This week marks World Breastfeeding Week, which is dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things a mother can do for her baby. The health benefits for the baby are well known and well published. Included in Healthy People 2020’s agenda, are measures associated with increasing the number of mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies and goals for the length of time a baby is breastfed as well as improving work place support programs.
There are many mother’s who want to breastfeed their baby but find that the most natural thing in the world is not easy. They run into difficulties associated with poor milk production, latching issues and other obstacles that can make the process incredibly frustrating. They may turn to friends or family who may tell them to just give up and turn to formula feeds. While this may be the best solution at times, this advice could cause conflict and feelings of inadequacy in the mother.
ProgenyHealth’s case managers and lactation consultants work to meet the mother where she is when it comes to her desire to breastfeed. As part of our comprehensive needs assessment, we discuss the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage the mother to consider this for her baby. Many mother’s just need to know that someone is there to help when they run into difficulties. Our staff provide one-to-one support and guidance by reinforcing teaching that the mother may have already had through her hospital experience. We make sure she has obtained a breast pump, often provided at no cost to the family as a covered benefit through their health plan. We connect mothers to local resources as well as help her to weed through the plethora of information available on the internet.
As a part of our member satisfaction survey, we ask mothers about their experience with breastfeeding. Our 2018 results indicated that 75% of those surveyed reported ever breastfeeding. Of those mothers, 71% obtained a breast pump with support from ProgenyHealth. There was a high correlation between those who felt well-prepared for breastfeeding and the length of time they continued doing so. The well-prepared group breastfed for 5.1 months as compared to the less prepared group who breastfed for 4.2 months. Through our support, our case managers and lactation consultants empower mothers to overcome their challenges and continue breastfeeding longer.
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, we would like to thank all the organizations around the world who join us in encouraging mothers to breastfeed so their infants can have a very healthy first year of life and beyond.
Madeline Szabo is Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at ProgenyHealth