FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s breastfeeding support group, Mom & Me, has resumed in-person meetings, Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Women’s Health Clinic.
Mom & Me provides breastfeeding mothers of infants age newborn to 12 months, weekly access to the hospital’s lactation consultants without an appointment. Moms may discuss any concerns they have and track their baby’s growth.
“It is also an opportunity for moms to meet other lactating or breastfeeding moms, which enables them to develop peer-to-peer relationships for mutual support,” said Mom & Me co-facilitator Ms. Lesli Eiland, a registered nurse and certified lactation consultant on BACH’s Mother-Baby Unit.
“It’s nice. Mainly for me, to meet other moms and make sure he is still on track for his weight,” said Pfc. Jacqueline Kerchner, a Mom & Me participant who attends with her four-month old son.
Upon arrival at Mom & Me, each week, participants check their infant’s weight pre-feeding and again post-feeding to get an idea of how much breast milk their infant is taking.
“They can see that their baby has gained weight, which is reassuring. They can also see how much milk the baby took during that particular feeding, which can boost their confidence in their choice to breastfeed their baby,” said Eiland.
“His weight has been a struggle, so it’s nice to know he’s eating,” said Kerchner.
After comparing her baby’s pre-feeding and post-feeding weight during the group, co-facilitator, Ms. Audrey Sundbye, BACH’s outpatient lactation consultant, determined Kerchner’s baby ate four ounces during his feeding at Mom & Me, and his body weight went up from the 17th to 22nd percentile on his infant growth chart since his last appointment.
The group had been on hiatus since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but was recently given the go-ahead to resume with specific COVID-19 mitigation measures in place.
The group’s attendance is currently limited to moms and their infants, age 12 months and under. Participants should be free from COVID-19 infection, recent COVID exposure or COVID-like symptoms when attending a group meeting. Due to social distancing requirements the group is unable to accommodate siblings and guests, at this time, in order to allow maximum participation for breastfeeding moms seeking assistance.
Fort Campbell Child and Youth Services provides fee-based, short term hourly care for up to three hours at a time for parents who may need childcare for siblings. Parents need to pre-enroll their child at Fort Campbell’s CYS before they may sign-up for hourly care. To register visit https://campbell.armymwr.com/programs/parent-central-services.
“Breastfeeding is good for moms. It reduces their chances of ovarian cancer, reduces the chances of breast cancer and it also helps them recover quicker after they deliver. For babies, they have decreased allergies, decreased childhood obesity later on, and decreased infections and decreased chances of asthma later on in life,” Eiland explained.
Lactation support personnel at military treatment facilities or through TRICARE are available to help service members and other TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiaries reach their breast-feeding or lactation goals. Beneficiaries may also meet one-on-one with a lactation consultant through a scheduled appointment.
“We’re here to help. Our job is to give the tools to empower moms to be as successful as they can be on their breastfeeding journey,” Eiland said.
Mom & Me meets each Monday except federal holidays.