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Navicent Health Recognizes August as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

In celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, held annually in August, the Family Birth Center at The Medical Center, Navicent Health (FBC) seeks to raise community awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and creating environments conducive for mothers to breastfeed.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, human breast milk is preferred for all infants, including those who are sick or premature. Recent studies have shown that babies who are breastfed exclusively for six months are less likely to develop ear infections, stomach viruses, respiratory illnesses and meningitis. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop illnesses later in life, including childhood obesity, high cholesterol, allergies, diabetes, and childhood cancers. Studies have also shown that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers for the mother, and creates a strong bond between the mother and child.

"When we look at the multiple benefits of breastfeeding for both the infant and the mother, it is easy to see why we should observe this week to highlight the importance of breastfeeding, and renew our commitment to create environments conducive for breastfeeding," said Lori Dorman, Nurse Manager for Labor and Delivery at MCNH.

FBC is committed to encouraging breastfeeding and giving new mothers the tools necessary for success. FBC has earned 4 stars in the Georgia Department of Public Health 5-STAR Initiative, implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as defined by Baby-Friendly USA. While the program at FBC is helpful in establishing good breastfeeding habits, lactation consultant Lee McWilliams points out that a number of factors can contribute to or hinder successful breastfeeding in mothers.

"We provide the tools for successful breastfeeding in the hospital and hope that will carry over once the mother and infant are discharged home. However, many of our mothers struggle with breastfeeding and returning to work. We encourage employers and coworkers to permit new mothers time, space and privacy to nurse or express their breast milk. A good support network is integral to the success of breastfeeding," said McWilliams.

McWilliams also recommends that new mothers do the following:

Check with your insurance provider to ask if breast pumps are covered under your plan.

Begin pumping approximately four weeks after delivery in order to familiarize yourself with the pump and store milk before returning to work.

Purchase extra pump kits so that work time is not used to clean breast pump parts.

In addition to the tools offered after a child's birth, FBC hosts monthly classes for parents-to-be, including breastfeeding classes at no charge. These classes are taught by an internationally board certified lactation consultant who discusses the benefits of breastfeeding and reviews techniques to assist new parents. To learn more about this class and other course offerings for expectant parents, please visit www.navicenthealth.org/pages/beginnings-classesor call 478.633.BABY (2229).

In 2016, The Medical Center, Navicent Health was awarded the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) IBCLC Care Award for providing a lactation program for breastfeeding families. In addition, MCNH demonstrated that is has recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent was incorporated on November 17, 1994, as a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate The Medical Center, Navicent Health and other affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive continuum of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services to the region. Atrium Health Navicent has 970 beds for medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice purposes. The health system includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, a nationally recognized tertiary teaching hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin and Medical Center of Peach County, Atrium Health Navicent, both rural hospitals; Rehabilitation Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, the region's oldest and most experienced rehabilitation provider; Pine Pointe, Atrium Health Navicent, which provides palliative and hospice care in homes and in its facility; Carlyle Place, Atrium Health Navicent, the area's first continuing care retirement community; Navicent Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Atrium Health Navicent; as well as diagnostic and home care services. For more information, please visit www.navicenthealth.org.


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