Greenwood Leflore Hospital held a grand opening Tuesday for its new lactation room.
“When we were looking at our needs at the hospital, we certainly lacked a lactation room,” said Kerri Grossman, the hospital’s child life coordinator. “It was really important to us as we were going baby friendly to really be baby friendly for our employees and staff as well.”
With the new lactation room, the hospital is one step closer to receiving its baby friendly accreditation.
The room is available to employees or mothers who are receiving medical care at the hospital and are breastfeeding. It includes recliners, privacy curtains, outlets for using electronic pumps and a bathroom with a changing table.
Grossman said babies should receive breast milk for at least six months or more, and women shouldn’t have to “worry about continuing to breastfeed when they come back to work.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most infants. “It can also reduce the risk for some short- and long-term health conditions for both infants and mothers,” the CDC says.
At the event, proclamations in support of breastfeeding were presented to the hospital from the city of Greenwood and Leflore County Board of Supervisors.
Greenwood Leflore Hospital is a member of the Delta Breastfeeding Coalition, which is a group that is part of Delta Health Alliance that promotes breastfeeding through providing education and support.
Throughout August, which is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, the Delta Breastfeeding Coalition is challenging area businesses to become breastfeeding friendly not only for their employees but also for the public.
Melanie Williams, director of Home Visiting Initiatives for Delta Health Alliance, said mothers are encouraged to breastfeed until their babies are 6 months old but most stop “usually around the time they go back to work.”
According to a presentation at the grand-opening event, becoming a breastfeeding friendly business helps lower turnover and absenteeism rates, raise employee morale and loyalty, lower medical costs and health insurance claims and adds to existing family benefits.
Here are four basic goals the coalition recommends when a business becomes breastfeeding friendly.
• Privacy: This can be a woman’s private office or a designated lactation room with the proper amenities.
• Flexible break option: Breastfeeding women can express milk during regular breaks and lunch.
• Education: Workplace resources aid in preparing and supporting women to balance breastfeeding and working.
• Support: An accepting attitude from coworkers and supervisors helps breastfeeding women feel supported and confident in their decision.
•Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.