In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2011, Henry Mayo’s lactation team will draw attention to this year’s theme established by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (WABA): “Talk to Me: Breastfeeding, a 3-D Experience.”
WABA’s focus is on the importance of connection between mother and baby (2-dimensions) but also the third dimension of support from the healthcare provider, friend, family member, or citizen.
The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) has expanded on this theme of support with “Breastfeeding Support: Stay Connected!” ILCA is focusing on that ‘third dimension’ of support through digital media, as so many young families around the world are using Internet and mobile phone platforms for information and social support. As a focus, the organization’s 2011 logo is a mobile phone featuring a mother, baby, and support person.
“Today’s moms are cued into their electronic devices,” said Jolli Bernier, IBCLC, lactation specialist at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. “Some of our mothers have created their own community through a Facebook page they created and that is exciting. And many new moms have apps to keep track of things that use to be on paper; such as how often their babies breastfeed.”
With the explosion in digital communications, news about breastfeeding is not just from the top down. News gets posted to social media pages, forwarded to friends, commented upon, and spread far and wide. Using digital communications and social media tools can be an effective way to expand reach, foster engagement, and increase access to credible, science-based health messages. It connects people when, where, and how they want to receive health messages; it improves the availability of content and may influence satisfaction and trust in the health messages delivered. Likewise, tapping into personal networks and presenting information in multiple formats, spaces, and sources helps to make messages more credible and effective.
The benefits of breastfeeding have been established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Along with other medical organizations, WHO recommends that babies exclusively breastfeed for at least six months of life and continue breastfeeding for at least one year. The AAP believes that breast milk is the optimal form of nutrition for infants and helps reduce the risk for childhood obesity and infectious and non-infectious diseases.
Henry Mayo offers a First Weeks Breastfeeding Support Group, one of several programs offered by lactation services, Thursdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The class addresses breastfeeding issues and provides a place where mothers can meet other mothers of young infants, up to three months of age, and discuss related topics such as growth spurts, developmental milestones, and sleep issues. Cost is $10 per person.
Services also available include a prenatal breastfeeding workshop, inpatient and outpatient bedside assistance and follow-up care, critical information on tools and products, as well as solutions to breastfeeding problems.
“Breastfeeding is so important to a baby’s health,” said Lisa Araki, IBCLC, lactation specialist. “Breast milk provides infants with the most complete nutrition possible and has the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for them to thrive.” To learn more about Henry Mayo’s Lactation Services, please call (661) 253-8238 or visit www.henrymayo.com.