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advertorial PeaceHealth enhances breastfeeding support “Breastfeeding can be very difficult,” says Corinna Emch, RN with a slight smile. “Unfortunately, our new babies just won’t read the manual.” Emch, the Nurse Manager of PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center’s Birth Center, is overseeing expansion of the Birth Center’s breastfeeding support services. “Our hospital just hosted a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) breastfeeding training course offered through the Healthy Children Project, Inc. Center for Breastfeeding. Caregivers learned how to support and teach breastfeeding moms, with added focus on techniques to assist moms who are having trouble with breastfeeding” said Emch. “We sent 10 of our team through the training, which has been incredibly valuable.” Until now, PeaceHealth St. John has had two certified lactation counselors on staff, doing their best to provide 24/7/365 care to moms having difficulty initiating breastfeeding. Because babies arrive on their own schedule, it has been a challenge to make sure there is always a certified lactation counselor available when moms need it most. “Most large facilities have four lactation counselors,” said PeaceHealth St. John Clinical Nurse Educator Jennifer Durocher. “it’s exciting because we now have the largest lactation counselor group in Southwest Washington!” “This is a great start for us, but we intend to have even more of our Birth Center nurses certified so we’ll have a lactation counselor ready at all times,” said Emch. “We would love it if everyone were certified in this.” Many of the PeaceHealth St. John nurses who gained certification have been working with new moms for years. They were excited to learn new ways to help mom and baby to breastfeed successfully. Birth Center nurse Deanna Claunch said the training helped her realize how some techniques and advice has evolved. “Going through this training program has really showed us the importance of listening carefully to the mother.” Trisha Baron, RN, another newly-certified lactation counselor, said the training will be a great benefit. “We’ve always had the passion, this just reinforces it.” Emch says the “old school” ways of nursing deserve updating. “We used to try to get the baby to latch within an hour of birth,” said Emch. “But sometimes some babies need to take six or eight hours before they’re ready. The new research says it’s much better to be patient and give that time, instead of trying to put the baby on a clock. Letting things happen in their own time helps moms and babies do better.” The Birth Center team says about three of every four moms want to breast feed, a much higher ratio than generations past when moms preferred formula. “Breast milk contains a lot of nutrients and antibodies that formula can’t provide,” said Emch. “Whenever possible, it’s the best choice for mom and baby.” Besides expanding their lactation counselor program, PeaceHealth St. John is also excited to be recognized as a “Breastfeeding Friendly Washington” program by the Washington State Department of Health. “The state awarded us their bronze certification,” said Emch. “It’s an important achievement because many moms want to know if your facility has access to lactation counselors. This bronze status lets them know that yes, we do!”

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