April 14, 2015 — LSA’s Nursing program held a baby shower for 13 new and expectant mothers who completed a Lactation Workshop led by Sister Suzanne Deliee. Mothers participated in baby shower games, ate cake, and received presents — along with tips and resources to help them breastfeed their new babies.
Though it has fallen in recent years, the infant mortality rate in East Harlem remains high – 3.5X the rate of infant mortality in the neighboring Upper East Side. Reducing that infant mortality rate is the drive behind our nursing program’s special focus on expectant and new mothers, with nurses providing care to mothers and children in their homes. LSA nurses made 850 maternal health home visits last year. Because breastfeeding is so important to the healthy development of babies, Sr. Suzanne offers a breastfeeding course several times throughout the year.
Mothers at the baby shower received a diploma and were encouraged to be “madres maestras” – teaching mothers who encourage friends and neighbors in the community to breastfeed their babies to give them a healthy start in life. Mothers also received presents: a nursing pillow, diapers, nursing pads, baby clothes and other items donated by LSA partner organizations such as the GOOD+ Foundation, founded by Jessica Seinfeld.
Maricarmen, one of the mothers at the Baby Shower, was there with her one-week old baby. She was referred to the workshop by Patricia Hayes, an LSA nurse who has been visiting her and providing her with prenatal care.
Sr. Suzanne asked Maricarmen how things were going.
“At first in the hospital they gave him a bottle,” Maricarmen explained, “so he didn’t want to open his mouth to breastfeed. Patricia came to visit me. She brought me breast shields which made it much easier for him to latch on.” Maricarmen is confident that, with the things she has learned in the workshop and with Patricia’s support, she will be able to give her son a healthy start in life by breastfeeding.
In addition to the Lactation Workshop, the Nursing program offers Padres 1,2,3,4 and Padres Activos – parenting workshops for parents of toddlers and school-aged children.
UPDATE: July 2015 — For the first time and with great success, Lactation (Breastfeeding) Workshop teachers Sr. Suzanne Deliee and Yaling Ramirez held a bilingual workshop in English and Spanish, in response to an influx of non-Spanish speaking mothers from the community into our Nursing program.