Soon, breastfeeding moms in Muskoka will have additional support available.
Due to high demand for the lactation clinic at the Algonquin Family Health Team in Huntsville, a similar clinic will be opening through the Cottage Country Family Health Team in Bracebridge.
Both lactation clinics are free and accessible to all and will be run by two lactation consultants: Kristen Bell, who has been supporting breastfeeding women in Huntsville for 10 years, and Allison Mason. Both are registered nurses. Bell will work at both locations while Mason will provide services solely in Bracebridge.
The goal of the lactation clinics is to support families in meeting their breastfeeding and infant-feeding goals and increasing the time that infants are able to be exclusively breastfed.
“My purpose and goal in providing these services for new families is to educate, empower, and support them through this critical time of parenting,” said Bell. “I am here to help them meet whatever their goals are to the best of my ability. I am so thankful that this service has been made available to all families in our communities.”
Reasons to attend the clinic include: antenatal support and advice, low milk supply, slow weight gain, breastfeeding tips and tricks, and assessment and management of tongue ties.
“Being a mom of three young children opened my eyes to the challenges and fears that comes with bringing a brand new baby home,” said Mason. “Especially now during a global pandemic, some (most) moments are filled with complete and utter exhaustion and isolation. I am thrilled that the Cottage Country Family Health Team has been able to support the role of a lactation consultant in our community. More than ever, families need the community to be there to support, encourage, and cheer them on during these exceptional times. I look forward to being a small piece in their parenting journey.”
Physicians, nurses, and midwives will be able to directly refer their clients, or families can self-refer for an appointment.
“Muskoka is a large area without access to as many supports and resources that other regions may have access to and many of our families are struggling with money and resources,” said executive director of the Algonquin Family Health Team, Janine Van Den Heuvel. “The ability of a new mother to meet her breastfeeding and infant feeding goals has an impact on both their physical and mental health.”
The Algonquin Family Health Team lactation clinic continues to run every week at the Wellness Hub in the Canada Summit Centre. The Cottage Country Family Health Team lactation clinic in Bracebridge will be taking appointments as of December 1, 2020.
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