The Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition and Oswego County Opportunities recently hosted a baby shower at Oswego Hospital for new mothers and expectant mothers from the community.
An annual event, the Baby Shower was spearheaded by the breastfeeding coalition, an organization consisting of representatives from local businesses and health & nutrition providers who strive to promote and support breastfeeding families.
Facilitated by Lisa Emmons, coalition chairperson and owner of Mother Earth Baby, the shower featured several enlightening presentations regarding the expectations of motherhood and the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as education and discussion regarding nutrition throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and what to expect while in the hospital for delivery.
Kim Kelley, certified lactation consultant with OCO’s WIC program, said the breastfeeding presentations were a perfect complement to the efforts of the breastfeeding support program offered through WIC.
“Our peer advocates — mothers who have previously or are currently breastfeeding — offer the proper education necessary for expectant mothers to successfully begin breastfeeding. They strive to educate, encourage and empower mothers who would like to breastfeed their children,” Kelley said.
As part of the breastfeeding component the event hosted a panel of six nursing mothers.
Made up of a cross-section of full-time employees, stay-at-home moms and full-time students the panel fielded questions from those in attendance regarding breastfeeding.
“It was good opportunity to engage in open conversation with mothers who are willing to candidly share their stories. The nursing mothers answered questions, and addressed some of the myths and concerns regarding breastfeeding,” said Kelley.
As no baby shower is complete without gifts, each mother at the event went home with a handmade double-ring sling.
Community volunteers, Kathy Fenlon, Jessica Heindorf, and Cathy Smith assisted the mothers in preparing the fabric and sewing their own double-ring sling.
Upon completion, the mothers were taught the advantages of using the slings.
“Baby wearing offers several advantages – especially for those little beans who just love to be snuggled! Parents are able to securely carry a newborn or a toddler and still have two free hands. Infants are less fussy when they’re worn, and mothers tend to have an easier time responding to feeding cues,” explained Kelley.
In addition to the slings, attendees received gift bags and a chance to win door prizes including: hand made quilts courtesy of the Lake County Quilt Guild, a diaper cake courtesy of REACH CNY, and car seats courtesy of the Oswego County Traffic Safety Board.
“It was a wonderful learning experience for our mothers and an excellent way to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. I’m happy that we were able to collaborate with the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition, Oswego Health, Mother Earth Baby, and Cornell Cooperative Extension to make this event possible,” said Kelley.
In an effort to continue raising awareness, creating community connections, and supporting local breastfeeding families, the breastfeeding coalition has registered Oswego as an official site for The Big Latch On.
“This is an international event. Breastfeeding women around the world will come together at registered locations where at a set time, they will all latch on their child for one minute while being counted by witnesses. In 2013, a record 14,536 women participated across the globe, including many here in Oswego,” Kelley said.
This year’s event, hosted by the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition, will be held in Oswego Aug. 2 at a place and time to be announced.
For more information on the Big Latch On, like the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition on Facebook and contact Lisa Emmons at Mother Earth Baby (315) 216-4622.
For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, or the many services offered through the WIC Program, you may visit their main office located at the OCO Oswego Health Center, 10 George Street in Oswego, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or call 343-1311, or toll free (888) 730-3803.