To celebrate National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children will host a breastfeeding awareness week August 4-8, 2014 at the hospital, located at 160 East Erie Avenue in Philadelphia, PA.
The event will help raise awareness for the importance of breastfeeding and provide helpful information to hospital employees and the community. Throughout the week, tables with informative materials on breastfeeding, staffed by St. Christopher’s employees, will be set up in three locations: the Lower Atrium at the main hospital, in Ambulatory Pediatrics on the first floor of the main hospital, and in the lobby of the Nelson Pavilion, located across the parking lot from the hospital.
St. Christopher’s currently has a hospital-based Breastfeeding Committee comprised of nurses, and Certified Breastfeeding Counselors (CBC). A CBC is a person who receives training and competency verification in breastfeeding, knowledge of milk production, prevention and management of breastfeeding complications, feeding difficulties and handling and storage of breast milk. The group assists mothers who are learning to breastfeed, as well as provides support and education to breastfeeding or pumping mothers and staff.
“Currently, our group sees about 170 newborns per month,” says Deborah Sandrock, MD, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), physician at St. Christopher’s. We assist moms in obtaining personal items to help with breastfeeding and work closely with home care visiting nurses who are involved with our patients. We also have a MILK warmline that provides breastfeeding support to moms if they have questions or concerns between appointments.”
The purpose of the Breastfeeding Committee at St. Christopher’s is to increase the rates of breastfeeding at St. Christopher’s and to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and breastmilk. Lactation Consultant services are a part of outpatient newborn visits for breastfeeding families, as well.
“Breastfeeding may help to lower the risk of SIDS in babies, as well as reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, childhood leukemia, ear infections, obesity and asthma,” says Dr. Sandrock. “Breast milk is also easier to digest than formula and is rich in nutrients and antibodies.”
Dr. Sandrock adds that breastfeeding may also lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression in women.