August is Breastfeeding Month in Missouri

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The month of August is designated as Missouri Breastfeeding Month by the Missouri Department of Health. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Support Breastfeeding” and showcases the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and babies. Hannibal Regional is planning to celebrate our local breastfeeding moms and babies on August 9th with a brunch in the mall area of the hospital at 10 am.

More than 81% of mothers in the United States choose to breastfeed. Mother’s milk is very different from formula. Breast milk contains live cells, growth factors and other substances which regulate the immune response system. These cells mean milk is a living tissue, like blood, with the ability to influence the development of other tissues in the body. In the early weeks of breastfeeding there are as many white blood cells in milk as there are in blood, working to keep a baby healthy. Breast milk contains many nutrients which are essential for the baby’s health and development and cannot be reproduced. Breastfeeding provides unmatched benefits to both mother and baby.

Hannibal Regional is a designated Milk Depot. This means that mothers with an abundance of breast milk now have a convenient way to donate their milk to other babies in need of breast milk. The Milk Depot has had an overwhelming response with milk donations. To date over 35,100 ounces of milk have been donated by local mothers. The Milk Depot offers an easy way for mothers in the community to give their milk to the most vulnerable pre-term and sick infants. This is done at no cost to the donating mother. Call the Breastfeeding Warmline at 573-406-2122 for more information.

Hannibal Regional Hospital, designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital, works to assist mothers to meet their goals and successfully breastfeed. One service offered in support of this mission is the support group “Honeysuckle Café”, which meets twice weekly: Mondays at 5 pm and Wednesdays at 10 am. The “Honeysuckle Café” is a place where moms can enjoy support from other mothers and the expertise of a lactation consultant if needed. Their goal is to troubleshoot problems in the early days of nursing and also be a community for support as baby grows.  For more information about the “Honeysuckle Café” group, please call 573-248-5161.  You do not need to register to attend and siblings are welcome.  For questions about breastfeeding, please call Hannibal Regional Hospital’s Breastfeeding Warmline at 573-406-2122.

Photo courtesy of Aleesha Roach Photography

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