Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Join in Promoting the Benefits of Breastfeeding With RVA Latches On! on Saturday, August 2


For the third consecutive year, RVA Latches On! encourages nursing mothers to come together with their children and babies to participate in synchronized breast-feeding. This year’s RVA Latches On! event is scheduled for Saturday, August 2 at the Capitol Square Bell Tower, at the intersection of 9th and East Franklin streets. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. however participants should arrive at 10 a.m. for registration. Parking is available in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church garage. Entrance to the garage is on 8th Street between East Grace and East Franklin streets. For more information please visit bit.ly/RVALatchesOn.

RVA Latches On! is sponsored by the Richmond Health Action Alliance, a Healthy Communities Action Team (HCAT) funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and administered by the Richmond Healthy Start Initiative, a division of the City of Richmond Department of Social Services. The Richmond Health Action Alliance seeks to reduce childhood obesity in the city of Richmond through policy, infrastructure and environmental changes that promote a breastfeeding-friendly and physically active community. RVA Latches On! is supported through partnerships with VCU Medical Center, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, HCA Healthcare, Anthem Healthkeepers Plus, Capitol Area Health Network, William Byrd Community House and Nurture.

“The City of Richmond is proud to be a lead sponsor of RVA Latches On! as it raises awareness of breastfeeding’s critical and lifelong benefits, and reflects active community involvement in supporting our newest families in reaching their breastfeeding goals. This is a truly wonderful educational event for new mothers that would not be possible without the support of Mayor Dwight Jones’ Breastfeeding Commission," said Rose Stith-Singleton, Richmond Healthy Start Initiative Project Director. “According to a recent Bartik and Reinhold study, the United States incurs $13 billion a year in excess pediatric health care costs because mothers are not able to breastfeed their children according to medical recommendations. And, behind every health care dollar lost, is the human cost of preventable, sometimes life-threatening illness.”

"VCU Medical Center is delighted to support RVA Latches On! with our health care colleagues in the community. We all want what is best for our infants and mothers, and breastfeeding is the most effective prevention, boosting babies with antibodies that will fight infection and promote health from the earliest days and beyond," said Dr. Gauri Gulati, a pediatrician and board certified lactation consultant who provides comprehensive breastfeeding support through the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. “With breastfeeding, the return on investment is enormous for families, the community and employers. For every 1,000 babies not breastfed, there is an excess of 2,033 physician visits, 212 days in the hospital and 609 prescriptions. Our job as healthcare providers is to ensure that all families are aware of the benefits of breast milk and the risks associated with not receiving breast milk to allow them to make a truly informed decision.”

In 2012, VCU Medical Center was selected in a highly competitive process as one of 90 hospitals in the United States to participate in a collaborative, Best Fed Beginnings, to improve outcomes for mothers and infants by increasing the initiation and duration rates of breastfeeding and is in the final phase of pursuing the Baby Friendly Hospital designation. This is a tremendous effort to help decrease infant mortality and promote the well-being of mothers and children in Richmond, VA.

“Bon Secours is proud to support RVA Latches On! to increase awareness of the important health benefits associated with breastfeeding,” said Blake Slusser, Women’s Services Director of Education for Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Everyone at Bon Secours is committed to being good help to the communities we serve. This includes not only treating diseases, but preventing them whenever possible. Research shows that infants who are breastfed have stronger immune systems, lower risk for allergies, and a decreased incidence of childhood cancers and other diseases. The benefits continue throughout childhood and into that baby’s adult life. There are also positive health benefits for mom, as mothers who breastfeed are at a lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Knowing this, it is crucial that we give women the opportunities to learn more about breastfeeding before the baby arrives and give them the tools they need to succeed early in baby’s life. This type of event is a great chance to raise awareness of the many health benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby.”

Bon Secours is committed to helping moms succeed at breastfeeding by offering classes and nursing mothers’ support groups through their Love and Learn program, practicing Family Centered Maternity Care with access to Lactation Consultants during mom and baby’s hospital stay, and providing families a place to turn when they need support once they are home through A Woman’s Place Lactation Center and Boutique. Bon Secours not only supports its patients, but also employees with pumping locations at every facility and steeply discounted breast pumps for purchase.

“The 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card issued by the Centers for Disease Control, reports that 77 percent of infants in the U.S. start breastfeeding and we are making progress in increasing this number. HCA Virginia supports breastfeeding efforts such as skin to skin contact, breastfeeding in labor and delivery and keeping mothers and their babies together - recognizing that the immediate postpartum time is critical in establishing successful breastfeeding,” said Denise DiCicco, Lactation Services Coordinator, HCA Virginia. “Participation in RVA Latches On! provides an additional opportunity for HCA Virginia to partner with families, communities and our health care colleagues to raise awareness of the benefits that breastfeeding provides as well as collaborating to increase the numbers of infants who continue to breastfeed for at least one year.”