“Every year we see increases,” said Arnett. She noted that when Community first established its support program in 2001, that rate was in the low 40s.
In 2005, Community earned the Baby-Friendly designation recognizing its dedication to support breastfeeding and mother/baby bonding. Community is one of only five Baby-Friendly facilities in Indiana. In the United States, only 166 facilities have earned the Baby-Friendly stamp awarded through a global initiative of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Community Hospital Anderson was recently awarded a $37,000 grant from the CDC to help educate and promote breastfeeding. In addition to resource materials, training and promotion, part of the grant money is being used to set up lactation stations in the community.
Despite the numerous advantages, Arnett said that the biggest barrier to breastfeeding is lack of support. At one time, baby formula was the “new kid on the block,” and many new moms today were formula-fed themselves. Their mothers and grandmothers may not see exactly why you wouldn’t formula feed now.
Arnett said that Community hosts two support groups every week to provide encouragement, education and a social network for breastfeeding moms. The groups are free and available to anyone, and they’re popular — drawing 62 moms and babies to a typical support group session last week.
“It is so empowering for them to come to group,” said Arnett. “Their confidence just starts to grow.”
Arnett is fired up about the kind of support Community has developed.
“It is a passion. It’s not a job,” said Arnett. “Breast is best.”
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