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Lactation consultants make house calls, promote breastfeeding

(WISH-TV photo: Indy Lactation Care)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s World Breastfeeding Week. It is an annual celebration to highlight the benefits of breast milk. 

In Central Indiana, some local lactation consultants are helping moms and babies navigate nursing by making house calls. Most of the time, it’s covered by insurance, but the key is letting moms know the help is there.

“Breastfeeding was always in my plan. It was definitely something I hoped for, and I did not think it would be so hard,” said Ashley Dugan, a mother using the services of Indy Lactation Care.

Dugan and her 6-month-old baby, Clare, are thriving after a long breastfeeding journey. Clare is finally gaining weight as she should. Dugan has the reassurance that her baby is healthy at home, with help from ‘Indy Lactation Care‘ and Registered Nurse Beth Brewer.

“It really made the world of difference. My postpartum experience went from brutal, to excellent,” Dugan said.

Brewer said, “I really just want them to know that they’re not alone. That we are here for them every step of the way. That it is normal to have bumps in the road.”

Those bumps in the road can be isolating, painful and reduce human milk being given to babies. Local board-certified lactation consultants are working to change that.

“We are so blessed to get to walk with families in the journey,” said Kathy Thomas, owner of Indy Lactation Care.

“We want to support the woman where she is,” she said.

Thomas says the house calls are catching on, and 80% of the time it’s covered by insurance.

“You can have that prenatal visit. You can visit as often as you want. 100% paid for by your insurance company,” she said.

Brewer added, “Every mom’s breastfeeding experience is different. But there are benefits to be had for mom and baby – whatever that situation looks like.”

According to the CDC, breast milk protects babies against illness, and shared antibodies help their immune systems. Breastfeeding also helps reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Thomas said, “The longer we breastfeed, the more health benefits for both mom and baby.”

With World Breastfeeding Week, the goal is to focus on the baby and mom. This year’s theme is ‘Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work.”

According to the World Health Organization: 

  • More than half a billion working women are not given essential maternity protections in national laws. 
  • Only 20% of countries require employers to provide employees with paid breaks and facilities for breastfeeding or expressing milk. 
  • Fewer than half of infants under 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed.

According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every Aug.1-7 in commemoration of the 1990 Innocenti Declaration. WBW started in 1992, with annual themes including healthcare systems, women and work, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, community support, ecology, economy, science, education, and human rights. Since 2016, WBW aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2018, a World Health Assembly resolution endorsed WBW as an important breastfeeding promotion strategy.

“World breastfeeding week gives us the opportunity to get the word out and say not only is human milk the best option for your baby – but when you have that as a resource, but also, there is help out there,” Thomas said.

For Dugan and baby Clare, the future is bright. Now she hopes other moms get the help they need.

“Reach out to Indy Lactation Care,” Dugan said.

The lactation consultants say fed is best, whatever that looks like, and baby formula is needed in many cases too. The nurses at Indy Lactation Care are there to help, and moms can reach out before they even have their babies. People interested in help can reach out to them here.