Celebrating an important part of motherhood
Moms, babies and lactation support staff came together at Falmouth Hospital to support and share in World Breastfeeding Week on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019 for a celebration complete with cake, balloons and lemonade.
World Breastfeeding week is a global initiative organized and coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), that started in 2016. Their 2019 theme is “Empower Parents. Enable Breastfeeding.”
“It’s a week of celebrating the efforts and amazing benefits of breastfeeding, as well as increasing public awareness,” said Suzan Scharr, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, lactation consultant/childbirth educator at Falmouth Hospital and organizer of the event. “I am so happy to be here doing this and seeing more women breastfeeding, which is so important.”
In addition to the Falmouth Hospital event, Cape Cod Hospital (CCH) in Hyannis held a World Breastfeeding Week event on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. That event was organized by hospital lactation consultants Heather Lakatos, BSN, RN, IBCLC and Diane Robertson, BSN, RN, IBCLC. Moms at the CCH event were treated to chair massages and infant sign language, among other things.
Both hospitals participated in The Global Big Latch On, a world-wide synchronized breastfeeding event on Aug. 2, 2019. Moms and babies at FH and CCH gathered to breastfeed together with others around the world at a designated time. The event was intended to protect and promote breastfeeding with support at the community level.
Continuing Breastfeeding Support
Scharr’s dedication and excitement at the FH World Breastfeeding Week event were obvious as she talked about her 24 years teaching moms how to breastfeed.
“In the early days, there were no lactation services,” she said.
Scharr and fellow lactation consultant at Falmouth Hospital Lori Ruggieri, RN, IBCLC, took a certified lactation consultant course when they first started, began teaching new moms how to breastfeed while they were in the hospital and provided them support via telephone or after hours, one on one when necessary.
They also started a breastfeeding support group in collaboration with what is now Health Imperatives Cape Cod WIC program. “We would meet with breastfeeding moms every Thursday,” said Scharr. “It grew over time.”
Today, The Family Birthplace at Falmouth Hospital and Cape Cod Hospital offers support groups, breastfeeding education, mom support groups, lactation support, depression support and newborn care classes.
Breastfeeding education also includes fathers.
“We really enjoy having the dads come to the educational class prenatally and, while the mom is in the hospital, we include the dads with teaching,” said Scharr. “When their baby is crying in the middle of the night and mom is trying to figure out what’s wrong, the dad can say remember when we were in the hospital and they said to try this or that? It can be a big help including the dads and making them a part of the process.”
Benefits of Breastfeeding Support
Ashley Gorton of Falmouth, who was at the World Breastfeeding Week event with her son Regan, 6 months, was all smiles as she talked with other moms and visited the vendor tables.
“I definitely needed the breastfeeding support group,” she said. “I met amazing moms and we’ve built such a great bond. It has helped me emotionally, mentally, and physically.”
“The support is huge,” said Kathryn Johnson of Falmouth, as she held her 9-month-old son, Ever. “I started out thinking I would breastfeed for two months and now I’m at 10 months. I never would have been able to do it without the breastfeeding support group.”
Courtney Franks of North Falmouth rode her bicycle to the event with daughter, Juniper, 9 months in tow.
“I’ve been coming to the breastfeeding support group since Juniper was 5 weeks old,” she said. “It is a really nice way to get to know other new moms and it’s a reason to leave the house. In the beginning it was very hard, we had a difficult start to breastfeeding. With the support of the group, I was able to push through it and now I’m very happy and comfortable.”
Participants in the event included Health Imperatives Cape Cod WIC program representatives, baby yoga with Niisa Morton and nutrition tips for moms and babies provided by Falmouth Hospital dietitians Lauren Rosenfeld, RD and Korrine Altieri, RD.
Header: Kathryn Johnson holding Ever, Ashely Gorton holding Regan and Niiss Morton Yoga instructor.
In-line #1: Courtney Franks of North Falmouth holding Juniper, Suzan Scharr.
In-Line #2: Lauren Rosenfeld RD, Korinne Altieri RD and Claudia Del Costillo of Bourne holding Sofia.