Did you know that if every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for the first six months of life and continued to breastfeed until age 2, about 800,000 children’s lives would be saved every year? This information from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that breast milk is the best milk for babies, and Porter Regional Hospital agrees.
“Without a doubt, breastfeeding is the best thing for the mother, the baby and the world,” shares Aleda Waggoner, one of Porter’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants.
To bring attention to the benefits of breastfeeding and to support and encourage mothers in achieving their breastfeeding goals, Porter recognizes National Breastfeeding Month in August.
Breastfeeding is recommended for babies for many reasons and yields health benefits that can last a lifetime. Research from the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative suggests breastfed babies have lower risks for allergies and asthma, obesity, respiratory infections, and Type 1 and 2 diabetes. Other benefits of breastfeeding include providing the nutrients only found in breast milk, being more cost-effective than formula and it decreasing the mothers’ risk of some cancers and other diseases. Premature infants need their mothers’ milk to help protect their fragile bodies, Waggoner adds.
Porter is recognized as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana. Hospitals that receive this designation follow evidence-based practices of care and offer programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA.
“In addition to all the health benefits, there’s the skin-to-skin contact and the additional bonding breastfeeding provides between mother and child. It’s just fabulous,” says Waggoner, who urges expectant parents to enroll in childbirth education classes to prepare for their new bundle of joy. “New parents are much more confident about caring for and breastfeeding their babies once they’ve taken these types of classes.”
Porter offers a variety of childbirth education classes that cover all aspects of pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, newborn care and sibling classes. The free, two-hour breastfeeding class is offered monthly and focuses on the benefits and how to get started. Porter also offers a monthly support group for breastfeeding moms to share their experiences.
“Everyone expects that breastfeeding is a natural process, but they don’t think about how medications or a difficult labor can come in to play,” Waggoner says. “I’m here to help them while they are in hospital, but also after they go home as well.”
Waggoner says there are many ways to support mothers and babies who breastfeed, and everyone plays a role. “I love for dads (or support people) to come to class. You’ll remember things, they’ll remember things and together you’ll remember lots of things.”
For more information about Porter’s expectant parent education classes and breastfeeding support group, visit PorterHealth.com
Porter Health Care System has two hospital campuses and seven outpatient facilities serving Porter, Lake, LaPorte, Starke and Jasper counties. With more than 350 physicians representing 50 medical specialties, Porter Health Care System is committed to medical excellence and personalized, patient-centered care. Porter is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.