For the past 17 years, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center has celebrated its tiniest patients at the annual Halloween Baby Parade.
During this hauntingly cute event, babies (and their parents) go trick-or-treating in the hospital, dressed up as superheroes, ladybugs, pumpkins and more. The annual parade, organized by Sharp Chula Vista’s Women’s and Infants’ Services Department, features parents and their children from the hospital’s breastfeeding support group.
“The Halloween Baby Parade is my favorite event of the year,” says Blanca Placides-Ayana, MSN, RN, manager of maternal and infants’ services and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “It adds to the fun Halloween cheer for our staff, doctors, visitors and patients — both former and current — while raising awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breastfeeding allows parents to give their infants the best start in life, and early support in breastfeeding from health care professionals and peers can lead to more breastfeeding successes.
“At our breastfeeding support group, mom and baby will practice proper breastfeeding positions and latching, which are two of the most common concerns breastfeeding women face,” explains Placides-Ayana. “We’ll also answer any questions our moms may have related to breastfeeding and breastfed baby eating behaviors. Most importantly, the groups provide a community of support for both new and veteran moms.”
Breastmilk is easy to digest and provides all the nutrients, calories and fluids babies need to be healthy, as well as growth factors that ensure the best development of an infant’s organs.
In addition, breastfeeding is good for mom, too, as it releases hormones that promote maternal behaviors; helps return the uterus to pre-pregnancy size; and reduces the risk of certain cancers.
“Our lactation educators always explain breastfeeding as a learned art that takes time, patience and practice for both mom and baby,” says Placides-Ayana. “That’s where our support groups come in and really shine.”
Breastfeeding classes and support groups are available at Sharp Chula Vista (in English and Spanish), Sharp Grossmont and Sharp Mary Birch. For more information, visit sharp.com’s Classes and Events page.
For the news media: To talk with Blanca Placides-Ayana about Sharp Chula Vista’s breastfeeding support group for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.