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2012-06-06 09:05:25
Flushing and Jamaica Hospitals Latches On to NYC Initiative
Contact Information:
Name: Natifia Mullings
Telephone: (718) 206-6746
Email: ngaines@jhmc.org


June 5, 2012 (Flushing, NY)— Breast milk is best for babies—and Flushing and Jamaica Hospitals are not afraid to say it, or show it.

Both facilities are proud to announce their participation in “Latch on NYC,” a new city-wide initiative aimed at supporting breastfeeding mothers.

Flushing and Jamaica Hospitals made a verbal and written commitment to NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley about their involvement. By joining the initiative, the hospitals will no longer distribute formula, literature on formula, or other products that promote formula to new mothers—unless it is medically required or at a mother’s request.

““Latch on NYC” is a wonderful initiative,” explained Maria DeSmilios, Assistant Director of Nursing-Maternal Child Services at Flushing Hospital. “Our hospital has always encouraged new mothers to breastfeed, however, we, like many other local hospitals, would provide our new mothers with go-home bags that included formula. It sent mixed messages.”

She added: “Now, we can educate mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding and feel confident that they have the information they need to make an informed decision about their infant’s dietary needs.”

According to the New York City Department of Health, breastfeeding can prevent childhood and adult obesity and reduce the risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia. And while 90% of NYC mothers begin breastfeeding, only 31% of mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding their child by the time they reach two months, even though it is recommended that an infant exclusively breastfeeds for the first six months of their life.

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley officially launched “Latch on NYC” on May 9 at Harlem Hospital, where DeSmilios and Josie Kirton, Clinical Nurse Manager for Jamaica Hospital’s Mother/Baby Unit were in attendance.

“Latch on NY” is one of several efforts Flushing Hospital has recently taken to encourage mothers to breastfeed. Earlier this year, the facility received a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant for its commitment to support breastfeeding and help reduce childhood obesity. The grant allowed staff members to become certified lactation consultants. The hospital has also applied to become a “Baby Friendly” Hospital, a global initiative that promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through ten steps to successful breastfeeding. Also, the hospital boasts an active breastfeeding support group.

Jamaica Hospital, as well, boasts certified lactation consultants and a breastfeeding support group.

Kirton said, “we’re very committed to promoting, protecting, and supporting breastfeeding efforts. The benefits is offers to both mother and baby are phenomenal. Ultimately, our goal is to help mothers succeed at breastfeeding.”

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 384-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and dental services, in addition to home health services. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center serves a community of over 1.9 million residents throughout Queens. This 293-bed facility is an accredited community teaching hospital that has over 40 general and specialty clinics, including Internal and Pediatric Medicine, Ophthalmology, Podiatry, OB/GYN, Dentistry, and Mental Health. The hospital also has the only patient Geriatric Medical Unit in Queens and an extensive Community Outreach Department. In 1999, FHMC was credited with discovering an outbreak of the West Nile Virus. Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s mission is to provide superior service to patients and the community in a caring environment. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-670-8930.
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