San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital has progressed from a predominately bottle-fed culture to an up to 80 percent exclusive breastfeeding culture, a huge accomplishment for the hospital and the community since receiving a grant from First 5 Riverside six years ago.
Reports show that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, and San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital promotes breastfeeding and infant and child health in a variety of ways.
“Our progress has been made because of First 5 Riverside’s support,” said Kari Spoelstra, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Perinatal Educator and Program Director at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital. “Because of our program, the breastfeeding rates in the community have improved tremendously.”
San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital’s Breast Feeding Program features free lactation consultations, breastfeeding classes, home visits, and phone follow-ups. In addition, we offer free childbirth education classes, maternity ward tours, and much more.
“We really want people to breast feed,” said Spoelstra, who explained that breastfeeding benefits the baby by reducing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, obesity, leukemia, and other conditions, while reducing breast cancer risks for mothers.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “breastfeeding and human milk are the normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition…and should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.”
San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital’s program works with First 5 Riverside’s and First 5 California’s mission to promote the physical health of children throughout the County of Riverside and the state of California. Breastfeeding education and support is a crucial part of First 5 Riverside’s emphasis on health investments.
Similarly, San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital also promotes breastfeeding within by offering a pumping station and breast milk refrigerator for hospital associates.
“We do everything in our power to encourage breastfeeding,” Spoelstra said.
San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital is located at 600 North Highland Springs Avenue in Banning. For more information about the hospital and its services, call 951-845-1121.