Reinstate The Outpatient Lactation Center and Nursing Mothers Group

This petition made change with 1,853 supporters!

On May 20 Winchester Hospital's Outpatient Lactation Center (OLC) was abruptly closed and lactation consultant Janice Palmer was laid off. The OLC provided essential services to new mothers delivering babies at Winchester Hospital as well as many surrounding communities in the form of individual consultations (covered by some insurers or paid out of pocket) and a free weekly Nursing Mother's group facilitated by Lactation Consultant Janice Palmer. The nursing mother's group is much more than just a gathering of mothers and babies -- it is a family 15 years in the making, a strong community, and a life-changing force for those who participated. The nursing mothers group allowed mothers to ask questions at every stage of nursing from the beginning days of mastering a latch to the final days of weaning and everything in between. The information learned and shared in that group went beyond what you would learn by reading a book about nursing or attending a breastfeeding class.

There is substantial evidence in support of the numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers. In fact, breastfeeding can lower the mother's risk of certain breast and ovarian cancers as well as developing type II diabetes. Being breastfed lowers the baby's risk of ear infections, dying of SIDS, and it lowers the risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime—just to name a few of the many health benefits for the baby.

Any mother who has breastfed will tell you, it's not easy! It cannot be mastered in the short hospital stay after delivery. Which is why having a lot of different ways for women to get help and support during their time breastfeeding is crucial for longevity of breastfeeding. Statistics from a CDC (with NIS) report show that roughly one in three women who start breastfeeding in the hospital will stop before six months. This study sites lack of confidence as to why women give up breastfeeding. The support women in our community received at OLC most likely prevented countless women from giving up. The ripple effect of that support means that our community is likely to be healthier, stronger and experience more vitality than communities without an OLC.

Sign this petition to tell Winchester Hospital and Lahey Health you are counting on their commitment to ensure quality care for all patients. Reinstating the Outpatient Lactation Center and the weekly group facilitated by an IBCLC is essential to promoting maternal, child, family and community health.

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