HURON — Huron Regional Medical Center is pleased to announce Jeannie Keating and Dawn Johnson, registered nurses who work in HRMC’s Birthing Center, and delivering physician Alese Fox, MD, have recently achieved Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) designation from the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, Inc.
The announcement comes during World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), a global celebration that recurs annually during the first week of August to encourage the practice of breastfeeding for all families.
HRMC has long supported delivering mothers’ choices when it comes to breast milk or formula feeding and has offered certified lactation support since 2014. HRMC nursing staff offer bedside assistance with feeding and positioning and can also answer questions about nutrition and newborn feeding. This certification allows the newly certified trio to continue to support mom and baby after they leave the hospital and to help moms reach their long-term goals.
“Most people know or have heard that ‘breast is best,’ and can understand the benefits breast milk offers growing infants,” said Johnson, who has been a maternity nurse for more than 34 years. “It may be best, but it isn’t always easy – as a maternity nurse, I am grateful to be able to help a new mom achieve her goal of breastfeeding.”
New moms will often struggle when they first start the process and certified lactation counselors provide crucial support by assisting moms and babies through their personal challenges to meet their goals and to help them to understand that their challenges do not reflect negatively on the mom.
To achieve the CLC designation, Johnson, Keating and Dr. Fox completed a 45-hour classroom, evidence-based lactation management course, which included practical skills, theoretical foundations and competency verification. The classes were held in Mitchell with the exam presented the final day of the week.
CLCs understand that breastfeeding decisions are made by the mother and use a counseling approach to provide appropriate support to the mother and her family. They also work in the community to increase breastfeeding rates, teach breastfeeding classes and assist mothers in successfully breastfeeding exclusively and for longer durations.
Teri Weidner-Eichstadt, who is also an HRMC Birthing Center nurse, and Amy Mattke, a nurse with HRMC’s Women’s Wellness Center, also hold the CLC certification in addition to being accredited as an international board-certified lactation counselors (IBCLC). They host the Huron Area Breastfeeding Support Group on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m. in the HRMC Birthing Center 3rd floor conference room (OB floor of the main hospital).
“Becoming certified is something I’ve wanted to do for many years, and I enjoyed the additional education and training, which allows me to help families in our community to the best of my ability,” said Johnson. “Working as a maternity nurse, I see firsthand the need for lactation assistance because even though breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, it does not always come naturally.”
To maintain the certifications, a minimum of 18 hours of continuing education specific to breastfeeding and support is required every three years.
In addition to support during their hospital stay, expectant moms learn the benefits of breastfeeding, proper positioning, newborn feeding cues and how to tell if baby is receiving enough breast milk during Prenatal Classes offered at HRMC. To learn more or register for Prenatal Classes, visit www.huronregional.org/online-services.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding or would like a presentation to your group about the topic, call the HRMC Birthing Center at 353-6251.