Our honorees in 2008 include:
- GRMC for supporting breastfeeding in the community
- Cellular Connections for supporting breastfeeding employees
- Dr. Maria Eugenia Trillo for supporting student parents
Theme: Mother Support: Going for the Gold. Everybody wins when mothers breastfeed. Gold represents the best effort an individual or entity makes in supporting breastfeeding women. The word "gold" raises awareness of the superiority and the normalcy of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the gold standard of infant feeding, against which all other feeding methods must be measured.
Silver City, NM: A few years ago Mindy Suhr noticed the hallways of Gila Regional Medical Center were filling up with pregnant women, not patients but employees. As Director of Maternal Child Health, Suhr knew that those future mothers would require specific accommodations when they returned to work to ensure the health of their children and their happiness as employees, "A lactation room, a nice area with privacy and comfort to support breastfeeding mothers. At that time, before the new state law, nursing moms at GRMC had to come to the back of the nursery or duck behind room dividers for a little privacy if they needed to pump milk."
Suhr is referring to the recent New Mexico law that requires employers to provide "a clean, private space, not a bathroom, in order to foster the ability of a nursing mother who is an employee to use a breast pump in the workplace (NMSA 1978, Section 28-20-2)."
GRMC provided such a space a few years before the new legislation with the help of the hospital's Planetree philosophy, an innovative healthcare model that focus on healing and nurturing body, mind and spirit of patients and caregivers. Planetree Director, Tim Lopez says "The Planetree Breastfeeding Room is available to mothers who are Caregivers, inpatients and discharged patients whose infants must remain as patients in our facility."
Suhr says the breastfeeding room came together quickly once the commitment was made, "We found a space near the nursery area, and Home Furniture donated a recliner for a comfortable place for the mothers to sit. One of the nurses made curtains, and now we have a CD player for music and a refrigerator to store breast milk. We put up a bulletin board so moms can post a picture of their baby, because the picture can help moms relax and pump easier." GRMC has an occupied sign on the door so mothers won't be disturbed while breastfeeding or pumping.
The lengths GRMC went to accommodate their breastfeeding mothers has earned an award from the Southwest Breastfeeding Council for promoting breastfeeding in the community. Council coordinator, Beverly Allen-Ananins says, "Businesses that support breastfeeding mothers are supporting a healthy community. A recent study `Workplace Breastfeeding Report' says supporting women who are breastfeeding their babies reduces absenteeism, lowers health care costs and improves productivity. What a great benefit for supporting what comes naturally!"
The New Mexico law also requires employers to offer flexible break time give mother's the opportunity to pump on a staggered schedule to allow for milk production, and the state law goes one step further than most other states by mandating the space not be a bathroom. Mary Gruszka, R.N., IBCLC, an international board certified lactation consultant at GRMC, says sanitation is the main reason for the exclusion of bathrooms in the law as a location to pump milk, "You're preparing food and I don't know of any other instant you would prepare food in a bathroom. Plus its very important for a mother to feel comfortable for the milk to let down, and not many people are comfortable sitting in a bathroom stall with people coming in and out." Gruszka is available to consult with business owners about creating areas for breast pumping at their business. Her services are free of charge to the community thanks to the support of GRMC.
The legislative support for breastfeeding mothers was desperately needed in New Mexico, where 80 percent of mothers reported breastfeeding, but by 6 months the number of breastfeeding mothers whom maintained breastfeeding their babies plummeted to 41 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control's Breastfeeding Report Card in 2007. With the Department of Labor reporting 56 percent of mothers with children under the age of three are employed outside the home, it became important to recognize employment might hinder a mother's nutritional choice for her baby.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk is the preferable food for all infants and offers a variety of health benefits including healthier babies who are less prone to infections, have fewer allergies, and a decrease risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Allen-Ananins says "With all the benefits attributed to breastfeeding, it's important to create an environment where mother's feel supported to breastfeed whether in the public or the workplace. Gila Regional Medical Center deserves recognition for the contributions they have made in that effort for their employees and patients." Allen-Ananins decision to work at GRMC's Grant County Health Council over other offered position in the state was due to the fact she was a nursing mother at the time and GRMC offered a lactation room and even had signs saying breastfeeding was welcome.
Suhr has further plans for creating an environment to support mothers, "We are close to opening a breastfeeding room at the Wellness Center." If all that wasn't enough to earn GRMC the award, the hospital has added Gruska as a lactation consultant available to breastfeeding mothers to offer support and information. "If someone is having difficulty breastfeeding, I can come in and offer assistance." Gruszka can be reached at the First Born Program office at 388-9708 ext. 11.
For more information on the Southwest New Mexico Breastfeeding Council or the laws that support breastfeeding call 388-1198 ext. 10.
Cellular Connection owners Garvin and Heather Grant made it possible for employee Kim Murillo to breastfeed her son, Ryan Gutierrez, 19 months, while she was at work. Heather says, " I breastfed my children at work and it created such a close bond, and I wanted to give a chance to Kim for that experience as well." (Pictured right to left) Heather with son, Mekhi, 7 months, Garvin with son, Kenyon, 2 years old, and Kim with Ryan. All three children were breastfeed by their mothers while at work.
Silver City, New Mexico, August 5, 2008: When Kim Murillo had her son, Ryan Gutierrez, she wanted to breastfeed and continue working at Cellular Connection. Owners Garvin and Heather Grant were committed to supporting Kim's decision to do both. "Kim's been with us since the beginning of our business, and we wanted to give her the opportunity to be successful as a mother," says Gavin.
The support Murillo received from her employers has earned Cellular Connection the local business award for promoting breastfeeding in the community from the Southwest Breastfeeding Council. Council coordinator, Beverly Allen-Ananins says, "Businesses that support breastfeeding mothers are supporting a healthy community. A recent study `Workplace Breastfeeding Report' says supporting women who are breastfeeding their babies reduces absenteeism, lowers health care costs and improves productivity."
As an employer, Heather and Garvin agree with the study's findings, especially in their personal experience. "It was like Kim hadn't even had a baby, she rarely missed work, and Ryan was healthy as an ox," says Heather. The Grants made space for Ryan in their on-site daycare for their own children, and made a private space available in their office for Murillo to breastfeed her son when she needed.
Garvin says, "The hardest part was reminding our other employees to knock before entering the office, so we added a privacy screen in the office to make Kim comfortable."
Some small business owners have expressed concerned that the recent New Mexico law, which "requires employers to provide flexible break time, and a clean, private space, not a bathroom, in order to foster the ability of a nursing mother who is an employee to use a breast pump in the workplace (NMSA 1978, Section 28-20-2)," could compromise their business space and employees' work time. Garvin says the 15-minutes it took for Murillo to breastfeed her son was comparable with regular break times required by labor laws and posed no problem having their front desk covered.
Murillo says the ability to breastfeed her son at work allowed her important one-on-one time with her child and helped them to build a close attachment. She praises her employers for their efforts, "Garvin and Heather were so supportive and flexible, and it was easy to breastfed Ryan. The family-orientated business made it a great experience."
Heather says such support for employees of smaller business are essential to make as a business owner and fellow mother, "We think of our employees as brothers, sisters or daughters. I breastfed both my children at work. I know the bonding and closeness it offers, and I wanted to give a chance to Kim to have that experience as well."
Lactation consultant, Mary Gruszka, R.N., IBCLC, says employers can easily create an appropriate area for mothers to feed or pump, "It doesn't take much space to make a mother feel comfortable. I would be happy to consult with any business to offer ideas on how to work with the space they have or help them find space." Gruszka's services are available for free, compliments to the community from Gila PRegional Medical PCenter.
The Grants think supporting mothers and their ability to breastfeed or pump at work help maintains happy employees and boosts productivity. Heather refers to an old adage when she talks about the connection between families and business, "If mom's not happy; nobody's happy. It holds true at home and at work. Without happy employees, you don't have business."
Lactation consultant Mary Gruszka can be reached at the First Born Program office at 388-9708 ext. 11. For more information on the Southwest New Mexico Breastfeeding Council or the laws that support breastfeeding call 388-1198 ext. 10.
Silver City, NM, August 6, 2008: One person can change the world, especially for a breastfeeding mother returning to college after the birth of her child. Dr. Maria Eugenia Trillo, an Associate Professor of Spanish at Western New Mexico University, was that person for her students by permitting mothers to breastfeed in her classes.
Beverly Allen-Ananins, a former student of Trillo's, says the support by her professor was invaluable to her in completing her Master's degree, "I was hesitant to ask if she would consider it, and then I went to class and saw I wasn't the only mother breastfeeding there."
Trillo never realized her support of her breastfeeding students also supported the New Mexico state law that protects mother's right "breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present (NMSA 1978, Section 28-20-1)." The law was created to protect breastfeeding mothers from discrimination and censure for doing what comes naturally.
The Southwest Breastfeeding Council was so impressed by Trillo's commitment to support breastfeeding at the university the council recognized her with an award for outstanding promotion of breastfeeding in the community by an individual. Trillo was honored by the unexpected recognition from her students and the council, "I believe breastfeeding is the best thing for all babies and moms. I was breastfed by my mom. I breastfed my own two children." There is a long-standing tradition of breastfeeding in Trillo's family; one of her maternal grandmothers was a nursemaid in Chihuahua, Mexico. "I was very impressed and proud of my abuelita, because she was called `mama' by many grown men and women. They would kiss her hand or hug her on the streets because she had fed them. That made a deep impression on me."
Lactation consultant and council member, Mary Gruszka says individual support for breastfeeding mothers can make a big difference in the success they have and the length of time women choose to breastfeed their babies. "Part of what's happened in society is we have moved away from seeing breastfeeding as the norm for babies. People have a vision of a bottle as opposed to more natural sight a mother cuddling her child. Dr. Trillo has positively changed that norm by allowing babies to be fed in her class, and its good for people to realize that," says Gruszka.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be breastfed for the first year. In New Mexico, 80.7 percent of mothers breastfeed their babies, placing our state 13th in the nation according to the Center for Diseases Control's Breastfeeding Report Card for 2007. By 6 months after birth in New Mexico, the percent of breastfed babies falls to 41 percent, a little shy of the 50 percent goal of Healthy People 2010's goals. At the recommended year, less than 21 percent of mothers continue to breastfeed their babies in our state.
One major step the community can take to raise breastfeeding rates is to support breastfeeding mothers. Programs like Women, Infant and Children (WIC) offers nutritional information, commodities and nutritional support and breast pumps for mothers who qualify for their program. Gila Regional Medical Center offers international board certified lactation consultant Gruszka's services to the community free to consult with mothers on breastfeeding concerns, and discuss with employers on how to make their business friendlier for breastfeeding mothers.
"Mothers worry if the baby is getting enough milk or could be having trouble with the baby latching on; I can give mothers some great advice and tips for all their questions," says Gruszka.
Trillo offers her own support to breastfeeding mothers in the classroom and will continue to do so in the future, "I want my students to have a chance to bond with their babies, and not have to compromise their education to do that."
Lactation consultant Mary Gruszka can be reached at the First Born Program office at 388-9708. The WIC Program can be reached at 388-9353. For more information on the Southwest New Mexico Breastfeeding Council or the laws that support breastfeeding call 388-1198 ext. 10.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 13:34