TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – About 2 thousand babies are born at Stormont Vail each year. In 2016, 47 percent of mothers breastfed their babies. That number grew to 76 percent last year, and it all has to do with how the hospital is working with new moms.
On May 15, 2019, Topeka parents Krystal Galicia and Jermaine Parker had their first baby girl, Elia Jaxine Parker.
Krystal says she plans to breastfeed Elia for at least a year, to protect her from diseases early on.
“When she is young and can’t get her shots. That’s the main concern because you hear about measles outbreaks,” says Krystal.
“(Babies) are too young for vaccines until a couple of months old and then the vaccinations start. So protecting them within those first couple of months can be very important,” explains Laura Odom, a registered nurse at Stormont Vail.
Laura says moms are able to pass immunity on to the baby through their breast milk and antibodies. Breastfeeding has also been shown to lower a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer in the future.
More accessibility to breast pumps is also making a difference.
Laura says, “With the Affordable Care Act, insurance agencies are now providing a breast pump for moms, which is an amazing benefit for them. A lot of moms have to go back to work after a few months and having that pump is one of the best ways they can maintain their milk production when they are away from their baby.”
Stormont Vail also credits its free local programs for increasing the number of mothers who only breastfeed their baby.
“We have free child birth and breastfeeding preparation classes. We also have an OB Nurse Navigator who visits with patients prenatally. We also have an amazing Breastfeeding Support Center, where you can come back after having your baby and get free services to help make sure your baby is gaining enough (weight) and mom is making enough (milk),” Laura explains.
Krystal says, “By going to breastfeeding clinic, if I have questions and concerns, they’re able to help me and give me advice on what to do.
We come every few days as a benefit to keep it up. They help us with what we are doing at home, and ask how much she is eating, so that way we know how I can produce more and she can have enough.”
Resources to help keep both mom and baby happy and healthy for many years to come.
For more information on Stormont Vail’s Breastfeeding Center visit: