July 26, 2017
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week the week of August 1 – 7. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies.
What babies are fed in the first few days and months of their lives can have long-term consequences. Breastfeeding during the first six months is the best way to reduce acute and chronic health conditions, however, too many mothers lack the support they need to breastfeed such as private places to nurse or pump in the workplace.
The many benefits of breastfeeding include healthier babies, reducing the risk of developing infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), stronger bones, fewer problems with weight, less risk of cancer, cost effective, more bonding time with mother and infant, better healing post delivery, and beyond.
“Breastfeeding is essential for babies and nursing mothers,” said Diane Hill, director of maternal child health at West Hills Hospital. “It can provide up to 100 percent of nutrients and antibodies to infants that formula can’t, and we always try to encourage our patients to breastfeed if they can. Our wonderful nursing staff is available at all times to answer any questions or assist nursing moms, as well as our lactation consultants to uplift and provide expertise. We want to ensure that new moms have the best care possible and enable breastfeeding success.”
In honor of celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, West Hills Hospital will be opening a lactation room for its employees. The lactation room will provide an area for breastfeeding employees to pump with privacy while at work. Breastfeeding benefits employers as breastfeeding results in increased productivity, and fewer days of missed work to care for sick children. The room will include a sink and a comfortable chair to sit, relax and pump.
At West Hills Hospital, there are three lactation consultants who are a part of the overall breastfeeding and lactation program. Each month, they host a free monthly breastfeeding class where expectant mothers are encouraged to attend as well as husbands or support persons. It’s a three and a half hour class taught by one of the certified lactation educators. Attendees learn the best ways for latching, introduction to different holds, and ways new moms can access lactation consultants and support. Additionally, West Hills Hospital offers breastfeeding chat groups every Monday where mothers gather to share and support each other in their breastfeeding journey.