August is National Breastfeeding Month — a yearly event when advocates work to empower women to try breastfeeding their newborn babies. But while breastfeeding may be natural, it’s not always easy for every new mom. LG Health is focused on education and support.

This month, Healthy Beginnings Plus (HBP) and Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) celebrate Breastfeeding Month with their new mothers and babies. Low income mothers are supported after the baby is born by attending the HBP and NFP free Baby Weigh Station. The group is led by Sue Ellen Harris, BSN, IBCLC, and Beth Russell, BSN, IBCLC; both are certified lactation consultants.  The group provides support and education, and it offers the mothers the ability to weigh their babies.  The babies’ weight gain fosters confidence in the breastfeeding experience.  The initiation rate of breastfeeding among members of HBP and NFP is almost 80 percent.

Lancaster General Women & Babies Hospital is the first hospital in Pennsylvania to achieve Baby-Friendly® designation—an international award recognizing birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills they need to successfully start and continue breastfeeding their babies. 

A free baby weigh station is open to the public at WBH’s first floor conference room the second and fourth Friday of every month from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.  Group discussions on topics relevant to new parents are facilitated by a group leader from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Newborns and infants, up to one year of age, are welcome. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, please call Mary Steffy at 717-544-4308 or mlsteffy@LGHealth.org

Mom Chelsea Druck and daughter Candace, Sue Ellen Harris, BSN, IBCLC, Tiffany Kyte and son Bryson.

Breast milk provides infants with all the nutrients they need to grow and contains antibodies to protect babies from illness.  Breastfeeding also helps mother’s health by lowering her risk of Type II Diabetes, certain types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  A recent study adds one more item to the already long list of benefits of breastfeeding: babies who are breastfed have lower arsenic exposure than formula-fed babies.

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