World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1st –7th. The focus of this week is on encouraging breastfeeding and improving the health of babies around the world – a focus Newman Regional Health is particularly passionate about.
Gina Slayden, RN and Lactation Consultant at Newman Regional Health, has spent years educating mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. She shares some reasons breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers, babies and the community as a whole.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding is a wonderful way for mothers and babies to bond.
- Breast milk is loaded with antibodies to help babies fight off viruses and bacteria.
- Ideal nutrition. Breast milk contains everything the baby needs for the first six months of life.
- Decreases the risk of cancer for both mother and baby.
- Healthy weight. Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain for babies and helps prevent childhood obesity.
“There are just so, so many things that babies benefit from when given breast milk,” Slayden said. “One of the most amazing things I’ve learned along the way is your body knows your baby, so your body is making milk specific for that baby. Mom’s milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of their baby.”
Newman Regional Health is committed to supporting breastfeeding. The nurses, physicians and lactation consultants start early in pregnancy providing information and educating mothers about breastfeeding. Expecting parents can enroll in the Becoming a Mom Prenatal Class to learn more about breastfeeding and a wealth of other topics related to pregnancy.
Education and support continues through birth and even after mom and baby go home. Slayden and the nurses at the Women’s Life Center work closely with new mothers while in the hospital to help them begin breastfeeding. They are also available to help if mom and baby struggle with breastfeeding at home. Breastfeeding can be challenging which is why it is so important for Slayden to make herself available when moms need help.
“I do sometimes come in on weekends when a mom needs help, or I’ll take calls from moms at home,” Slayden said. “I do it because moms need the support, they need someone to hear them and reassure them and help them a little. If I can take a call or come in and meet with them and it helps that breastfeeding relationship continue, it is worth it. It’s so good for the baby, mom and the community.”
Experts in our Parenting Center provide personal lactation support to help mothers and babies learn to work together to make sure nutritional goals are met – even after you go home. Newman Regional Health employs three International Board Certified Lactation Consultants: Gina Slayden and Amanda Janzen, RN, IBCLC. Slayden is available for private appointments or by attending our Breastfeeding Support Group.
The Newman Regional Health Breastfeeding Support Group meets Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. You can stop by to see how your baby is growing, get breastfeeding support, or just talk with other moms.
“The support group is a good time for moms to visit with one another, get tips from me or other moms and get the reassurance their baby is growing well,” Slayden said.
For more information on the Women’s Life Center at Newman Regional Health, visit them online at https://www.newmanrh.org/services/#womens-life-center or call (620) 343-6800.