Le Leche League celebrates success of breastfeeding-friendly diaper bag program

The Sequim Community Foundation recently awarded La Leche League of Sequim and Port Angeles $3,000 to use toward the New Parent Breastfeeding Bags program at Olympic Medical Center.

Lee Bowen presented Le Leche League, a nonprofit breastfeeding support group, with the check at a Dec. 30 meeting while breastfeeding advocates put together the first batch of breastfeeding-friendly diaper bags of gifts to be delivered to the hospital's obstetrics ward the next day.

As a result, the first baby born at Olympic Medical Center in 2009 went home with a breastfeeding-friendly bag.

Each bag includes literature on breastfeeding, hand sewn burp clothes, a magnet with breastfeeding resource phone numbers, a diaper sample, hand sanitizer, a tea sample, diaper cream, nipple ointment, nursing pads and information pamphlets including one about how fathers can help with the breastfeeding process.

The bags will be given at no charge to at least 500 mothers who give birth to babies at Olympic Medical Center each year, with the intent that the educational information inside will encourage and educate parents about breastfeeding.

The goal of the project is to replace the formula diaper bags previously given to mothers upon discharge from the hospital with breastfeeding-friendly bags.

For more information about La Leche League or the New Parent Breastfeeding Bags, call Anna Swanberg at 683-8073.

The story until now:

_ Anna Swanberg, La Leche League organizer, teamed up with fellow mothers and friends Susan Baritelle, owner of Dungeness Kids Company, and Wendy Schroeder, a lactation consultant through Olympic Medical Center's New Family Services program, to create the New Parent Breastfeeding Bags program and ensure that every woman who gives birth at Olympic Medical Center leaves the hospital with a breastfeeding-friendly diaper bag - not a formula-friendly bag.

_ The threesome delivered the first batch of diaper bags to the hospital's obstetrics ward Dec. 31, 2008, so that the first baby born in 2009 went home with a breastfeeding-friendly bag.

_ Organizers hope to continue providing Olympic Medical Center with breastfeeding-friendly bags through the end of 2009 and possibly receive hospital funding in 2010.

Reach Ashley Miller at

The facts about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding:

_ The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed children as soon as possible after birth, usually within the first hour, and continue to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child's life. Breastfeeding is then recommended for at least 12 months and thereafter for as long as mutually desired.

_ A study published in the magazine Pediatrics in 1992 showed that moms who received a breastfeeding-friendly bag exclusively breastfed for twice as long as mothers who received a bag containing a sample of formula.

_ Breastfeeding benefits, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, include fewer illnesses as an infant, good jaw development, positive early attachment between mother and child, and a sense of security. Some studies suggest that children who are exclusively breastfed have slightly higher IQs than children who are formula fed, but findings aren't concrete.

_ Doctors agree that commercially prepared formula brands meet necessary nutritional needs for infants. Formula-feeding advocates promote formula as convenient and flexible.

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