A pair of local residents in the nursing field were acknowledged in Central Baptist Hospital’s Care Central magazine recently for their work with newborn babies and mothers, and anyone who is expecting may want to take note of their work.
Betty Grigsby and Jeri Hahn are registered nurses at Lexington’s Central Baptist Hospital and they’re both trying to get more parents to realize the importance of their area of emphasis.
Grigsby, RN, IBCLC (International board-certified lactation consultant), is encouraging young mothers to choose to breast-feed newborns, as opposed to feeding them formula, which has taken precedent in recent decades.
She said baby formula simply doesn’t offer the same benefits of breast milk.
“Those milks are unable to provide a baby with the antibodies like breast milk,” Grigsby said. “No matter how hard they try that’s one thing they’ll never be able to put in formula, because they’re live cells that the mother has established throughout her lifetime and she passes those on to her baby through breast milk. Basically, the first preventative medicine that babies can get is through breast milk.”
Grigsby leads a breast-feeding clinic at the hospital and the article, Breast is Best, states that the clinic is free of charge for mothers who gave birth at Central Baptist, but that the clinic is also available to anyone else for a fee -- the first visit is free of charge for all moms.
According to Grigsby, breast-feeding fell out of favor during the World Wars, when women were called on to enter the workforce.
“With them being separated from their babies they were unable to breast feed anymore,” she said. “That’s when all of these formula companies started coming out with manufactured milk products for babies, so from World War II until about the 1970s we saw a major decline in breast feeding.”
That change in mentality in the 1970s was a slow progression, but modern-day, the attitude of new mothers toward breast-feeding is turning positive more frequently.
“I definitely think they’re going to breast-feeding more often, and the people I see that want to breast-feed are the young couple that are typically middle to upper class and well-educated.”
The article noted that 70 to 74 percent of mothers that give birth at Central Baptist report that they breast-feed their child, but with more mothers becoming educated about the benefits of nurturing naturally, the article noted that they want to see that number rise even higher.
Apart from the health benefits, Grigsby also pointed out that breast-feeding is a financially- conscious decision, as well.
“Breast feeding is really cheap; it doesn’t cost anything,” she said. “Formula is very expensive and just plain, ordinary formula is going to run them about $2,800 a year.”
Hahn’s work, which also focuses on the relationship between mother and child, caters to The Healing Power of Touch, as the article is entitled.
Hahn, RN, CIMI (certified infant massage instructor), is described in the publication as someone who, “trains parents how to massage their infants to enhance bonding and promote well-being.”
Hahn works with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the infant massage program allows more options for strengthening or rehabilitating newborns.
“We’re trying to teach positive-role modeling to these moms and caregivers,” Hahn said in the article. “When a mom can see her baby reacting to her touch, and she can learn to recognize her baby’s cues, the bond between her and her baby is really strengthened.”
The importance of infant massaging is something that’s been overlooked in the United States, despite existing for centuries in other cultures, as pointed out in the article, but the folks at Central Baptist are looking to be a part of changing that.
“Unfortunately so many of the touches a baby receives in the NICU involve us poking them with needles for IVs and putting in tubes,” Hahn said in the story. “Massage is a way for these babies to learn that not all touch is going to hurt.”
A problem that’s been increasing in magnitude recently is infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or problems that arise as mothers come off of prescribed or non-prescribed medications.
The infants, who are essentially in a form of withdrawal themselves, can be very tough for parents to keep calm, but studies have shown that massaging does just that.
“Massage is very calming, and it’s a wonderful way of bonding with your baby,” Hahn told the publication. “You see an almost instant relaxation of the baby, and that, in turn, helps reinforce with the parent that they can do things to help their baby, even in the NICU.”
To find out more about the breast-feeding clinic or the infant massage program, visit www.centralbap.com.