Gift is One of the Largest Ever Received by Winchester Hospital
Winchester Hospital has received a $2 million donation to establish a permanent endowment to support and expand the hospital’s lactation program for the more than 2,000 mothers who give birth at the hospital each year. It is one of the largest gifts ever received by Winchester Hospital.
The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, made the gift so that Winchester Hospital can ensure that mothers give their infants the best start by nursing their babies and having plenty of support to do so, even after they leave the hospital. With this grant the Maternal Child Health Department will expand lactation support, guidance, knowledge and hands-on assistance for mothers and babies during and after their hospital stay. The grant will also underwrite lactation-related training and educational opportunities for inpatient and outpatient nurses and clinicians.
Keeping babies safe and healthy
“We are incredibly grateful for such a generous gift,” said Richard Weiner, MD, CEO of Winchester Hospital. “Our maternity program focuses on keeping moms and babies safe and healthy, as we encourage and teach new parents the importance of skin-to-skin contact, best safe sleep practices, and the benefits of breastfeeding. This endowment will allow us to grow our lactation program, providing more services to our patients.”
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for infants — it provides the best nutrition for babies, protects against common childhood infections, contributes to better survival during baby’s first year (including a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and reduces long-term risks for some chronic diseases.
Some studies suggest that breastfeeding reduces the risk for certain allergic diseases, asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes; it may even help improve an infant’s cognitive development.
Helping moms breastfeed longer
Although about 81 percent of new mothers start out breastfeeding their babies, by six months that number drops to 52 percent. At one year, the number of breastfeeding moms drops again to 31 percent.
Winchester Hospital’s Lactation Program is focused on supporting and coaching mothers to promote and extend the time a baby is breastfed.