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Flushing Hospital Medical Center advocates for healthy mothers and newborns

Breastfeeding has documented short- and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages for both babies and mothers, and advocating for the importance of breastfeeding among new mothers is a growing public health concern. In 2015, Flushing Hospital Medical Center began a community-based program, Breastfeeding and Beyond: Breastfeeding Education and Nutrition in the Community. Through this initiative, FHMC works with partners in the community — including the New York City Public Library and Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — to improve health and promote the well-being of women, newborns, infants, toddlers and children.

FHMC offers breastfeeding education and information at local public libraries in various languages to ensure they reach all community members. Providing the education prenatally ensures the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the infant are highlighted so women can make an informed decision on feeding methods before giving birth.

Over three years, breastfeeding rates increased from 6% exclusive breastfeeding at birth to 30% upon discharge from the hospital after birth. More than 375 women with their children and families have been educated both prenatally and after birth. The intent to breastfeed upon admission to the hospital increased from 50% in 2015 to 96% in 2018 and upon discharge from the hospital it rose from 29% in 2015 to 88% in 2018.

For more information, contact Maria D. Smilios, director, nursing-maternal and child services, at (718) 670-5702 or at msmilios.flushing@jhmc.org.