Rural Health Network aids Health Department lactation room

Pictured from left are Public Health Educator Emily Boyle, Maternal & Infant Community Health Collaborative Coordinator Amanda Barber and Rural Health Network Coordinator Leanna Cleveland.

OSWEGO – The Oswego County Health Department recently unveiled its newly remodeled lactation room. Thanks to the efforts of the Rural Health Network the Health Department now hosts a lactation room that is ideally suited for the use of breastfeeding mothers.

Prior to the funding from the Rural Health Network the Health Department was using a former examination room as its lactation room. “What we had before was pretty basic,” Public Health Educator Emily Boyle said. “We knew the room had plenty of space for materials that could create a great lactation room. Being a member of the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition I became aware that grant funds for lactation rooms were available from the Rural Health Network. I contacted Rural Health Network Coordinator Leanna Cleveland and applied for the funds.”

With the funds in hand Boyle began creating her vision of the lactation room. “Our goal was to create a comfortable and safe place for mothers to come and breastfeed or pump,” Boyle said. “Our lactation room now offers a comfortable chair, side table, lamp, mini fridge, and wall decorations. We also provide information on breastfeeding and supportive services.”

In addition to improving the Oswego County Health Department’s lactation room the Rural Health Network has established lactation rooms at Mother Earth Baby Boutique and Diaper Service, 70 West Bridge Street in Oswego, the OCO WIC office in the Health Center at 10 George Street in Oswego, and the Cayuga Community College Fulton campus.

“Breastfeeding not only benefits mothers and their children, it benefits employers as well. We are providing funding for onsite lactation rooms at area businesses and organizations to promote and encourage support for breastfeeding,” Cleveland said.

The new lactation room at the Health Department is available to both employees and community members as well. “As part of the ‘Breastfeed Your Baby Here’ initiative we want community members to know that they are welcome to use our lactation room,” Boyle said.

The “Breastfeed Your Baby Here” initiative, created by Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network, works with businesses and organizations to support breastfeeding mothers and babies in the community, and to make nursing an accepted, comfortable, and easy choice in stores, restaurants, daycare centers, buses, parks – anytime, anywhere. REACH CNY partnered with the Oswego County Breastfeeding Coalition to bring the Breastfeed Your Baby Here Community initiative to Oswego County.

“We hope that our lactation room is utilized by anyone that comes into our building. Whether they are here for our immunization clinic, the car seat program, Healthy Families, or are Maternal and Child Health clients. All are welcome,” Boyle said.

Operating under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities, Inc., the Rural Health Network is a consortium of health care providers and human service providers in Oswego County.  Working together the members take a collaborative approach to addressing major health issues that exist in Oswego County. For more information on the Rural Health Network of Oswego County visit www.oco.org.

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