One of Williamsburg’s greatest resources for mothers is the free breastfeeding support group offered as a community service by Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. The group is open to all mothers, regardless of whether they gave birth at the hospital, at a birth center, or at home, and regardless of whether their breastfeeding baby is newborn or much older. The group is led by two talented nurses and lactation consultants: organizer Kris Kiley (RN, IBCLC) and Amy Veneris (RN, IBCLC).
How does the breastfeeding group work? Mothers arrive, undress their babies down to a dry diaper, and weigh their babies on an electronic scale. They then nurse the baby on one breast, re-weigh to determine how much milk was drunk from that breast, nurse on the other breast, and re-weigh again. This approach is an excellent way to determine how much milk a baby is getting at a feeding (much better than measuring pumped milk, since babies are much better than pumps at extracting milk from a breast). It is also a nice opportunity to track baby’s weight gain over time.
If a mother is facing a particular breastfeeding challenge, a lactation consultant is always on hand to answer questions and offer advice, free of charge.
The group offers social opportunities, as well, for both mothers and babies! New mothers can meet other new mothers, exchange information, and chat. And babies are given the chance for playtime with other babies, if they would like!
The group meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00-11:30 AM in either the Jamestown or Yorktown Room of the Conference Center of Sentara Regional Medical Center. Mothers can arrive anytime, although allowing yourself at least an hour at the group is ideal. If you or your baby are ill — or showing signs of becoming ill — please refrain from attending breastfeeding group to avoid exposing other mothers and babies.
Kris Kiley is also available by cell phone (757-870-6987) for breastfeeding support for mothers in need. If you are struggling, do give her a call! I can say from personal experience that her kindness and breastfeeding expertise are phenomenal — she is a true comfort and a true help.
Directions to the Breastfeeding Support Group: The most straightforward (but longer) way to navigate to the group is to enter through the main hospital entrance and take the right-hand hallway past the gift shop and the cafeteria to the Conference Center, which is a small hallway to the left containing the Jamestown and Yorktown meeting rooms.
Alternatively, to take the shortest route to the Conference Center: while driving in, follow the signs for the Geddy Outpatient Center; park between the Geddy Outpatient Center and the building with a big “500″ on it; take the concrete path between those two buildings to the double doors; enter through the double doors and walk a short distance to the Conference Center (the small hallway to your right, with the Jamestown and Yorktown rooms).
The room in which the group is meeting that day will have a blue Chux pad taped over the window in the door for privacy. Open the door and come on in for excellent breastfeeding advice and help!