SARASOTA (July 29, 2010) – Most women have heard that breastfeeding gives babies a healthy start in life. Did you know that breastfeeding provides nutritional and health advantages that include reduced risk of ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, obesity, diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)? It has also been shown to be vital for women’s health by lowering the mother’s risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and diabetes.
Nearly all medical and professional organizations worldwide emphasize the importance of breastfeeding and the role of support for new mothers. Research has made it clear that breastfeeding is vital for infant growth and development, and has a profound impact on both infant and maternal health.
For these reasons, Sarasota Memorial is happy to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 – 7. This year’s theme is “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps! The Baby-Friendly Way,” and draws attention to simple steps that hospitals can take to help mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals. These steps include helping moms hold their babies skin-to-skin immediately after birth, providing breastfeeding training for staff, and connecting mothers to support in the community upon discharge from the hospital.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, positive breastfeeding support from physicians, nurses, and other health professionals has been shown to increase the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. By the end of this year, close to 60 percent of the Mother-Baby Unit nursing staff at SMHCS will have advanced certification training in breastfeeding. This advanced certification adds a dimension to the bedside nursing role that encompasses the nurse as a breastfeeding counselor and an educator in lactation management. The training has been voluntary, and speaks to staff’s commitment to providing the very best care for patients.
In addition, all women who deliver their babies at Sarasota Memorial are offered a complimentary Home Health visit through the Nurses for New Moms Program. SMHCS Home Health nurses, while providing care for the mother and baby, also have advanced certification training in lactation and help provide that added support for mom at home.
SMHCS is working hard to follow “The 10 Steps,” which not only will assist mothers in reaching their chosen breastfeeding goals, but through support of breastfeeding, will work to improve nutritional and health outcomes for both mom and baby.