By Kyle LoJacono
St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital made Tampa Bay region history moments after opening its Lactation Lounge May 14.
The hospital became the first business in the area to receive the Gold Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer Award from the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition.
“We’re so appreciative of this recognition for our team,” said the hospital’s chief operating officer Kimberly Guy. “We have worked very, very hard to advocate something so important to our patients, and share it with our team members and our families going forward.”
The lounge is designed as semiprivate, clean space for women to nurse their babies.
“Breastfeeding is important, and we support our breastfeeding nurses,” said the hospital’s director of patient services Karen Howell. “We want our team members to know they have the right to breastfeed. They don’t have to hide it in a bathroom, and they can do it in a designated location.”
The award also recognizes the hospital’s steps to be breastfeeding-friendly, such as offering lactation consultant support and reasonable break time for employees to express milk.
“They’ve done a lot to make breastfeeding mothers more comfortable,” said Dr. Joan Meek, president of the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition. “They’ve got people on staff to help first-time mothers, and they are making the process something enjoyable, which it should be.”
Meek said pumping breast milk helps maintain milk production and allows the baby to receive benefits of breast milk when the mother is not available to nurse. She added there are many benefits for mothers and children who breastfeed, including:
–Breastfeeding encourages the best brain growth and development in babies and helps babies reach their full intellectual potential.
–Breastfed babies are one-third less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome.
–Breastfed babies have fewer illnesses, are less likely to be hospitalized in the first year of life and have milder effects when illness does happen.
–Breastfed babies are less likely to develop respiratory infections, ear infections, childhood diabetes and certain types of cancers.
–Breastfed babies are less likely to grow into overweight children.
–Breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for women.
–Breastfeeding provides a bonding connection for mother and baby.
–Breastfeeding releases the hormone prolactin, which decreases anxiety.
–Breastfeeding an infant during a natural disaster reduces the potential risk for feeding contamination from toxic materials.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.