On August 25 and 26 two new babies arrived at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital just in time to celebrate the last day of Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Both of the brand new moms made the decision to breastfeed their babies long before they arrived.
“It was an easy decision. I knew that breastfeeding was best for the baby and for the mother,” said Jessica Gordon of Lincoln. Gordon had met with a Springfield Clinic lactation counselor prior to giving birth so that she could feel as prepared as possible. Grayson James was born on August 25 weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces and measuring 19 inches. Mom and baby are doing great but like most new moms and babies, they are navigating the first few days of a new routine.
“The nurses have been very supportive,” said Gordon. “We have had some breastfeeding challenges but the nurses are knowledgeable and have been helpful giving us a variety of suggestions to find out what works best for me and Grayson.”
“ALMH is committed through our policies, practices and partnerships to promote breastfeeding,” said Elizabeth Meyrick, ALMH family maternity suites manager. “We work closely with Springfield Clinic to ensure that moms feel prepared to breastfeed before birth. Over half of our family maternity suites colleagues are certified lactation counselors. When the baby arrives, we are able to build on that education and provide the resources and support mothers need for success.”
The very next day, Janessa Merritt of Hopedale gave birth to her baby. Malia Brewer weighed 5 pounds 2 ounces and measured 16 ½ inches. Merritt knew breastfeeding was a priority for her and her new baby.
“My mom breastfed me, my grandma breastfed. It’s something that most of the women in my family have done,” said Merritt. “Breastfeeding is the best thing for both of us so I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my child. It’s the ideal nutrition for the baby and is made specifically for them and what they need.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as the baby grows, the mother’s breast milk changes to meet their nutrition needs. Breast milk can also help protect mother and baby against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, asthma, obesity, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months and then continuing breastfeeding while introducing complementary foods until the child is 12 months or older. The AAP says that this provides ideal nutrition and supports growth and development.
The ALMH Community Health Collaborative has a breastfeeding task force to promote breastfeeding as an evidence-based initiative to improve health outcomes. In Logan County, free “breastfeeding is welcome here” vinyl clings are distributed to any interested community establishment to provide a supportive environment to nursing moms, a breastfeeding support group is hosted weekly, and special gift bags are presented to breastfeeding mothers at ALMH with a variety of helpful items including the latest addition, a pair of socks that say “This is a breastfeeding mom, if you can read this.”
If any business is interested in a vinyl cling to provide a welcoming environment for breastfeeding mothers, contact ALMH community health collaborative director Angela Stoltzenburg at 217-605-5008. Mothers interested in the weekly breastfeeding support group that meets from 11:30am-1pm can contact the ALMH obstetrics department at 217-605-5231.
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital located at 200 Stahlhut Drive in Lincoln, Illinois. ALMH is an affiliate of Memorial Health System. For more information, visit www.ALMH.org.