Feeding our babies is a journey, no matter how we choose to feed them. For moms who want to breastfeed, so many variables can play into the process, making education and continued support crucial. That’s why the Breastfeeding Wellness Center at RWJBarnabas Health’s Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center in Eatontown is a game changer. Not only does the comprehensive program offer prenatal group breastfeeding education classes for parents before they deliver, but it also offers a mom-to-mom nursing support group and more in-depth one-on-one lactation support. And the best part? The prenatal class and support group are FREE, and the one-on-one in person or virtual lactation support consultations are reimbursable through insurance. We had a chance to check out the support group, talking with moms (and their adorable babies) about how it’s impacted their breastfeeding and overall motherhood experience.
Breastfeeding support at RWJBarnabas Health’s Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center starts before birth
While many hospitals offer breastfeeding classes for expectant moms, the breastfeeding program at the Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center is unique because it is a comprehensive and continuing program. Moms and their partner can come in before delivery to get the educational foundation, but the support continues once the baby arrives, which is often when the challenges and questions begin too.
“We knew there was a lactation specialist, but it didn’t hit me that I would need it until I got home,” says first-time mom Gina Giammarco, who came in after noticing her son was losing a lot of weight once he came home from the hospital. Through the center’s one-on-one lactation support sessions, she and her baby had a feeding evaluation and weighted feed. The lactation consultants gave Gina feeding strategies to support successful lactation and created a breastfeeding plan for her family, which got her into a good feeding routine with her little guy.
“For families that need that one-on-one consult support, they are entitled to six sessions through the Affordable Care Act. We will supply a super bill that they can submit to insurance for reimbursement,” says program director Tara Murphy, who is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC. Murphy says the idea behind the program was two-fold—help parents prepare for what to expect with breastfeeding and follow them through their journey. They want parents to know they could turn to Monmouth Medical Center’s experts for the different feeding stages, including how to manage going back to work, incorporating solids, and eventually weaning.
The mom-to-mom support at the Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center means everything
NJMOM Clara Rosato says she gained a lot from the mom-to-mom component of the support group, mainly being able to share the challenges in each stage of her baby’s growth with other moms. “It was nice to be able to come and say, hey, I’m still having trouble with XYZ, and to have the lactation consultant troubleshoot what’s happening,” Rosato says. “Every time I came to the group, I felt so positive and left feeling I could do it. And I think I would have given up (on breastfeeding) without the support group,” she adds.
And for Murphy, helping NJMOMs find success with breastfeeding and a place they can feel comfortable in is the program’s goal. As a mom of three older children, she takes pride in what the program offers, with an NJMOM’s needs in mind at every turn. The Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center is on the grounds of Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, easy to access, and hosts a variety of other programming geared toward mothers and babies. “This location is pretty fabulous, looking at it from a mother’s standpoint because it’s got parking, you can take your stroller out, and it’s easy to access. Moms getting out of the house for the first time find it isn’t as overwhelming as they might have anticipated. This is something I could only have hoped for when I had my kids. I feel like, in a small way, we’re helping to create the foundation for these families,” says Murphy.
Breastfeeding Wellness Center at the Anne Vogel Family Care and Wellness Center
200 Wyckoff Road, Suite 1200, Eatontown, NJ 07724
This post is sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health to help every NJMOM and their family be their healthiest.