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NEWS

August 6, 2008

RSU Student Health Center Supports Nursing Mothers

Rogers State University supports nursing mothers returning to school and work by creating a positive environment supportive of breast-feeding. Recently the RSU Student Health Center created a private space where nursing moms can pump and store breast milk.

“We wanted to make it easier for women to continue breast-feeding after they return to work or school,” said Lisa Martin, director of the RSU Student Health Center. “Breast-feeding is healthy for the baby and the mother. We take care of sick people here, but we also want to do everything we can to promote health.”

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, nearly 70 percent of mothers in Oklahoma start breast-feeding their newborn babies, but six months later, less than half of them are still breast-feeding. The top reason Oklahoma women give for not breastfeeding is returning to work.

Breast-feeding has many benefits: breastfed babies are healthier, have fewer allergies, require fewer doctor visits; nursing moms lose pregnancy weight faster; and breast-feeding saves parents money because they do not have to buy formula, said Dr. Ashley Gourd.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that newborns should be breast-fed exclusively for six months, and provided appropriate complimentary foods with continued breastfeeding for up to one year or beyond.

Gourd, also the mother of a nine-month-old baby girl, said a supportive workplace is key to successful breast-feeding.

“Being able to pump breast milk at work allowed me to nurse my daughter for six months, which was my goal,” Gourd said.

One RSU employee and new mom, Heather Isaacs, is already benefiting from new accommodations at the Student Health Center.

“I find using the Health Center to be very convenient. The room is sanitary, the environment is quiet, relaxing and private,” Isaacs said. “As a mother, I want to breast-feed my daughter for the first year and the RSU Health Center has helped me stay on track to reach my goal.”

Her daughter is eight months old and thriving, she said.

Facilities will be available during RSU Student Health Center operating hours, Martin said. Students, staff and faculty interested in using the Student Health Center’s facilities can contact Lisa Martin for more information by calling (918) 343-7614 or emailing lmartin@rsu.edu.

More information on breastfeeding is available by visiting www.ok.gov/health//Child_and_Family_Health/Breastfeeding_Information_and_Support/