MARYVILLE, Mo. — August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville is reminding families, friends and employers, as well as the community, of the health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby.
As part of this month's celebration, the hospital donated four books to the Maryville Public library, two that provide resources for mothers to help them prepare and troubleshoot breastfeeding issues, and two — in English and Spanish — for soon-to-be big siblings to help them understand nursing.
This year's theme “Support Changes Everything,” focuses on the importance of supporting all members of a breastfeeding family and advocating for breastfeeding-supportive environments in and around local communities.
“It's really hard to list or quantify the life-saving and monetary benefits of breastfeeding,” said Caitlin Korthanke, lactation consultant at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville, said in a statement. “Ultimately, our whole community benefits from having healthier mothers, babies and children when breastfeeding is promoted, protected and supported.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding only for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate solid food for the first year and beyond.
“There are ways in which, as a society, we can promote and support breastfeeding parents,” Korthanke added. “Things such as providing enough maternity leave to establish a good breastfeeding relationship and providing time and a clean and private space to pump when returning to work, help to make new moms supported as they learn to balance their home life with returning to work.”
One of the most important things businesses and the community can do, the hospital said, is allow mothers to feel comfortable nursing in public. By posting a “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” sign and educating staff on the acceptance of breastfeeding, an establishment can take a big step in making nursing mothers feel welcome and comfortable.
“The hospital was great when I was pumping,” said Taylor Spire of Maryville in a press release. “I was always allowed to use triage in ER and if we were busy I usually went to OB or the floor. I rarely missed a pumping session.”
Andrea Pierce, Maryville, said, “During the Nodaway County Fair, the Rose Theatre set up a nursing-friendly air-conditioned room for mothers to use. It was a Godsend! They even handed out popsicles and water to us and my kiddos!”
“While I worked at a bank, my bosses were fantastic with helping me get away to pump,” said Haley Ridge, Maryville. “My fellow associates were also very willing to cove for me each time I needed to pump.”
For patients at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville, information about breastfeeding is shared prenatally, and a lactation consultant will visit with new mothers each day following delivery. Mothering Mondays, a free social group for new and expecting moms, is also offered from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the hospital's board room.
More information about breastfeeding, family-friendly and supportive work environments, and how to support breastfeeding families, contact lactation consultants Caitlin Korthanke or Emily Gockel at Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville at 660-562-5906.