MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Tennessee families now have a new resource to support their efforts to breastfeed babies.
The Department of Health has launched the statewide Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline, which is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The toll-free number is 1-855-4BF-MOMS (1-855-423-6667).
The hotline is staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and Certified Lactation Counselors, and operated in partnership with Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
"We are very excited about this free and innovative new service to assist nursing mothers and families in Tennessee," said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "When we think about how we can protect the health of a baby once she is born, breastfeeding is at the very top of the list, and almost all babies and mothers can reap a host of health, social and economic benefits from this, nature's perfect baby food. This hotline will help more mothers and babies succeed in their breastfeeding efforts."
Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline staff members are available to assist nursing mothers and partners, their families, expectant mothers and health care providers seeking breastfeeding support and information.
The hotline provides accurate and up-to-date information at any time of day or night to address common questions and concerns about breastfeeding, including but not limited to:
• Is baby getting enough milk?
• Baby refuses to nurse
• Coping with breast or nipple pain
• Using breast pumps
• Working while breastfeeding
• Taking medication while breastfeeding
• Breastfeeding in public
• Tennessee breastfeeding laws
• Referral for breastfeeding support groups
The Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline is available for breastfeeding mothers and their circle of support such as a family member, partner or health care provider at any time of day, and will help sustain the length of time for breastfeeding.
The hotline offers referral services to the Tennessee Women, Infants and Children Program, breast pump rentals and local community support groups.
"Babies who are breastfed reap multiple health benefits, including fewer respiratory, gastrointestinal and ear infections in addition to helping brain development and strengthening the emotional bond with their mothers," said Sandra Madubuonwu, MSN, CLC, RN of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. "Breastfed babies are less likely to have allergic diseases, celiac or inflammatory bowel disease and are less likely to develop obesity or diabetes. They are also at lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome."
Breastfeeding provides health benefits to nursing mothers as well. Mothers who breastfeed are at reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, post-partum depression, breast and ovarian cancer and other debilitating conditions. Beyond the physical and psychological benefits, mothers can save money, effort and time by breastfeeding. Employers can also save money by providing breastfeeding accommodations; breastfed babies tend to be healthier, meaning nursing mothers may be away from their jobs less to care for a sick child.
Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding at http://breastfeeding.tn.gov/.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit http://health.state.tn.us/.