August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and Memorial Hospital’s Family Birthing Center wants the public to know what it’s doing to support moms and babies in making breastfeeding as easy and accessible as possible.
Michelle Meader, RNC CLC took on the role as the lead facilitator of the weekly Breastfeeding Support Group last year. Meader, a Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Counselor, has been with the Family Birthing Center since 2014.
Ten years ago, the popular group was started by Heather Wasuta, a lactation counselor who worked in the Family Birthing Center. Since then, the group has evolved into an ongoing support network that includes seasonal get-togethers and many lifelong friendships.
Last year, Wasuta moved from the area and Meader has taken over what she says is “an especially rewarding” role. “I love my job and what I do,” Meader said when she took on the role.
“I think it’s really important to empower new moms so they feel confident that they can be successful at breastfeeding. We want them to know about their choices as well as the benefits of breastfeeding,” she said.
Before coming to Memorial, Meader was director of childbirth and lactation education at Littleton Hospital from 2011 to 2014. In her current role, she’s working with all of Memorial’s OB RNs who are Certified Lactation Counselors to continue the success of the program.
“Memorial is fortunate to have many nurses on staff with extensive breastfeeding training and certifications,” shared Memorial’s Family Birthing Center’s Leigh Copsey, RN, BSN, RNC-OB, CLC
National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight the latest research about breastfeeding. Family Birthing Center manager Kris Dascoulias, RN, said the department is extremely proud of their 98% breastfeeding initiation rate.
“Breastfeeding is the first choice of nutrition for a baby. We start by introducing the subject during prenatal classes. There’s a special class dedicated to this one topic,” Dascoulias said. “Then, within 24 hours of mom’s hospital admission, we’ve developed an individual lactation care plan with her.”
Although general recommendations are for six months to a year of breastfeeding, Dascoulias says any amount of time offers significant benefits for the newborn. “There are important immune protective factors for the baby as well as increased bonding with mom.”
The support group is “a wonderful free community service,” Dascoulias said. “Even if you choose not to breastfeed, it’s open to all new moms.”
The Breastfeeding Support Group, which meets every Wednesday at 10 am at the Main Street Professional Building, two buildings south of the hospital. Babies and siblings are welcome, and the OB staff is always available by phone to answer questions.
For more information about birthing services at Memorial Hospital, call 356-4949 Ext. 2146 or visit the hospital’s website, MemorialHospitalNH.org or click here >