The Pettis County Breastfeeding Coalition, in partnership with the Pettis County Health Center, is hosting a Community Baby Shower in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week that runs Aug. 1-7.
The Community Baby Shower will be hosted Aug. 6 at the Bothwell Education Center and all mothers are invited to attend, said the Health Center’s Mary Lou Shane, a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Health Center WIC coordinator.
Shane stressed the benefits of breastfeeding not only for babies but also for their mothers.
‘There are a lot of benefits,” she said. “Right now with our WIC population, 72 percent of our moms in the hospital initiate breastfeeding, and then by one month that number is down to 44 percent. And by three months it’s down to 26 percent, so our concern is, of course, we want our moms to get past that first month or two.”
She added that breastfed babies “typically” need fewer visits to the doctor for sickness, because they receive immune antibodies from their mother’s milk.
“Studies show that breastfeeding reduces SIDS, allergies, asthma, diabetes, certain childhood cancers and childhood obesity,” Shane said. “A lot of times we think of breastfeeding beneficial for babies, but moms have less breast cancer, ovarian cancer, a lower incidence of type II diabetes, and even depression.
“And breast milk is made for that mom’s baby,” she added. “It is so amazing. A premature baby, that baby’s mom, her milk contains different properties than a full-term baby. Because that baby is going to need different nutrition. And that’s why it’s so important for premature babies to be breastfed.”
She added that breastfeeding can often mean the difference in the premature baby having a severe infection and not having one.
Shane said the first World Breastfeeding Week began in 1992 and always runs Aug. 1-7.
“It’s an international event,” she said. “It’s celebrated all over the world.”
The Pettis County Health Center is a member of the Pettis County Breastfeeding Coalition and the two organizations are working together to provide the Baby Shower event. They are hoping to raise awareness of breastfeeding’s benefits to women and their babies.
“This is actually the third year we’ve done it,” Shane said. “The first year was more of a health center event. It was almost like a health fair, we had some stations set up. Then last year we decided to change it a little and make it a more fun event — similar to a baby shower.”
At last year’s event, hosted at the Celebration Center, Shane said they had about 80 mothers attend.
This year they will have a race for the mothers to see who can put together a breast pump the fastest, and Dr. Bethany Vandevende D.D.S., a dentist from Katy Trail Community Health Center, will speak on “Teeth for a Life Time.”
“She will speak about oral health during pregnancy, as well as infants’ oral health,” she said.
They will also have skits portraying breastfeeding moms in different scenarios such as how to talk with your employer about coming back to work, and how to talk with grandparents who might want to fed the baby formula.
“Different things that our moms say that they face,” she said. “And breastfeeding in public, how do you handle that.”
Early Head Start’s parent educators will be there, who are all trained doulas or certified birth coaches.
“They’re going to do three different sessions on infant massage,” Shane said. “Which went over really well last year. The moms really liked that. They had their baby or they had dolls that they could use and they showed them how to do massage. They say that helps babies eat better and sleep better and be less fussy.”
Another speaker will be Lindsey Wilson C.N.M., D.N.P. a Certified Nurse-Midwife from BRHC.
“She going to speak on returning to work and breastfeeding,” Shane said. “
There will also be “Wrap with Shera,” learning about baby wraps and wear, and carriers, “Car Seat 101,” a photo booth and the Le Leche League will have a question and answer session. Mothers can learn about newborn behavior in the “Hug Your Baby” session and be fitted for the correct bra size in another session.
“One of the Pettis County Breastfeeding Coalition’s main goals is to encourage community support for mothers who choose to breastfeed so that we can extend duration and keep our moms and babies healthy,” Shane added. “The baby shower is one way we promote breastfeeding and show mothers there is support for them in the community.”
Sponsors for the event are Open Door Ministries, Academy of Salon Professionals, Encore Apparel, American College of Hair Design, Baskin-Robbins, Country Kitchen, Swords Family Pharmacy and Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill.
For more information visit the Pettis County Breastfeeding Coaltition Facebook page at facebook.com/PettisCountyBreastfeedingCoalition or call Shane at 827-4599 or Stephanie Fraley at 827-9138.
The Community Baby Shower is free and free childcare will be provided; it will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Bothwell Education Center, 600 E. 14th St.