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Maternal Child Education Center Supports Breastfeeding to Give Moms and Babies the Best Start

August 06, 2013

August is National Breastfeeding Month, a time when women, families, the health care community and many others celebrate the proven benefits of breastfeeding for moms and babies.

"Besides encouraging bonding between mothers and their babies, breastfeeding is a major factor in giving children a healthy start in life," said Katrina Brown, manager of Washington Hospital's Maternal Child Education Center.

Washington Hospital demonstrates its commitment to supporting and encouraging all women to breastfeed their babies through a program of evidence-based nursing care. It is awaiting certification as a "Baby-Friendly Hospital" and follows proven practices to help more mothers start and maintain breastfeeding.

The Hospital's support for breastfeeding moms and babies extends into the community. Recently, its Maternal Child Education Center moved to a new, stand-alone location at 3569 Beacon Avenue in Fremont. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the phone number is (510) 818-5040.

"Washington Hospital believes community outreach is very important, and that's why we are delighted to have this new location," added Brown. "We want everyone to be aware of the great programs and services we have available at the Center. They are for the entire community, not just women and families who give birth at our Hospital."

Designed with moms and babies in mind, the Center has plenty of space for meetings and classes. There is a changing room for babies, a private room for nursing moms and a baby weighing station.

The Center's staff includes instructors who help make pregnancy and parenthood as smooth as possible for every woman and family. If you or someone you know is pregnant, nursing or looking for a fun, informative class to sharpen your skills as a parent or parent-to-be, the Center offers a variety of classes and programs to meet your needs.

"Bringing a child into the world is a challenging, yet rewarding, experience," explained Brown, who has two children of her own. Brown breastfed her 4-year-old son until he was a year old and is currently breastfeeding her 11-month-old daughter.

"We are here to help parents gain all the information and knowledge they need about childbirth and child care, including breastfeeding."

To help breastfeeding moms, the Center's internationally board-certified lactation consultants and educators offer a free advice line and low-cost private visits by appointment. To access the advice line or schedule a visit, call (510) 818-5041.

"For moms who deliver at Washington Hospital, our lactation consultants visit them and their babies before they go home," explained Brown. "The consultants help moms feel comfortable breastfeeding on their own, addressing any problems with latching, milk supply and nutrition. Then, they are available by phone on a daily basis to answer questions or problems that may come up."

The Center's breastfeeding classes for all breastfeeding moms include:
* "Prenatal Breastfeeding" - A one-time, 2.5-hour class that teaches the basics for successful breastfeeding.
* "Back to Work Breastfeeding" - A one-hour class offered by appointment that takes an individualized approach to helping moms maintain milk supply and breastfeed while returning to work.

Hospital-grade breast pumps are available at the Center for rent or sale, as well as breastfeeding accessories.

In addition to breastfeeding support, the Center offers childbirth preparation classes for couples in the last trimester of pregnancy. Classes focus on preparing for labor, childbirth techniques, the coach's role, and postpartum recovery tips. There are other classes on sibling preparation, expecting twins or more, prenatal exercise classes and yoga. Once the baby is born, the Center's services include Infant Massage and Sign, Say and Play classes and a Baby 'n' Me support group for moms. Call the Center for a schedule of all classes and services.

For moms who give birth at Washington Hospital, there is considerable help for breastfeeding. Spearheaded by two nurses from the Hospital's Birthing Center, services include lactation support and education for all new breastfeeding mothers. The goal is to enable mothers to initiate feeding within one hour of birth and give infants breast milk exclusively, unless there is a medical reason not to do so.

For more information about Washington Hospital's Maternal Child Education Center and lactation support services, go online to www.whhs.com, click on Services and then select Women's Health. For more information about National Breastfeeding Month, visit the Web site of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee at www.usbreastfeeding.org.

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