Monday, August 27, 2018

Not All Oils Are Created Equal

Last week, a Harvard professor went viral in a video calling coconut oil, “pure poison”. But before you decide to give it up completely, clinical dietitian at The Cancer Institute at CHS’s St. Francis Hospital, Stefani Pappas provides further insight.

Pappas says, “Not all oils are created equal. When we break down the composition of each oil, we get a ratio of fatty acids that include polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats. Over 90 percent of coconut oil is composed of saturated fat! A diet rich in saturated fat has been shown to increase cholesterol levels, especially our LDL or “bad” cholesterol.  Just to put things into perspective, olive oil contains less than 15 percent saturated fat, with over 70 percent of its composition containing healthy monounsaturated fats.

If you enjoy the taste of coconut oil, then using a small amount on occasion will likely not be harmful.

There currently is not enough evidence to support the proposed health benefits of using large amount of coconut oil on a daily basis. Stick to primarily unsaturated oils such as olive oil and avocado oil, and don’t neglect other heart-healthy habits such as following a plant-based diet and physical activity.”

A high cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and as Pappas pointed out, there are healthier alternatives. If you choose to continue using coconut oil speak with your physician/dietitian to see what works best for your diet.

*The original video was delivered in German and can be found here.

For more information about CHS 1-855-CHS-4500 or visit

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,