National Breastfeeding Week, August 2-8, is a time to acknowledge the importance of breastfeeding for mother, baby and family. The theme for this year’s awareness campaign is, Breastfeeding: a vital emergency response. Are you ready?
The past years have shown the frightening effects of natural disasters. For new mothers, an emergency such as a natural disaster can be a stressful and frightening time. Even when a crisis hits on a more personal level, having a plan beforehand reduces the stress and danger of any situation. Breastfeeding is just one step a new mother should take to help both her and the baby to be ready for anything.
“The safest food for babies in an emergency is mother’s milk,” said CTMC Prenatal Educator and Lactation Consultant, Denise Schlueter, RN, IBCLC. “It is nutritious, hydrating and protects from disease and infection.”
Breastfeeding is always sanitary and safe and requires no electricity or water, which may be in short supply after an emergency. Should an emergency occur, it is important for mothers to continue breastfeeding in order to keep milk production up and protect the baby against disease and malnutrition.
After a disaster, a lack of clean water to mix with the formula and to clean the bottles can make a baby sick.
“With hurricane season underway, now is a good time to begin planning for an emergency,” said Schlueter. “It is never too early to learn about breastfeeding and its benefits.”
Since hospitals are often busy places after a natural disaster, it is important for both mother and child to receive regular medical check-ups.
Central Texas Medical Center is expanding its facilities and services to better meet the needs of the women and children in the community. In November 2009, CTMC will open its $35 million expansion project which includes a new Childbirth Center and a Level II Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU). The hospital also offers several childbirth classes, lactation consultation and various other educational courses for both mother and father.
For more information about childbirth and breastfeeding, visit ctmc.org and click Childbirth Center under the Care & Services tab.
· Nearly every woman can breastfeed her baby
· Feed the baby often – mothers should put their babies to breast 10 to 12 times every 24 hours
· Even if a mother has discontinued breastfeeding, she can usually re-establish at least a partial milk supply with frequent breastfeeding, hand expression, or pumping her milk
· Breastfeeding helps lower pain levels in babies, so if your baby has become injured, allow him or her to breastfeed often to help him or her be more comfortable