THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS (August 13, 2015)

Women’s Memorial Hermann at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center kicked off World Breastfeeding Week with the 9th Annual Baby Fair for Expectant, New and Experienced Parents on Saturday, Aug. 1.

Each year, the Baby Fair coincides with World Breastfeeding Week, annually held the first week of August to bring much-deserved attention to the widely preferred source of nutrition for newborns and infants worldwide. Women’s Memorial Hermann is committed year-round to supporting and encouraging breastfeeding and breastfeeding education.

“We are very strong advocates for breastfeeding and want both our new and experienced mothers to succeed in nourishing their infants and newborns,” said Lori Eckenrode, BSN, RNC, Clinical Manager of Lactation and Perinatal Education at Women’s Memorial Hermann.

The Women’s Memorial Hermann Lactation Center works in conjunction with the Family Birthing Center to provide a full spectrum of services to help mothers with questions and important decisions before and after delivery, and on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Internationally board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLC) are available every day at the Lactation Center, which also features a shop with apparel and bras for breastfeeding moms, pump rentals, fittings and educational materials.

“We provide every possible resource and amenity to successfully support and facilitate exceptional breastfeeding between mom and baby,” Eckenrode said.

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands is a certified Texas Ten Step Facility by the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Department of State Health Services. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO)/ UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the Texas Ten Step Program aims to assist a birth facility’s support of breastfeeding mothers before, during, and after delivery; encourages them to identify breastfeeding resources for the mother after she is discharged; and encourages facilities to have 82 percent of mothers exclusively breastfeeding when they go home with their newborn.

The hospital is also a depot drop off site for the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin, which accepts extra or unneeded breast milk donations that are then prescribed to infants in a hospital setting.

“Our goal is to educate mothers and families about breastfeeding so they can safely and effectively provide the best nourishment for their babies,” Eckenrode said. “We focus on breastfeeding education the entire year. It’s an important topic that expectant as well as experienced parents always have questions about.”

Many of those questions were addressed at the Baby Fair, a free, educational event open to families held by the Lactation Center and Perinatal Education Department at Women’s Memorial Hermann. Educational discussions and displays, demonstrations, tours of the facility, and door prize drawings were also part of the event.

Throughout the year, Women’s Memorial Hermann hosts perinatal classes and support groups around breastfeeding and motherhood.