OSWEGO - The Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition (OCBC) and Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) WIC program recently hosted a baby shower at Oswego Hospital for new and expectant mothers from the community. An annual event, the baby shower was spearheaded by the OCBC, an organization consisting of representatives from Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) WIC Program, OPTIONS, Oswego Health, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, REACH CNY, Cayuga Community College, Mother Earth Baby, Oswego County OBGYN, Oswego County Health Department, and community members that strive to promote and support breastfeeding families.
“The goal of our community baby shower is to educate expectant mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding and accessing community resources that will help them become successful breast feeding mothers,” said Oswego County Breast Feeding Coalition President Amanda Barbera, CLC, of REACH CNY.
“Studies have shown that there are many benefits to breastfeeding,” added WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Mary Ellen Pierce, CDN, IBCLC. “Healthier babies are less apt to be sick and develop ear infections. Breastfeeding also protects babies against risk factors related to SIDS, and reduces the risks for breastfeeding mothers against some types of cancer.”
The shower featured several presentations regarding the expectations of motherhood and the benefits of breastfeeding and covered a number of educational topics such as breast anatomy and what to expect and what will happen with their body, how breastfeeding works, positioning the baby for nursing, determining how much food the baby needs, how to know when the baby is getting enough, the importance of proper nutrition throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and what to expect while in the hospital for delivery. Other presentations focused on safety issues and proper installations of car seats, and the convenience of and the proper way to carry the baby with a baby sling.
In addition to the presentations the event featured a panel of nursing mothers that are advocates for breastfeeding. The panel, which included peer advocates from the WIC program, shared their experiences and fielded questions regarding breastfeeding.
“It was an opportunity to engage in open conversation with mothers that are willing to candidly share their stories,” added Pierce. “Our peer advocates - mothers who have previously or are currently breastfeeding - offer the proper education necessary for expectant mothers to successfully begin breastfeeding. They are an excellent resource as they provide education and encouragement while empowering mothers who would like to breastfeed their children.”
As no baby shower is complete without gifts, each mother at the event went home with a gift bag from Fidelis Care and a handmade double-ring sling. The slings allow parents to securely carry a newborn or a toddler and still have two free hands. Lisa Emmons of Mother Earth Baby along with other facilitators assisted the mothers in preparing the fabric and sewing their own double-ring sling. Upon completion, the mothers were taught the proper way to use the sling and the many advantages it offers.
The event concluded with a tour of Oswego Hospital’s OB Unit.
The Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition Baby Shower and other events it hosts are made possible solely through donations of foods, fabric, and funds from area businesses and the participating agencies. “The support that we receive is greatly appreciated. I would also like to acknowledge Oswego Hospital and the Fulton Walmart for providing refreshments and United Healthcare Insurance. Their support helps to ensure that we will be able to hold this event for years to come. Those wishing to help support the efforts of the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition may contact Lisa Emmons, at 315-216-4622,” added Pierce.
For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, or the many services offered through the WIC Program, people may visit their main office located at the OCO Oswego Health Center, 10 George St. in Oswego, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., or call them at 315-343-1311, or toll free 1-888-730-3803.
OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations. For more information, visit www.oco.org.