New moms in South Mississippi encouraged to breastfeed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New moms in South Mississippi encouraged to breastfeed

Registered Nurse and lactation consultant, Jennifer Rhoades, is passionate about educating moms on the benefits of nursing. (Image Source: WLOX News) Registered Nurse and lactation consultant, Jennifer Rhoades, is passionate about educating moms on the benefits of nursing. (Image Source: WLOX News)
After June 30, Rhoades will no longer be able to teach the classes for free. (Image Source: WLOX News) After June 30, Rhoades will no longer be able to teach the classes for free. (Image Source: WLOX News)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

It's common knowledge that breastfeeding is the healthiest form of nutrition for your baby, but the state of Mississippi ranks last in breastfeeding support.

As a result, an Ocean Springs nurse is making it her mission to educate expecting moms on the benefits of nursing.

Gulf Coast Healthy Beginnings is one of the few breastfeeding support groups in South Mississippi. Registered Nurse Jennifer Rhoades says she's passionate about educating women on the benefits of nursing.

"There's a direct link with lack of breastfeeding support, and infant mortality and our statistics show that," said Rhoades.

Statistics also show that there are many benefits for mom as well. One expecting mother says classes make breastfeeding seem less intimidating.

"I think the biggest thing that I'm taking away from it is how important those first few days are....and what kind of environment and support you need to be successful to try to get that breastfeeding relationship started," said Rose Rider.

Erica Lett chose to nurse her newborn, although she was apprehensive at first.

"I was scared, I couldn't do it. I was nervous at first, but now I'm getting the hang of it," said Lett.

Lett has now been nursing her daughter for two months, and feels like it was the best possible decision. 

"It's like, so many benefits. Like, it's less ear infections, sicknesses and all types of things your baby gets a benefit from it," added Lett.

Ocean Springs OB GYN Dr. William Moore says more local hospitals seem to be getting on board with encouraging moms to breastfeed, and bond with their newborns soon after birth.

"They're also doing a lot of other programs with the skin to skin, and you know, really from the very get go embrace kind of a natural very health approach to newborn childcare and nutrition," said Moore.

Rhoades was able to offer the classes for free due to grant money she received from the Mississippi Department of Health. After June 30, the classes will cost $25 per person.

For more information, visit the Gulf Coast Healthy Beginnings Facebook page.

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