Most women take their choice for how to feed their baby very seriously. A lot of research and thought generally goes into that decision.
The 2018 Breastfeeding Report Card, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates 82.3 percent of Missouri women initiate breastfeeding. By three months, the percentage of women who are exclusively breastfeeding drops to 52.7 percent and by six months it drops to 31.3 percent.
To meet their breastfeeding goals, breastfeeding mothers need support of the community, healthcare providers, employers, family and friends but they also need to know what resources are available to advocate for their breastfeeding success.
So what breastfeeding resources exist in the Jefferson City area? Who should a breastfeeding woman turn to when they are struggling with breastfeeding? There are actually several options available for moms to consider. She can start by contacting her obstetrician or the baby’s healthcare provider if she doesn’t know where to turn. They can guide her to the local lactation consultants in Jefferson City.
Both hospitals in Jefferson City have International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) on staff. I am the full-time lactation consultant and childbirth education coordinator at SSM Health/St. Mary’s Hospital. Moms can contact me seven days a week through email at Rebecca.Schwaller@ssmhealth.com or by calling my office, Monday through Friday, at 573-681-3399. I am available to woman post discharge for in-person lactation consults in my office on the Family Birth Unit, or I can do virtual lactation consults with moms from the comfort of their home. To schedule a virtual consult, moms need to enroll in St. Mary’s MyChart program. More information about MyChart can be found at ssmhealth.com/mychart. There is no charge for any of the lactation consults at St. Mary’s.
Other resources include:
• Capital Region Medical Center – The medical group and facility offers lactation consultations for new moms in the unit, in an outpatient setting and in the pediatric clinic for postpartum moms with breastfeeding questions. Capital Region also offers a free prenatal breastfeeding class. For more information, call the OB department at 573-632-5337 or visit www.crmc.org.
• Whaley’s Pharmacy – West Side – Lactation consultant on staff. Contact Whaley’s for more information at 573-695-0650.
• Cole County Health Department – Lactation consultants and breastfeeding peer counselors for women who participate in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. They also have a Breastfeeding Help Line that can be called 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The WIC program is financially based and has excellent resources for breastfeeding women. Families can visit Becky Schwaller, RN, BSN, IBCLC the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services website to determine if they are eligible for the program at https://health.mo.gov/living/families/wic or call 573-636-2181, ext. 2.
Jefferson City also has a variety of groups for women to attend for breastfeeding support.
• Growing Babies Mothers’ Group – I run this group at St. Mary’s Hospital. We typically meet at 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of the month. Moms can register for the group by calling toll-free 844-776-9355, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Registration can also be done online at ssmhealth.com by clicking on “Classes and Events.”
• Whaley’s Pharmacy – West Side – They have three group meetings each month at different days and times. Moms can RSVP for these meetings the Whaley’s Mommy & Me-Before, During & After Facebook page.
• La Leche League – They also have a breast feeding group that meets at Missouri River Regional Library. Nancy is the group leader and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also some reliable online resources for breastfeeding moms:
• Kellymom.com – Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC, is the owner and originator of kellymom.com, an internationally recognized website providing information to professionals and parents. She stays up-to-date with the latest research on lactation, infant nutrition and infant development so that she can provide parents and professionals with the most current information available. Moms can search the website for any topic and it will provide her with good, reliable information.
• MommyMeds – A mobile app where you can search or scan the barcodes of thousands of medications and receive immediate, easy-to-understand information on drug safety and ingredients. The content of the app is based on more than 25 years of evidence-based research by “Medication and Mothers’ Milk” author Dr. Thomas Hale, PhD, and the Texas Tech University Health Science Center’s InfantRisk Center. It can be purchased for $3.99.
• YouTube – YouTube has a variety of videos to help moms understand and see some important aspects of breastfeeding. For example, Stanford University has a great video on manual expression and how to maximize milk production.
Global Health also has a great video on getting baby latched to breast. When it comes time for a mom to offer a bottle of pumped breastmilk to her baby, knowing how to make the bottle feeding flow more like a breastfeeding is helpful. A great video to demonstrate that can be found online by searching “paced bottle feeding by the milk mob.”
• Mobreastfeeding.org – Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition is a wonderful resource for breastfeeding women. The mission of this coalition is to improve the nutritional status and overall health of families in Missouri by working collaboratively to promote, support and protect breastfeeding in all Missouri communities.
They have a resource tab on their website that has many reliable, trustworthy resources for breastfeeding moms. If you are breastfeeding and struggling or know a mom who is in that situation, tell her about some of these resources that are available. The information just might help you or someone else meet their breastfeeding goals.