August 8, 2011— In response to the recent Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia took part in an international effort to educate professionals and the public about the importance of giving every child the best possible start in life — by breastfeeding newborns for the first six months after delivery. The annual campaign is celebrated August 1-7 in more than170 countries worldwide.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action established this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme, "Talk to Me!" The theme stresses the necessity of communicating with multiple audiences with varied demographics including family, friends, clinicians and policymakers with a special emphasis to include cross-generational and cross-gender messages.
CHOP-sponsored activities during Breastfeeding Awareness Week
Children’s Hospital’s efforts included a grand rounds on the latest breastfeeding research and a hospital-wide poster competition where more than 15 inpatient units prepared posters to educate both staff and families how to best support breastfeeding mothers.
In addition, Children’s Hospital, along with the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, co-sponsored the "Latch On America" national bus tour from Milk for Thought, an organization that aims to empower pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, to stop in Philadelphia during World Breastfeeding Week.
Support helps nursing mothers to breastfeed more successfully
"Research has shown that a mother’s success rate can be greatly improved through action and support from those closest around her and from society itself." explained Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, a nurse researcher, director of the Breastfeeding and Lactation Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the regional organizer for the Philadelphia "Latch On America" event.
"The goal for this important week is to foster an open, welcoming and supportive environment that will allow and encourage mothers to be successful with breastfeeding in Philadelphia, throughout the United States and across the globe," Spatz said. "We can help mothers with the mechanics of maintaining and expressing human milk, but their experience is made more difficult because of the stigma that unexplainably still surrounds breastfeeding."
Breastfeeding provides unique benefits to infants
The nutritional, immunological, emotional and psychological benefits that breast milk provides have been repeatedly documented through research, done at Children’s Hospital and other institutions, but breastfeeding rates are still low. In the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, only 13 percent of women reported breastfeeding their newborn exclusively for the first six months. Spatz is confident that this rate will increase as educational and advocacy efforts supporting this cause strengthen. "Since the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital opened their Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit in 2008, the world’s first delivery unit for mothers carrying babies with known birth defects, we have been successful in helping 99 percent of women initiate pumping for their critically ill children."
"Clearly, the only way to achieve true breastfeeding success, both in this country and throughout the world, is to create an attitude shift," said Spatz. "Until that time, the faculty of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is dedicated to helping every mother interested in breastfeeding their newborn," she continued. "Some mothers find the actual process of breastfeeding to not always be easy, but it is important for these mothers to know that there are resources specifically written and designed to help them meet their breastfeeding goals."
Tips for successful breastfeeding
Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, a nurse researcher and director of the lactation program at Children’s Hospital offers the following tips for mothers of healthy term infants:
- Breastfeed your baby as soon after birth as possible. Preferably, try to begin in the first hour after birth.
- Find a comfortable position for you and your baby. You should always have the infant tummy to tummy/chest to chest with you. This will aid in achieving a good latch.
- Make sure that the baby has a good mouthful of breast. When the baby is latched properly, the suckling of the infant should feel like pressure but not pain.
- Watch that the baby is taking nutritive sucks. You can tell this because you will see jaw movement all the way up to the baby’s ear.
- Allow the baby to feed completely from one side before switching.
- If you are going back to work or school, start pumping and storing milk at least two weeks prior to your planned return.
- Make sure to speak to your employer about the national law that protects your right to pump when you return to work.
- Use local community resources to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals.
- Ask your family for help with cleaning, cooking and shopping. They can do all this for you, while you are the only one who can make milk and breastfeed.
- Be proud and tell everyone that you are breastfeeding. This will inspire other women to make the choice to start breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding!
Ashley Moore, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6071 or email@example.com