New mothers now have a new resource to help them in the early days of caring for their infant in the form of a new breastfeeding support group. Originated by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health lactation consultants Carol Leonard, RNC-OB, IBCLC and Karen Van Trieste, RN-BC, MS, IBCLC, CCCE, the newly formed monthly support group hopes to help new mothers have a successful breastfeeding experience.
Shore Regional Health’s Birthing Center at the UM Shore Medical Center at Easton delivers about 1,000 babies annually, but its services and care for new mothers continue during the days, weeks and even months following delivery. An important priority of the Birthing Center is to educate all new mothers under its care about the benefits and management of breastfeeding so that they have the knowledge and resources needed to make informed decisions about the care of their newborns.
“Despite most mothers wanting to breastfeed, many of them come across challenges that can prevent them from achieving their breastfeeding goals,” says Carol Leonard, one of Shore Regional Health’s certified lactation consultants. “The goal of this breastfeeding support group is to provide our new mothers with a mother to mother support group where they can freely share concerns and questions to make their breastfeeding journey a successful one.”
The Breastfeeding Support Group meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 10 am to 11:30 am at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton. Meetings are held adjacent to the Birthing Center, in the 5th floor Requard Social Center. This month’s meeting was held on Tuesday, August 6. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, which takes place August 1-7,this month’s meeting features several door prizes including a handmade nursing pillow and Medela Harmony breast pump.
“As lactation consultants, we help families deal with common concerns such as how to start breastfeeding successfully and how to return to work while breastfeeding,” says Karen Van Trieste. “Bringing together other moms who are going through the same transitions can provide an additional resource for breastfeeding mothers.”
In addition to the support group, Shore Regional Health offers a number of resources for new mothers.
“We offer ‘rooming in’ for all mothers, and we encourage placing the baby skin-to-skin with mom at delivery and feeding within one hour of birth. These practices have been shown to increase breastfeeding,’ says Patty MacDougall, MSN, RNC-OB, Manager of Women’s and Children’s Services. “With our full-time lactation services and the support group, we will continue to help assure that our new mothers have all the tools necessary have a successful breastfeeding experience.”
Breastfeeding and prenatal education and support is available to both new and expectant mothers. The Birthing Center, whose nursing team is comprised of nurses certified in a variety of prenatal specialties, offers lactation consultant services almost 24 hours a day.
To learn more about the Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, please visit www.shorehealth.org.
In photo: New moms share breastfeeding stories as part of the Breastfeeding Support Group. Pictured front row from left are Ashlea Pentz with her son Bennett, four months; Lindsey Lafferty with son Charlie, 10 weeks; and Heather Weishaaer with newborn son Jaxson. Back row from left areKaren Van Trieste, RN-BC, MS, IBCLC, CCCE and Carol Leonard, RNC-OB, IBCLC, UM Shore Regional Health Lactation Consultants.