Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In Honor of Breastfeeding Week, CHS Lactation Specialists Offer Tips

Lactation Specialists at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, NY

August 1 kicks off World Breastfeeding week, highlighting the benefits that breastfeeding can bring to the health and welfare of babies and mothers. For babies, this includes improved digestion, a boost in immunity and enhanced mental development. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop infections, diarrhea, allergies, sudden infant death syndrome and diabetes later in life. Mothers benefit too. Breastfeeding stimulates the uterus to contract back to its normal size quicker and there’s reduced bleeding. In addition, more evidence-based research suggests other long-term benefits such as a lower risk of breast/ovarian cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

Four Catholic Health Services hospitals — St. Catherine of Sienna Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Charles Hospital and Mercy Medical Center — continue to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding and provide the resources. At each location, new mothers who choose to breastfeed receive guidance ranging from breastfeeding support groups to meetings with a lactation consultant to educational materials, all helping to promote successful breastfeeding beyond discharge. 

St. Catherine of Siena is a designated Baby-Friendly hospital, meaning it has policies and care practices that meet the gold standard for mother/baby care related to breastfeeding. Newborns, mothers and fathers stay together day and night (also known as rooming in) to promote family bonding, ensuring they have the best chance to bond and encourage breastfeeding as soon as they are ready.

St. Catherine’s Lactation/Perinatal Education Clinical Nurse Specialist Kristin Thayer, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC), is one of the pioneers of the Baby-Friendly initiative and breastfeeding support. She helps new mothers who intend to breastfeed and addresses a common concern mothers have when exclusively breastfeeding, “is my baby is getting enough to eat?”

She says “A full-term healthy newborn is born with enough reserves, so they do not need to eat very much in the first few days of life. We know they are getting enough to eat if they are urinating and stooling, and they are not losing too much weight. All babies lose some weight in the first few days as their output is greater than their input. More than a 10 percent weight loss is a warning sign, but if the newborn is breastfeeding well and the mother’s milk is coming in, the baby should be fine.Click here for well-fed baby checklist, found on page 8. 

Event: Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with St. Catherine of Siena; August 7, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Good Samaritan Hospital, an International Lactation Consultant Association Award recipient, provides a lactation program five-to-seven days a week for breastfeeding mothers. This includes its free support group called the Breastfeeding CafĂ©, as well as a breastfeeding helpline (631-376-3901) that’s available 24/7.  

Lactation Consultant Rita Ferretti, BS, RN, C-NIC, CBC, IBCLC, recognizes that breastfeeding can be very challenging, especially after moms have been discharged.  She says, “You may be asking yourself, ‘How do I know I am making enough milk?’; ‘How often does my baby need to nurse?’; ‘When do I sleep?’ The questions are endless and can cause you to lose confidence.” But she adds, “Successful breastfeeding is a combination of 10 percent making milk and 90 percent confidence.

The first weeks at home with the baby are crucial as it’s a time to get acquainted with one another and recover from delivery. Rita explains, “After delivery, milk production depends upon stimulation of the breasts from the baby’s suckling and hand expression of the breast milk, but moms should also remember to take care of themselves. It’s important to accept help from friends and relatives when they visit, so new moms can rest their body and mind and reduce stress.”

To support the needs of the mother and infant, all Good Samaritan nurses are trained in breastfeeding. Most hold the credential of Certified Breastfeeding Counselor. Additionally, the Maternal Child Services staff provide lactation support. They offer training in education in perinatal, labor and delivery, maternity and more.

To help parents to prepare for childbirth, St. Charles Hospital offers "Steps to Parenthood" classes that can help ease any fears or anxiety parents might have. Because knowledge of what to expect leads to a positive childbirth experience, these classes give the entire family the opportunity to be involved in the parent-child bonding process. Classes include The Art of Breastfeeding, the free-based, Breastfeeding Mother's Support Group and Newborn Partnering 101, to name a few.

Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant Eileen Lamanna, RN, based at St. Charles, acknowledges that opting to breastfeed is a big decision and assures women who are considering breastfeeding that they will have education and support on every level. At St. Charles, this includes internationally board certified lactation consultants, the more than 40 nurses who are certified breastfeeding counselors and support from other moms in the hospital’s Breastfeeding Support Group.  Eileen says, “These support groups have proven to be successful for moms at St. Charles as they come together to share personal experiences and encourage one another.”

Lamanna also reinforces the benefits of breastfeeding and says, “Breastmilk is natural and provides infants with antibodies that protect them from illness. One drop of colostrum provides your infant with approximately one million antibodies.”

Mercy Medical Center; Rockville Centre, NY
Lactation Consultant Christine Foley at Mercy Medical Center reminds new mothers that breastfeeding doesn’t look the same for all. Newborns, especially Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) babies, might not be able to directly breast feed right after birth, but mothers are still encouraged to provide breastmilk to their babies. Mercy strongly supports mothers who wish to breastfeed by assisting with feeding and/or pumping and providing up to date breastfeeding information.  

Christine says, “Sometimes breastfeeding means that a new mother is pumping and then using a bottle or a syringe to feed her baby, particularly babies in the NICU. The end goal is really for the baby to receive the antibody-rich colostrum – often referred to as “liquid gold” -- in the first days of life, helping protect the baby from bacteria and infections. We are committed to helping new mothers successfully breastfeed while in the hospital and to continue breastfeeding well after discharge from the hospital”.

Christine reminds all new mothers that in most cases a personal use breast pump is available at no cost through one’s medical benefits and many times can be delivered to expectant mothers before the baby arrives.  While in the hospital mothers are able to use the hospital grade breast pumps on the maternity unit.

Mercy Medical Center is home to a Level III NICU, the only such facility on the south shore of Nassau County. This New York state designation signifies that the unit provides specialized complex care to all premature and sick newborn infants. Mercy offers 17 maternity beds, a NICU parent room and a pumping room. Mercy Medical Center also offers a weekly breastfeeding support group free of charge to nursing mothers.

For more information about the breastfeeding services offered at CHS call 1-855-CHS-4500 or visit, www.chsli.org.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tips For Navigating An Easter Buffet




By Stefani Pappas, MS, RDN, CDN, CPT

Easter is a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family. However, the abundance of food can encourage overeating and overindulging. Learn how to enjoy to keep your health in check and navigate any Easter buffet:

Survey Your Options
When it comes to buffets or family-style eating, it can be tempting to fill your plate with everything offered. Instead, take a minute to scan the buffet or table before placing anything on your plate. Reviewing the options can help you decide which foods to select. Think about those food aren’t available often and add those to your plate instead of wasting calories on items you have access to year-round.  

Fill Half Of Your Plate With Vegetables
Vegetables are packed with heart-healthy fiber and water that fills us up more than processed carbohydrates. Load half of your plate with fresh salad and steamed or roasted vegetables.  They are a fantastic low-calorie, nutrient-rich option that will keep you satisfied throughout the day. When choosing a dish to bring to your Easter feast, volunteer to toss a large salad or vibrant vegetable cruditĂ© to ensure there is a veggie-packed option for all to enjoy.

Remember Your Serving Sizes
You don’t need fancy measuring cups or food scales to determine the appropriate portion size. Instead, just look at your hand! An open palm is equivalent to a serving of about three to four ounces of lean protein such as poultry, fish, shellfish, or beef. A tight fist equals approximately one cup, which should be the limit of cooked pasta, rice, or a medium-sized baked potato. An ounce of cheese is approximately the size of your thumb, and one teaspoon of a high-fat food such as mayonnaise or butter is similar in size to the tip of your thumb. Keep in mind that larger plates may make you midjudge portion sizes and lead to overeating. If you can, try placing your food on a smaller dish such as a salad plate.

Stay Hydrated
Between preparing food for an Easter feast or getting involved in an Easter egg hunt, it is easy to forget about drinking water. Hydration is crucial for regulating body temperature, boosting immunity, aiding metabolism, and assisting in weight management. Be sure to drink lots of fluids before, during, and after any festivities. Drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning, and try to take a few sips of water with your dinner meal. Since you’re want to stay hydrated, be careful with caffeinated and alcoholic beverages which can dehydrate the body. Opt for a water with lemon or naturally-flavored seltzer with your meal.

If you are enjoying an Easter buffet this weekend, now is the perfect time to implement some of these strategies. However, these tips are great for any function.

Stefani Pappas, MS, RDN, CDN, CPT, is a clinical dietitian nutritionist at St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Hospital®.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February is American Heart Month



Did you know the number one killer in New York is cardiovascular disease?

Physical activity is important to prevent heart disease and stroke. Doing at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise can help improve your health.  For those who would benefit from lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity 3 to 4 times a week to lower the risks.

The American Heart Association urges all Americans to know the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately if symptoms occur you can also become trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and support the placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in their communities.

Knowing the warning signs for heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest can help prevent serious illness. To learn about these signs visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/911-Warnings-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_305346_SubHomePage.jsp.

Watch CHS's Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer Patrick O'Shaughnessy, DO discuss heart disease:



If you need a physician, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Tips to Help You Stay Healthy This Flu Season


Flu season is at its peak. According to the New York State Department of Health, flu activity levels are high across New York, and this was the seventh week that widespread activity has been reported.  This past week, we suffered from the highest levels of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases and hospitalizations related to the flu in more than 10 years. In fact, Governor Cuomo has declared a state-wide public health emergency due to the flu. 

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, and people of any age can contract it. Some individuals, including the elderly, young children and those with certain health conditions, are at greater risk for serious flu complications. As many as 49,000 deaths and almost 300,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. are attributed to the flu annually.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated each year, as soon as the vaccine is available. Flu activity begins in November and can occur as late as May. For information about the 2017-2018 flu season visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

Here are some additional tips to stop the spread of influenza and other illnesses:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your arm
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based sanitizer) for at least 20 seconds
  • Stay home from work or school and otherwise avoid contact with others when sick
If you have not yet had the flu vaccine, it is not too late. The CDC recommends vaccinating throughout the flu season, as long as influenza viruses are circulating. “The flu vaccine allows antibodies to develop in the body approximately two weeks after patients receive it,” said Jason Golbin, DO, MBA, MS, system chief quality officer for CHS. “These antibodies help provide protection against infection with the viruses in the vaccine.”

In addition, if you are feeling symptomatic, do not hesitate to see your health care provider promptly. “And don’t forget to wash your hands regularly,” reminds Dr. Golbin. 

Speak to your physician if you are having health issues. Visit www.chsli.org to find a doctor near you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Slimmer, Healthier You in 2018

With a majority of Americans classified as overweight and a third as obese, it’s not surprising that losing weight is one of the top New Year’s resolutions. Because it requires a firm commitment to a strict regimen and the modification of habits, achieving this goal can be tough, and some may give up. However, excess weight can cause cardiovascular issues, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Coming to terms with weight issues is essential for long-term health. When there’s a diagnosis of obesity, a physician may ask the patient to create a lifestyle events-body weight graph, as stressful events can be associated with changes in physical activity and eating habits. This can be helpful in determining a patient’s ability to make lifestyle changes.

Weight management therapies can include diet, exercise, and lifestyle intervention and counseling, and possibly bariatric surgery, depending on the circumstances. A standard metric for assessing weight is body mass index (BMI), which measures body fat, based on height and weight. Bariatric surgery may be appropriate for adults with a BMI of ≥40 or a BMI of ≥35 with obesity-related co-morbidities who have not responded to treatment (Guidelines [2013] for Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adult).

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers an online BMI calculator at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm. If you’re concerned about your weight, speaking to your doctor could be the first step toward achieving your 2018 resolution of a slimmer, healthier you!

CHS hospitals offer bariatric surgical options to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Visit www.chsli.org for more information. Subscribe to CHS’s blog and receive a free BMI chart by call 1-855-CHS-4500.



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tips for a Healthier New Year


Focusing on wellness in 2018 can help ensure a better quality of life, offering an opportunity to take a fresh look at your health and address areas for improvement.

An annual checkup can detect hidden health issues early. During your exam, discuss aches or pains, medications and any concerns. “Your physician can identify issues and work with you to resolve them,” said CHS’s Executive Vice President and System Chief Medical Officer Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy, DO. “Physicians offer years of specialized training, knowledge and expertise, allowing patients who are actively involved in their care a better chance of staying healthy.”

When making New Year’s resolutions, select attainable strategies to successfully reach your wellness goals.

Resolution suggestions:
  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment for check-ups, screenings and vaccination View video
  • Make healthy food choices, preparing more of your own meals.
  • Become more active; for example, why not take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Wear sunscreen as needed, even in the winter months. View video
  • Meditate to help with stress. View video
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends at least seven to eight hours for adults. View video

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel where you can view Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions. Speak to your physician if you are having health issues. Visit www.chsli.org to find a doctor

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tips to Avoid the Flu


Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, people of any age can contract it. Some individuals, including the elderly, young children and those with certain health conditions, are at greater risk for serious flu complications. On an average year, as many as 49,000 deaths and almost 300,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. are attributed to the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated each year, as soon as the vaccine is available. Flu activity begins in November and can occur as late as May. For information regarding the 2017-2018 flu season visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

Here are some additional tips to stop the spread of influenza and other illnesses:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your arm
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based sanitizer) for 20 seconds
  • Stay home from work or school and otherwise avoid contact with others when sick
Subscribe to CHS’s blog and receive a free hand sanitizer by calling 1-855-CHS-4500. Speak to your physician if you are having health issues. Visit www.chsli.org to find a doctor near you.