partum depression, and are more likely to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. Studies show that babies who are breastfed an entire year experience less health issues later in life, such as obesity, diabetes, childhood leukemia, digestive disorders, ear infections, and pneumonia .
In support of the Northwest Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition, St. Mary Medical Center recently sponsored the opening of a Lactation Station at the Hobart Chamber of Commerce building, located at 1001 Lillian Street in Hobart. The station is staffed with a certified lactation consultant and/or counselor and is open to nursing mothers from 1:30 – 3 pm on the first and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Pregnant and nursing moms can just drop-in, no appointments are necessary.
Funds to support the development of the Northwest Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition, the Nursing Mothers’ Nook and the Lactation Station are made available through a grant awarded to St. Mary Medical Center and 12 other agencies throughout the state earlier this year. The grant was made available from the Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana Perinatal Network for the purpose of promoting community support of breastfeeding and improving access to breastfeeding assistance beyond hospital discharge.
The Northwest Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition is currently seeking local organizations, businesses, and individuals to become members. For more information about the Northwest Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition, or about related Perinatal class offerings at St. Mary Medical Center call 219-947-6084 or visit www.comhs.org.
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