The benefits of breastfeeding are far reaching for the baby and the mom. The nurses in Labor and Delivery at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital feel so strongly about breast milk they applied for a grant to help pay for a full-time lactation specialist. Nancy Naeve Brown met a Mitchell mom and her baby who are doing better thanks to her help.
Shona (pronounced Shawna) Beukelman from Mitchell tells us her 3 month old son Jameson wouldn't be the happy and healthy baby he is today had it not been for RN Barb Pratt at Avera Queen of Peace. Barb recently became certified as a Lactation Consultant and thanks to a Wellmark Foundation grant; she can now devote all her time at the hospital to helping new moms.
Barb says, "Everyone thinks it's this natural event that will just happen and for some moms it's not that easy to get started."
Shona says, "Being a first time mom there is all sorts of new things you are learning. You don't know how things are supposed to feel like, how things are supposed to go. You hear stories that moms can have trouble but the baby will know what do it and it will just click, but it wasn't clicking."
Jameson's health started to deteriorate for what turned out to be dehydration because he wasn't getting enough milk. He had to be admitted to the hospital when he was 5 weeks old.
Shona says, "It was a scary moment. I felt so overwhelmed. I felt like I was a failure as a mom."
Shona didn't want to give up on the idea of breastfeeding because she knows the benefits.
Pediatrician Dr. April Magnuson with Avera Pediatrics Plus in Mitchell says, "It prevents disease, lowers the incidence of disease, ear infections, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections."
Janet Jackson, RN in Labor and Delivery in the Avera Queen of Peace Maternal Care Center is part of the team who worked to get the Healthy Communities Grant. She says, "We want to get the word out that about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms and the
long-lasting effects it can have. That's really our goal. To have a positive impact on the community."
Shona says meeting with Barb made the difference.
Shona says, "She was able to determine there was a problem with his tongue and the way he was nursing. So now he is doing well. He is growing; he's gained weight, he's happy and started talking. He is doing so much better now. Barb was so comforting and reassuring. It helped me as a mom say I can do this and not give up."
When giving up on breastfeeding isn't an option, Shona is so thankful that a full-time dedicated certified lactation consultant on staff is.
Avera Queen of Peace wanted to be able to hire a full time Lactation Consultant to increase the breastfeeding rates among new mothers to 75% and to offer education to those moms so they continue to breastfeed for a longer period of time.