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Montefiore Promotes the Value of Breastfeeding

Patients, Community and Associates Learn About Health Benefits for Mom and Baby

NEW YORK (August 7, 2013) – Montefiore Medical Center is increasing its efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding with a comprehensive calendar of events in recognition of World Breastfeeding Week 2013. Montefiore’s week-long program, which started on August 5, educates patients, the community and its associates about how valuable breastfeeding is for moms and babies.

“At Montefiore, we encourage all of our new mothers to breastfeed their babies so they may enjoy the proven, long-term health benefits throughout their lives,” said Nadine Katz, M.D., vice president and medical director, Einstein Campus, Montefiore, and professor of Clinical Ob-Gyn and Women's Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University “Montefiore has a longstanding commitment to promoting and supporting breastfeeding among our families and within our community and we have equipped our staff with the information, skills and resources they need to help new mothers successfully initiate and sustain breastfeeding.”

Lack of confidence and the perception that the mother’s colostrum (the protein-rich early milk that new mothers produce while the baby’s digestive system matures) is not sufficient for the baby are the most common reasons new mothers ask for formula.

While breastfeeding plays an important role in the bonding of a mother and child, it also has significant health benefits that cannot be achieved with formula, according to Montefiore experts. These include:

  • Breastfed infants have decreased risk of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory and ear infections, allergic skin disorders and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Formula interferes with the immune system.
  • Breastfeeding decreases hospitalizations and pediatric clinic visits.
  • Breastfed infants have decreased rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and childhood leukemia.
  • Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of diabetes, breast and ovarian cancers.
  • Breastfeeding translates to hundreds of dollars of savings at the family level and billions of dollars at the national level.
  • Breastfeeding for nine months reduces a baby's odds of becoming overweight by more than 30 percent.

As a result of its efforts, Montefiore became one of the New York City hospitals to participate in “Latch On NYC,” a citywide initiative created in 2012 by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to support mothers who breastfeed their infants.  Montefiore’s commitment to Latch On consists of educating pregnant women, new mothers and their families about the benefits of breastfeeding. Part of its program to encourage and sustain breastfeeding includes removing formula companies’ advertising, promotions and free samples from the maternity department.

Montefiore’s patient outreach efforts educate women about breastfeeding prior to delivery, making certain that an explanation of their options is devoid of commercial interests. Montefiore will not distribute formula to new mothers unless they request it and they have the opportunity to discuss their concerns about their baby’s feeding with a trained staff member.  Additionally, mothers have the right to indicate that bottles and pacifiers are not to be used with their children while in the hospital. In addition to helping patients make the choice that’s right for them, Montefiore offers lactation stations on its campuses for employees who breastfeed. Each station is a private room that contains a sink, refrigerator, and several chairs, providing a sanitary and secure location for associates to pump their breast milk.