Mount Saint Mary’s Hospital is the latest recipient of a Workplace Breastfeeding Friendly designation certificate issued by the Niagara County Department of Health.
Daniel J. Stapleton, county Public Health Director, recently awarded a certificate to the hospital along with Elise Pignatora, the county’s Planning and Emergency Preparedness Director. Pignatora is also a certified lactation counselor and heads the county’s lactation program. Gina Penque, the hospital’ s lactation coordinator, who is an international board certified lactation consultant, along with registered nurse Maryann Cogdill, the hospital’s maternity department director, accepted the award on behalf of the hospital.
The award is part of an ongoing public health initiative to solicit partnerships, provide guidance, and support Niagara County businesses that accommodate lactating women in the workplace. Employers that provide accommodations are recognized for meeting or exceeding Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace guidelines.
“Mount St. Mary's is thrilled to be acknowledged as being a leader in supporting our breastfeeding employees and mothers in the community,” said Cogdill. “It empowers women in our county to make the best decisions in preventive medicine.”
The county’s lactation program aligns with the county’s mission to reduce infant mortality, illness and hospitalizations, as well as prevent or lower the incidence of obesity, long-term immune disorders, chronic diseases and developmental delays.
“Breastfeeding benefits children, their families and our entire community,” Stapleton said. “Forging partnerships with businesses in this initiative helps bolster health and economic security in our Niagara County communities.”
Experts state that exclusively feeding babies human milk for the first 6 months of life and continuing through the first year of life or beyond translates into a remarkable array of short and long term health benefits, as well as significant savings for employers and taxpayers.
“As a father of three healthy children, I can attest to the positive effects of breastfeeding on infant health and well-being,” said Niagara County Legislator Richard Andres Jr. (R-NT). “As a steward of taxpayer dollars, better infant health and less need for formula cuts costs to insurances, as well as to public assistance programs. Accommodating breastfeeding mothers in the workplace means mothers are more likely to continue to work, support their families and contribute to our economy.”
According to a cost analysis published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, if 80 percent of U.S. families complied with medical recommendations to breastfeed infants exclusively for the first 6 months, the U.S. would save $10.5 billion and prevent 741 annual infant deaths.
For more information, visit http://www.niagaracounty.com/health/Services/Lactation-and-Breastfeeding.