Hawkins Community Baby Shower offers info on health, safety and breastfeeding

Jeff Bobo • Aug 22, 2018 at 5:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Part of the mission for Friday’s fourth annual Community Baby Shower at the Hawkins County Health Department in Rogersville is to educate new and expecting moms about the benefits of breastfeeding.

The Baby Shower, which is free and open to the public from 1-3 p.m. at the health department campus at 201 Park Boulevard, will also provide moms with a wide range of information on health and safety services and programs available in the county.

And it wouldn’t be a baby shower without cake and prizes.

Every year the Hawkins County Health Department schedules its Community Baby Shower in August to coincide with National Breastfeeding Month.

Jayne Harper, assessment and planning coordinator for the Department of Health’s Northeast Regional Health Office in Johnson City, said part of the mission for Friday’s event in Rogersville is to educate moms about the benefits of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mom.

Harper told the Times News Wednesday that moms can meet a certified lactation expert and counselor at the health department if they want to talk to someone or ask questions specifically about breastfeeding.

“We know that breastfed babies have fewer ear infections and respiratory infections, there’s a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and these babies even have a lower chance of becoming obese or developing diabetes later on,” Harper said. “For the mom, it seems like recovery after birth is quicker, and women who breastfeed seem to have a reduced risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer later on and even a lower risk for osteoporosis.”

Harper added, “There’s so many benefits. That’s why we try to make sure women know they have access to a certified lactation counselor, because not all babies take to it really quickly or easily, but that doesn’t mean a woman should give up. Sometimes it’s just helping the baby get the hang of it.”

Friday’s baby shower is also a good opportunity for new and expecting moms to network.

“A lot of new moms feel isolated because they’re staying inside with their new baby,” Harper said. “This event gives folks (a chance) to get out and say, ‘I didn’t know you’re going through this too,’ and they can offer each other support.”

She added, “There’s also going to be child health and safety information including car seat safety and inspections. They’ll have folks from the local health department there talking about all the services, since a lot of people don’t know everything we do. I know there will be door prizes, and it’s not a baby shower without a cake.”

Hawkins County Health Department Director Garnet Southerland noted that information will also be provided during Friday’s event on a variety of subjects such as tobacco cessation, the Baby and Me Tobacco Free Program, WIC, immunizations, the TennCare Kids Program, family planning and dental care by local community health partners.

“Pregnancy is a special and exciting time for women and their families,” Southerland said. “Through our partnerships and community support, the event will provide expecting parents and families information to assist in a healthy pregnancy and the baby’s health after delivery.”

Southerland added, “Hawkins County Health Departments in Church Hill and Rogersville want to make sure new mothers have the support they need to breastfeed their infants. We have a breastfeeding peer counselor and certified lactation counselor on the team to assist as necessary.”

For more information about Friday’s Baby Shower or breastfeeding support through the Hawkins County Health Department in Church Hill and Rogersville, call (423) 272-7641 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

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