by Megan Stevens, DNP, RN-BC, IBCLC
Here at Valley Medical Center, as a Baby Friendly Hospital, we believe breastmilk is the optimal food for infants and support families at all stages to achieve breastfeeding success. Of the patients who deliver at Valley, 95% initiate breastfeeding—a high rate to celebrate, as the national average is around 84%.
Why are we telling you this now?
August is National Breastfeeding Month and throughout the month, each week holds a special celebration of breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding Week occurs annually on the first week of August and represents a global celebration of breastfeeding efforts including breastfeeding promotion, support, education, research, progressive trends and normalizing breastfeeding as the gold standard of infant nutrition.
What else should you know about breastfeeding and Valley’s breastfeeding support?
Breastfeeding has amazing benefits to both the breastfeeding parent and to the baby. For babies, breastfeeding protects against many chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes, and breastfed babies have less ear infections and respiratory illness such as the common cold. Breastfed babies also have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death, also known as SIDS. For the breastfeeding parent, there is a lesser risk of post-partum hemorrhage, certain cancers including breast and ovarian, as well as less diabetes and heart disease.
ALL families have access to lactation support through Valley’s great team of registered nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, credentialed as IBCLC. From prenatal visits to in-hospital care, as well as outpatient appointments, and telemedicine, our consultant team is here seven days a week, 365 days per year to support families in feeding their infants. Support isn’t just limited to those early days after delivery either. We are here throughout our patients’ entire breastfeeding journeys—whether that’s at six months or three or more years! We help with latching or feeding difficulties, pumping, breast or nipple pain, supply concerns, and so much more. Even for those who didn’t deliver at Valley, we will see families located throughout the state. Consultations may be scheduled by calling 425.228.3440, ext. 2526 or visit Lactation Services online and learn more.
Learn more about the challenges and successes of breastfeeding from Valley caregivers:
- Celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month by Sarah Davis, Clinic Supervisor, Kent Primary Care
- Breastfeeding Empowerment by Memorie Gladstone, IMH-E®, CD, CLC Lead Outreach Doula, a member of the Blackfeet tribe
- Overcoming the Challenges of Breastfeeding by Kathrina Chow, RN, IBCLC, a member of the Filipino community
Photo courtesy of World Breastfeeding Week