Global event promotes breastfeeding

Published 7:43 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Saturday, women around the world celebrated motherhood at the Big Latch On, a global event promoting breastfeeding.

In Washington, seven breastfeeding moms, a plenty of others, attended Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s event honoring World Breastfeeding Week.

“The purpose of it was really to promote breastfeeding awareness and the services available in our community to prospective moms and news moms,” said Pam Shadle, Vidant Beaufort’s director of marketing and community outreach and development.

Practitioners of those services filled the lobby and explaining the resources available to prospective, expectant and new moms: Beaufort County Health Department’s WIC peer counselors, pregnancy care management and healthy beginnings staff; volunteers with Coastal Pregnancy Center and medical providers from Washington Pediatrics, Vidant Women’s Care, Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s Women’s Services and Vidant-Family Medicine-Chocowinity, as well as health care navigators with Access East. Car seat checks were offered by the health department, information about the importance of reading to children from a very young age was shared by Kris Bowen of Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children, and Babywearing International was on hand to talk about the advantages of keeping babies close by wearing them — carried babies cry less, according to studies.

While the focus was on breastfeeding and its benefits, the event was an opportunity to gather all of the county’s maternity resources together.

“The goal for Vidant Health is to have the same (resources) as what Vidant Medical Center has in the region. We want to be able to give moms the support they need right here at home — so you don’t have to drive to Greenville, you can stay right here,” said Elaine Clark, manager of Vidant Beaufort Health’s Women’s Services.

“We’ve had the resources, but we’ve never brought them together before,” added Penny Coltrain, administrator of Vidant clinics in Beaufort County.

REALIZING RESOURCES: Brooke Newman (right) was one of several expectant mothers attending the Global Latch On event held Saturday at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. (Jennifer Lewis)

“I was so glad our hospital was hosting such a beneficial event with important information for current and expecting mothers. It’s nice not to have to go out of town, and be able to interact and with our own local providers that actually provide the care,” said expecting mom Brooke Newman.

Newman said she received tips on newborn care and breastfeeding, toured the labor and delivery area and talked to nurses about what to expect — an experience she said helped “ease nerves.”

Shadle said the Big Latch On ties in to Vidant Beaufort’s efforts to show new and expecting parents, like Newman, how baby-friendly the local hospital is.

“We’re working toward what’s called baby-friendly status,” Shadle said.

Baby Friendly is an initiative promoting best practices for the health of mother and child, including initiating skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and breastfeeding with the first hour and on-demand thereafter, as well as access to breastfeeding support groups and lactation specialists.

Best practices also include “rooming in,” in which mothers and babies stay in the same room.

“Years ago, they’d take the baby out (of the room),” Shadle said. “Now, it’s all right there in the labor and delivery suite; all the clinical stuff is done right there with mom and family. It’s really to promote the bonding of mom and baby in those first few hours and days.”