Health Tips Tuesday: breastfeeding virtual assistance program

One local hospital is launching a new virtual assistance program to support breastfeeding mothers.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 1:18 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - One local hospital is launching a new virtual assistance program to support breastfeeding mothers.

Dr. Elizabeth Rottenberg, chair of obstestrics and gynocolgy at Mercy Medical Center and director of their Family Life Center, spoke to Western Mass News to talk about this new free program.

Can you tell us a bit about the hospital’s new program for those who chose to breastfeed?

Yeah, so here at Mercy, at the Family Life Center and throughout our offices within the Trinity Health Of New England system, we have lots of breastfeeding services that can start really as early as a woman wants them. So through the Breatfeeding Heritage and Pride Program, we have a breastfeeding peer councilor that circulates throughout all of our outpatient offices to meet with women throughout their pregnancy to prepare them, you know, provide resources for sucessful feeding and in the hospital, we have licensed lactation consultants that can provide hands-on assitance and guidance with breastfeeding, helping women find the right position to hold their baby, help women navigate some of the challenges some people have in finding breast pumps.
Something that some women don’t know is that insurances always cover breast pumps, so nobody should ever have to pay out-of-pocket for a breast pump and our lactation consultants are here to help people navigate that. On June 27, we are launching a super exciting partnership with the Nest Collabrative which is, as you pointed out, the virtual program. It will provide and adjunct to the Breatfeeding Heritage and Pride Program and the lactation consultants here in the hospital to provide free virtual services to women throughout their pregnancy and postpartum helping them with some of the challenges they may face or just answering very simple questions that women may have as they begin their breastfeeding journey, so we’re excited to offer the Nest Collabrative, in addition to what we’re already doing to help women because, I think, it’s been shown that whether a woman breastfeeds for three weeks or three years, there are surely some benefits there for some people.”

What are some of the benefits of breastfeeding?

“Yeah, so breastfeeding is a personal journey. It provides different benefits for different people. For some people, it’s super convenient to have on-the-go nutrition thats the perfect temperature. For others, it’s the ablility to sooth your baby at a moments time when you’re somewhere and feel like other people don’t want to hear your baby cry and for some people, it’s the potential for a little quicker weight loss after delivery. Some people really find great benefit in the proven fact that breast milk actually can change and adapt to the nutritional and immune system needs of their baby. Studies have actaully shown that if their baby is fighting illness, the germs from that illness on the breast will create an immune response within mom to develop antibodies that, in turn, ends up in their breast milk and can sometimes decrease the severity and length of illness in babies. So all of this said, breastfeeding comes with a huge time commitment, physical and emotional challenges. For women out there with sore nipples, bleeding nipples, exhaustion for feeling like your body is not your own, you know, I hear you, we hear you, and our services here are really geared torwards kind of helping people navigate those challenges. You know, the goal of all of us is to have a healthy, fed baby and we’re here for that, so I speak from personal experience, I know many of you do. The ‘I’m hungry’ commentary changes as a kid gets older, but it certainly is a huge commitment from the get-go.”