Rush-Copley Receives Grant from the March of Dimes
Grant will support exclusive breastfeeding
(Aurora, Ill.) – The Illinois Chapter of the March of Dimes recently awarded a one-year grant of $33,700 to Rush-Copley Foundation to increase the rate and duration of exclusive breastfeeding among the 3,400 women who deliver their babies at Rush-Copley Medical Center each year.
The grant will cover increased staffing levels to ensure that breastfeeding support is available to 100 percent of new mothers in Rush-Copley’s Family Birth Center. Lactation consultants and peer counselors will educate area pediatricians, obstetricians, certified nurse midwives, and expectant parents about ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy and prevent prematurity, as well as the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Other support services will include a new weekly breastfeeding support group and proactive calls to new mothers to answer questions or address problems they may be having with breastfeeding. The grant is expected to benefit more than 3,000 mothers and their babies in 2012.
Jenny Searls, a mom who delivered her baby boy at Rush-Copley, said the assistance from Rush-Copley’s lactation consultants was very valuable to her and her newborn.
"It was so helpful to have the lactation consultants working with latching the baby and showing me what to do,” said Searls. “They were so kind and positive and really wanted me to succeed. I really felt like I was part of a team vs. being on my own.”
Rush-Copley’s breastfeeding rate is 86 percent – much higher than the national average. The hospital attributes this success to the expert, personalized attention of its staff.
”Our Lactation Center is staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, which means they are specially-trained to help mothers learn the technique of breastfeeding, provide breastfeeding information and prevent and solve any breastfeeding problems.” said Jennifer Toerpe, Director, Women’s Health Institute at Rush-Copley. “The Center also provides breastfeeding assistance even after new moms leave the hospital. Success with breastfeeding is our top priority during this important time and national focus on exclusive breastfeeding.”
Rush-Copley is one of the few hospitals in Illinois that has banned formula sample bags from its birth center. The hospital has replaced the samples with gift bags filled with information about the health benefits associated with exclusive breastfeeding.
According to the March of Dimes, breast milk is the best food for most babies. Studies show that breastfed babies have fewer health problems than babies who get formula alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies get breast milk exclusively for about the first six months of life.