NORTH CONWAY, NH – August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and Memorial Hospital’s Family Birthing Center wants the public to know what it’s doing to support moms and babies in making breastfeeding as easy and accessible as possible.
Michelle Meader, RNC CLC took on the role as the lead facilitator of the weekly Breastfeeding Support Group last year. Meader, a Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Counselor, has been with the Family Birthing Center since 2014.
Ten years ago, the popular group was started by Heather Wasuta, a lactation counselor who worked in the Family Birthing Center. Since then, the group has evolved into an ongoing support network that includes seasonal get-togethers and many lifelong friendships.
Last year, Wasuta moved from the area and Meader has taken over what she says is “an especially rewarding” role. “I love my job and what I do,” Meader said when she took on the role.
“I think it’s really important to empower new moms so they feel confident that they can be successful at breastfeeding. We want them to know about their choices as well as the benefits of breastfeeding,” she said.
Before coming to Memorial, Meader was director of childbirth and lactation education at Littleton Hospital from 2011 to 2014. In her current role, she’s working with all of Memorial’s OB RNs who are Certified Lactation Counselors to continue the success of the program.
"Memorial is fortunate to have many nurses on staff with extensive breastfeeding training and certifications," shared Memorial's Family Birthing Center's Leigh Copsey, RN, BSN, RNC-OB, CLC.
National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight the latest research about breastfeeding. Family Birthing Center manager Kris Dascoulias, RN, said the department is extremely proud of their 98% breastfeeding initiation rate.
“Breastfeeding is the first choice of nutrition for a baby. We start by introducing the subject during prenatal classes. There’s a special class dedicated to this one topic,” Dascoulias said. “Then, within 24 hours of mom’s hospital admission, we’ve developed an individual lactation care plan with her.”
Although general recommendations are for six months to a year of breastfeeding, Dascoulias says any amount of time offers significant benefits for the newborn. “There are important immune protective factors for the baby as well as increased bonding with mom.”
The support group is “a wonderful free community service,” Dascoulias said. “Even if you choose not to breastfeed, it’s open to all new moms.”
The Breastfeeding Support Group, which meets every Wednesday at 10am at the Main Street Professional Building, two buildings south of the hospital. Babies and siblings are welcome, and the OB staff is always available by phone to answer questions.
For more information about birthing services at Memorial Hospital, call 356-4949 Ext. 2146 or visit the hospital’s website, www.MemorialHospitalNH.org.
5 Facts on Breastfeeding
The World Health Organization shares these 5 facts on breastfeeding:
- WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
- Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide. Breast milk is readily available and affordable, which helps to ensure that infants get adequate nutrition.
- Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control (98% protection in the first six months after birth). It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.
- Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adolescents and adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight or obese. They are less likely to have type-II diabetes and perform better in intelligence tests.
- Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk. The long-term benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and children cannot be replicated with infant formula.
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, family birthing center, sleep center, wound care center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services and the Miranda Center for Diabetes. Physician practices include primary care and family medicine, women's health, orthopedics and sports medicine. The Merriman House, a 45-bed nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's and other memory disorders, is also located on the hospital campus. Together, our staff and providers are committed to meeting the health needs of the Mt. Washington Valley and surrounding communities by collaborating with community partners in the delivery of accessible, comprehensive, compassionate, and quality health care.