OSWEGO – As one of the fastest growing segments of the American workforce, the contributions of working mothers are essential to a strong economy. Yet working mothers can also struggle to balance their career and work demands with their childbearing plans and caregiving. As the largest health system in Oswego County, Oswego Health certainly understands the benefits and supports an employee’s decision to breastfeed and has recently made accommodations in the workplace.
Oswego Health has always had a designated lactation room at Oswego Hospital for employees to express milk at work, however, it needed a little remodeling and thanks to the Director of Women’s Services, Jessica Leaf, RN, and the Oswego Health Foundation, support for the The project was received from Norma and Jeff Barnes, Oswego Children’s Council and Oswego County OBGYN to provide a more holistic environment for the staff. Soon, the renovated room will host breastfeeding classes and individual sessions for new mothers.
“I look back fondly on the personal support given to me by certain Oswego Hospital staff who helped and supported me while I was breastfeeding my own children,” said Norma Barnes. “It is an honor for my husband and I to offer assistance to new mothers or hospital workers, who need a safe, loving and comfortable place to be able to provide their babies with what they need. Additionally, as co-chair of the Oswego Children’s Board, I am pleased to report that our members are very grateful that this lactation room is being developed and that we are happy to provide additional financial support. so that babies and moms have a comfortable space to use in the future.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for mothers and babies. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces their risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For babies, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months and that breastfeeding continue after the introduction of other foods for at least the first year. This can help prevent infections in babies (such as respiratory infections, diarrhea and ear infections) and may even improve a baby’s survival.
“Our practice and our providers are proud to support this initiative as we are strong advocates for breastfeeding,” said Daniel Mather, Practice Director at OBGYN of Oswego County. “We are pleased to be able to help new moms and Oswego Health employees have a welcoming and comfortable space to encourage continued breastfeeding success.”
Oswego Hospital’s newly renovated lactation room is located directly on the maternity floor and offers a private and calming atmosphere, furnished with a comfortable chair, mini-fridge and built-in bluetooth speaker.
“Understanding the logistics of pumping at work can be difficult and I am so pleased with the renovated space because this environment not only provides our staff with a relaxing and appropriate rest room here at Oswego Hospital, but we will be able to provide space for our patients as well,” said Leaf, RN, Director of Women’s Services at Oswego Health.