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Hudson Valley Hospital Center Supports Breastfeeding

 Linda Lemon and breastfeeding support group

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hospitals are not doing enough to support breast feeding, but that is not the case at Hudson Valley Hospital Center where breast feeding support is the number one priority. 

 

 In a report released this week, the CDC noted that only 14 percent of hospitals nationwide have breastfeeding policies in place and that many hospitals feed babies formula even though it is not medically necessary. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said hospitals should stop accepting free formula from formula companies and encourage a policy that allows babies to “room in” with their mothers to encourage breastfeeding.

“At Hudson Valley Hospital Center we do not use formula and all babies room in with their moms rather than stay in a nursery,’’ said Sabrina Nitkowski-Keever, CNM, Director of Child Maternal Health at HVHC. “We believe that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish infants, and that it is healthiest for both mother and child. Our hospital policies give mothers the best chance to succeed at breastfeeding and that means supporting families in any way we can to choose breastfeeding over formula.”

Hudson Valley Hospital Center is the only Hospital and Birthing Center in Westchester and Putnam counties to be recognized for breastfeeding support by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, which only endorses hospitals with breastfeeding-friendly policies. In April, the New York State Health Department recognized HVHC with an award of excellence for its breastfeeding support programs. In April when the award was presented, 90 percent of mothers who gave birth at HVHC nourished their babies exclusively with breast milk – one of the highest rates in the state and nation.

The CDC and the U.S. Surgeon General both have launched campaigns to increase breastfeeding rates as a way to fight childhood obesity and keep moms and babies healthier. Babies who are breast fed have stronger immune systems and fewer ailments such as diarrhea, respiratory and ear infections, and allergic skin disorders.  On August 1, the New York State Health Commissioner also sent a directive out to all hospitals urging them to increase their exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Linda LeMon, a Board Certified lactation consultant at Hudson Valley Hospital Center, attributes Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s success to several factors, but pointed to the strong support moms receive in hospital and after they leave, as the main factor.  “The obstetricians, mid-wives, pediatricians and especially the nurses are all big supporters of breastfeeding,” she said. “Hudson Valley Hospital Center has a breastfeeding support group that meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. The support group is beneficial for the new moms, many of them are experiencing similar issues. It also offers them a chance to socialize and meet other new moms.”

 The Hospital also offers prenatal education classes, private consultations, telephone triage and a new class on what to expect for grandmothers.  For more information on the programs at Hudson Valley Hospital Center, visit www.hvhc.org