JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Jacksonville will host the grand opening of its new lactation suite on Monday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m.
The mobile lactation suite for breastfeeding moms is the first of its kind in Navy Medicine. Light refreshments, with milk and cookies, will be served. All are welcome to attend.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers breast milk to be the "gold standard" and "uniquely superior" to any nutritional food source for newborns and developing infants. Breastfeeding is a highly effective and healthy measure that a mom can take to protect the health of her infant.
Clinical research and evidence-based best practices have shown that breastfeeding benefits servicewomen and supports the Navy's mission by reducing absenteeism, and improving morale and retention (thus improving operational readiness and health), as well as decreasing healthcare costs.
The Department of the Navy's policy (OPNAVINST 6000.1C) is to support military servicewomen in breastfeeding, and aligns with American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. The policy advises to breastfeed for the first six months of life, and continue to provide breast milk for the remainder of the child's first year.
Sometimes, work can seem like a barrier to continued breastfeeding. To counter this, NBHC Jacksonville, in partnership with its parent command, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, purchased a mobile lactation suite. It can seat two on each side, with room for a stroller or wheelchair, either two mom-and-baby couplets or a lactation consultant to assist mom.
We strategically placed the suite to be accessible to all active duty, reservist, and family members at the clinic. So far, the lactation suite has been well received and used by numerous active duty and reserve breastfeeding moms.
As an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and perinatal clinical nurse specialist, I'm proud to be part of this effort to support our servicewomen.
The hospital also offers comfortable spaces to breastfeed and pump, including a "Milky Way" room in the Pediatrics Clinic. Naval Hospital Jacksonville was the first hospital on Florida's "First Coast" to earn the prestigious "Baby Friendly" designation from World Health Organization and UNICEF. Expecting and new moms and dads can sign up for a variety of free classes by calling 904-542-BABY (-2229). The hospital also offers private birthing suites, nitrous oxide as an option for laboring moms, skin-to-skin care for cesarean section births, nurse childbirth educators, and lactation consultants.
For more on breastfeeding, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding.
NBHC Jacksonville is one of Naval Hospital Jacksonville's six health care facilities located across Georgia and Florida. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics. Of its patient population (163,000 active and retired Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Guardsmen, and their families), about 84,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities. To find out more or download the command's mobile app, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/navalhospitaljax.
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For more news from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhjax/.