April 22, 2011
Fort HealthCare’s breastfeeding initiation rate averages 87 percent, compared to the national average of only 67 percent. In addition, the five-week post-delivery rate shows 82 percent of moms are still breastfeeding, while the national average drops to nearly 30 percent. Breastfeeding provides immediate and lifelong health benefits, for mom and baby.
“Our lactation program is among the best programs in the state. The commitment to help these families through a challenging transition, and establish successful breastfeeding, serves our mission to improve the health and well-being of our community,” remarked Deb Schumacher, manager of OB.
Breastfeeding education is offered as part of Fort HealthCare’s childbirth preparation class. Following birth, every breastfeeding mom and baby are seen daily while they are patients in the hospital. “We like to observe the infants during feedings so we can anticipate and prevent difficulties,” said Beverly Haferman, RN and lactation coordinator.
All infants, who are cared for by Fort HealthCare pediatricians, return to lactation services within a few days of discharge for monitoring of weight and physical condition. In addition, “We call all breastfeeding mothers at regular intervals to check-in and offer support,” added Haferman. Two to five weeks post-delivery, babies go through growth spurts, so mothers are contacted again to check progress and discuss concerns about pumping and returning to work. If a mom and/or baby are struggling with breastfeeding, referrals are typically made to the Fort HealthCare lactation program, including babies delivered elsewhere.
Haferman adds, “Breastfeeding can be a challenge, but we can help parents by giving them the education, reassurance and hands-on assistance they need to make their experience a positive one.”
For more information on the Great Expectations Birthing Center, Fort HealthCare obstetricians or breastfeeding, visit FortHealthCare.com/Baby.