Potential Breastfeeding Impacts On The Community

It’s a topic many nurses and specialists in the West Kentucky region believe needs to see improvement; breastfeeding. Though there are various reasons as to why women choose not to breastfeed, breastfeeding specialist Dana Green says a lack of education and support is to blame. It’s why JoLynne Polichette says she struggled her first time. 

“With having no support and no follow through with my care providers it was really difficult,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was doing.”

She’s currently breastfeeding her two year-old son Wild, but remembers the night she became overwhelmed with tears and frustration. Struggling with nursing positions and the fear of medication from her C-section interfering with her breast milk; she stopped.

“I looked at my little one and physically said I’m sorry buddy I can’t do this.” she said. “You kind of feel like you you’re failing as a mom.”

Polichette says her husband was the only one who encouraged her to try breastfeeding.

“It was hard when she first started…seeing her go through that,” Daniel Polichette said. “I knew it was important to me…I hoped that if she was able to do it that it’d be a benefit to her too and she’d see the benefits of it.”

Benefits Baptist Health breastfeeding specialist Dana Green hopes more women in our area will see soon.

"Kentucky is on the low side as far as percentages of breastfeeding women in the state compared to other states,” Green explains. “If we can get the word out and educate moms I do feel like it’s going to make a big difference in our community and babies.”

The initiation rate at Baptist Health is 75 percent, but 50 percent of breastfeeding women stop after being discharged from the hospital. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months to a year or as long as mother and baby are comfortable.

Green says if more women breastfeed we could see a healthier population, less behavioral issues in children, and insurance rates and health care rates could go down. Not to mention, the U.S could save babies lives and billions of dollars.

Many hospitals in the local six area implement methods like “Kangaroo Care,” which Green says has made a big impact at Baptist Health. It’s immediate skin-to-skin contact with a parent after a baby’s birth. Green says education on breastfeeding before birth is also important in order to eliminate any concerns.

For moms who do choose formula, No harm done. Green says there are plenty of successful people in the world who were bottle fed. However, she believes addressing breastfeeding concerns, education and support may lead to the majority of women in favor of formula to reconsider.

“I really think we need to rally around mothers and support mothers either way breastfeeding or bottle feeding,” Polichette said.”But definitely stop the shaming.”

It’s what made it possible for Polichette a second time around.

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