Strong babies are back!

I am the mother of two strong sons who got their healthy start when I committed to breastfeeding them when they were born.

I’m also a nurse and I’ve worked for many years with new mothers and their premature babies. One of the things research has shown – and we’ve seen through our experiences – is that newborns have a better chance of survival – and actually thriving – when they receive their nutrition through their mother’s milk. In fact, we feel so strongly about it at Children’s Hospital that we’ve invested in a Lactation program staffed by specially trained nurses.

I work for an organization that is committed to healthy employees. Children’s Hospital and Health System, of which Children’s Hospital is a part, has more than 5,000 employees in more than 100 locations across the state and in northern Illinois. We support women who return to work after giving birth by providing them resources – including lactation rooms to accommodate breast pumping. Clover Barnes, a manager with our clinics, said breastfeeding was the best gift she could give her son. When he was born in November of 2008, Clover talked to her manager about the resources to allow her to continue breastfeeding when she returned to work. Clover says, “I was given a private space, a place to store my milk and the time I needed to ensure my milk supply remained sufficient to nourish my son. I even spoke with one of the lactation consultants at Children’s Hospital when I was having a problem pumping. I was able to successfully breastfeed my son until he was 10 months. I am now 34 weeks pregnant and plan to breastfeed this child as well.”

The City of Milwaukee Health Department in collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin actively supports breastfeeding as the preferred method of providing nutrition to infants. Breast milk contains everything that a baby needs for proper growth and development.

In February 2011, both agencies partnered with Serve Marketing to launch a campaign aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates among Milwaukee mothers, particularly those in the African American community.

Thank you for the opportunity to share the important and positive messages about breastfeeding.

~ Lisa Jentsch, director of Newborn and Fetal Care Services at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Children’s Hospital is a winner in online contest – thanks to all of you!

I have some exciting news to share with you. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is one of six hospitals to win $5,000 worth of breastfeeding products in an online contest.

The contest was sponsored by Medela, a leading maker of breastfeeding and breast pumping products. It was held to recognize national Prematurity Awareness Month in November. In the contest, people were asked to visit the Medela website and vote for their favorite Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Children’s Hospital was one of the top six vote-getters with 4,750 votes.

We’ll be splitting our prize between the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee and at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Neenah, Wis.

Thank you to all the patient families, friends of the hospitals and our employees who voted for us.

This generous prize is going to be put to great use. Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies. Time and again, studies have shown breast milk gives babies a boost in health, growth, fighting illness and development. The babies in our NICUs are among the most fragile in the region and they really benefit from the advantages breast milk offers.

Thank you again for your support.

~ Lisa Jentsch, director of Newborn and Fetal Care Services

Help us win an online contest for our babies

In more than two decades of working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, I have seen firsthand how devastating it can be when a baby is born prematurely.

Today, 1 in 8 babies in the U.S. is born too early and it’s the No. 1 cause of infant death. Prematurity also can lead to lifelong disability.

Children’s Hospital has two NICUs. Our Milwaukee hospital cares for more than 700 newborns a year, and our Fox Valley hospital cares for more than 300 a year. Many of these babies are struggling with the consequences of prematurity.

You can help us care for these babies by voting in an online contest sponsored by Medela, a leading maker of breastfeeding and breast pumping products. During November, go to www.MedelaPreemieAwareness.com, register on the site and vote for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin or Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. You only are allowed to vote once. The six hospitals with the most votes will win $5,000 worth of breastfeeding products.

Learn more about prematurity and what you can do to help by visiting marchofdimes.com.

~ Lisa Jentsch, director of Newborn and Fetal Care Services