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Free breastfeeding clinic and support group give North County’s babies a healthy start

Free breastfeeding clinic and support group give North County’s babies a healthy start

OCEANSIDE – Each month, an average of 220 new moms count on the services of Tri-City Medical Center’s lactation department to help them successfully breastfeed their babies.

The weekly support group is free and open to anyone with breastfeeding questions or concerns. During the meetings, Tri-City Medical Center’s certified lactation consultants also weigh babies before and after feedings so mothers can see that their babies are taking in enough milk.

“One of the biggest fears new moms have is not having enough milk for their babies. We can ease that fear,” said Heather Sager, lactation department manager. “Some weeks we’ll have three moms and babies, and other weeks we’ll have a dozen or more. It’s wonderful to see moms sharing tips and giving one another encouragement.”

The breastfeeding support group meets
Wednesdays from 9:15 to 11 a.m.
Tri-City Medical Center, 4002 Vista Way in Oceanside.
Registration is not required.

When mothers or babies have medical issues that interfere with breastfeeding, Tri-City Medical Center steers them to its free clinics held four days a week at the medical center. The clinics help with breastfeeding issues from pain and infection to breastfed babies that are not putting on weight.

“New babies should gain about an ounce of weight every day, but there are many treatable medical issues that can interfere. Our clinics can help a mom and baby overcome these,” explained Sager.

To make a clinic appointment, mothers can call the Labor & Delivery desk at (760) 940-5500. The lactation department also serves the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Tri-City Medical Center, the highest level NICU in North County. Consultants visit with anxious parents to help with special needs like expressing and protecting a mother’s breast milk or developing a feeding plan for their babies in intensive care.

Close to 3,000 babies are born at Tri-City Medical Center every year. Its busy lactation department was recently awarded the IBCLC Care Award for excellence in staffing and breastfeeding activities. In the most recent national Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) Survey, the medical center’s breastfeeding program ranked in the top 74th percentile of hospitals nationwide.