MONTCLAIR, NJ - 'The Big Latch On' will take place on Saturday, Aug. 1 to celebrate the benefits of breastfeeding and World Breastfeeding week. Hosted by HackensackUMC Mountainside, all nursing and expectant mothers are invited to attend from 9:45 a.m. until noon at HackensackUMC Mountainside in the Bayberry, located at 1 Bay Ave., Montclair. 

The event is free to all nursing moms, soon-to-be parents, partners/spouses, family, friends and supporters of breastfeeding.

Refreshments and free parking will be provided.  Advanced registration before July 31 is required by calling (973) 429-6964 or emailing megan.voytus@mountainsidehosp.com.

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The HackensackUMC Mountainside maternity staff includes two nurses, Laurie Barbalinardo and Tish Buggeln, who have completed a comprehensive training program and certifying examination for lactation consultants and been awarded certification by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).  

The hospital’s nursery staff is trained in a breastfeeding protocol that includes showing mothers how to maintain lactation and pump breast milk when separated from their infants. In addition to bringing newborns to their mothers promptly for breastfeeding, mother and child are allowed to remain together or “room in” the same hospital room around the clock whenever possible.

For infants who require special care in HackensackUMC Mountainside’s Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to premature birth, low birth weight and other complications, the hospital’s IBLCE-certified nurses work with their mothers to facilitate breastfeeding. Upon discharge, the certified lactation consultants follow-up with all first-time mothers by phone to smooth the transition from hospital to home. Pump rentals and referrals to local breastfeeding support groups are also provided.

Breastfeeding classes for expectant mothers, as well as other helpful courses designed to prepare parents care for infants and adjust to changing family dynamics, are held at HackensackUMC Mountainside throughout the year. The classes are open to all area residents. Additional information and convenient online registration is available at the hospital’s website, www.mountainsidehosp.com.

About 10% of all newborns require specialized neonatal care. HackensackUMC Mountainside has experienced board-certified neonatologists with impressive credentials available around the clock, seven days a week to attend to infants with special needs. A neonatologist is present at every cesarean birth as a precaution. The hospital’s Level II Neonatal ICU, which is also staffed by specially trained nurses, treats infants for an array of respiratory complications, infections and other conditions that are present at birth or arise in the first month of life. The HackensackUMC Mountainside Neonatal ICU is a convenient resource for local families with newborns who require hospitalization.