“Sustaining breastfeeding together.” That’s this year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week.
It’s to help raise awareness and remind people why nursing mothers need support.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers breast feed for up to a year.
Breastfeeding that long can be challenging for moms. They may not breastfeed that long due to production issues. Or they’re juggling a full-time job.
A local mom talks about the challenges she faced when returning to work.
“So when I first started breastfeeding I think I came back to work when my daughter was about 11 weeks old. So how it worked kind of is I would pump in the mornings, feed my daughter in the mornings still. Then come to work,” said Abby Battjes.
Doctor and new mom, Battjes, has been juggling a full-time job while continuing to breastfeed her daughter.
With the help from her staff and understanding patients,
Battjes was able to breastfeed a full year.
“It’s a really big time dedication. 28:56 28:39 Sometimes my daughter wasn’t the best bottle eater so my mom would have to bring her to work for me and I would have to feed her at lunch sometimes,” says Battjes.
Gail DeSomer is a Lactation Coordinator with St. Joseph Health System.
She says support in the work place can determine how long a mom will breastfeed.
“So mothers that have jobs that allow that do much better. Mothers who perhaps have retail jobs or food service jobs maybe don’t get the break time. Don’t get the support from their employers. We need employers and coworkers to support mothers who need the break time to pump for their babies,” said DeSomer.
DeSomer says any nurse at St. Joseph Health System who comes in contact with mothers and babies go through breastfeeding training.
She says because of this level of support, they’ve seen an increase in moms wanting to breastfeed.
“We were between about 59 and maybe 65 percent of moms initiating breastfeeding in the hospital. Now we regularly see 89 to 90 percent of moms initiating,” says DeSomer.
Battjes says it was the support that helped her meet the year breastfeeding goal.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child and I think it really does. It’s not the village always surrounding the child. It’s the people that are supporting the parents. Breastfeeding is a huge community effort,” said Battjes.
St. Joseph Health System offers support classes for moms who are breastfeeding.
The hospital has increased their lactation staff from 4 to 7.
They want to make sure they provide help to mothers.
There are also Federal and State laws that require employers to give moms a time and place to pump.