Vermont Business Magazine Nothing is more important in the first few weeks of a baby’s life than learning to feed. Supporting newborns, and older children too, to thrive and grow is the basic task of parenting. Breastfeeding, while natural and sometimes easy, can be the most challenging piece of the newborn period.
Luckily, there is support for families with a new baby, however they are feeding their newborn. Katy Leffel, RN, CLC, is the Maternal-Child Health (MCH) supervisor at Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice (CVHHH). She, with her team of nurses, visit hundreds of families in central Vermont, supporting them in the first critical months at home.
“Often, when I meet with community partners to talk about the range of breastfeeding and the obstetrical and pediatric supports that CVHHH offers,” says Katy, “people are surprised to learn that my team provides lactation support for mothers and babies at home seven days a week, including holidays.
According to Katy, the importance of early support in the home, where mother and infant can rest, dramatically improves success later in life. While Vermont has a great rate of breastfeeding initiation, the rates drop dramatically in the first few weeks after mom and baby leave the hospital. There is still a lot of work to do to adequately support women who want to breastfeed.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness month. Earlier this month, members of CVHHH’s MCH team gathered on the State House lawn in Montpelier for the Big Latch On! The Big Latch On! is an international event, locally organized by the Department of Health in Barre, which celebrates a cause — breastfeeding — that is near and dear to CVHHH’s heart.
CVHHH’s MCH team supports women having their first or third child because every breastfeeding experience — like every child — is unique. “Of course, we recognize that many women choose not to breastfeed, and many choose to combine formula and breast milk,” says Katy. “My goal is to ensure that central Vermont women who want to breastfeed are armed with the tools and information — plus a few expert tips and tricks — to have a successful experience.”
Each member of CVHHH’s MCH team is trained to provide one-on-one lactation support at home for women and their babies. Often, women experience the same handful of challenges when they try to breastfeed. These include trouble latching, soreness, exhaustion, and under and over supply of breast milk.
CVHHH believes that every mother and family deserve to have the best pregnancy, birth, and infant feeding experience possible. While we recognize that breastfeeding is not possible for every new mother, our lactation-trained nurses can meet each mother where they are with one-on-one attention and care.
Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice (CVHHH) is a full-service, not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Association committed to providing high-quality, medically-necessary home health and hospice care to all central Vermonters, regardless of ability to pay. CVHHH also provides long-term care and health promotion services.
Source: CVHHH. To learn more about CVHHH’s services, visit www.cvhhh.org.