New MUSC Program provides nutritional support to mothers

Source: Live 5
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:48 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:13 AM EDT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina mothers whose babies are admitted to the NICU, or cardiovascular ICU at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston, are now eligible to receive nutritional support for their newborns.

The nutritional support comes from a partnership between DHEC’s Women, Infants and Children nutritional program, and MUSC.

The partnership will shorten the time it takes for mothers to get breast milk to their babies post-discharge after extended hospital stays.

DHEC’s Women, Infant and Children van comes to the children’s hospital on Thursdays to deliver hospital-grade electric breast pumps to qualifying mothers. The specialists at MUSC said this makes it easier for mothers to get breast milk to their babies who are staying in the NICU or Cardiovascular ICU and are unable to breastfeed.

They said before this partnership, mothers who did not have their own electric pump, or have the resources to buy one, would have to use a manual pump after being discharged. Mothers would then have to make several appointments to receive their pump, which they say could take two to four weeks.

“Any mother that delivers a baby that’s going to be in the ICU at a children’s hospital long term and has to decide ‘would I rather go to my WIC appointment or be at my baby’s bedside,’ they’re going to be here at the children’s hospital,” Neal Boone, a Neonatal and Perinatal Fellow at MUSC, said.

Bringing the van to the hospital eliminates transportation issues and saves mothers time and money.

“The relief, it seems like, on these moms’ faces when they can do this all-in-one grouped visit is really nice. Because you know that you’re helping them. Because a lot of times they don’t have the resources to stop at multiple places, and it even takes them weeks to get to the WIC center near their homes,” Katherine Chetta, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatologist at MUSC, said.

The specialists said they would eventually like to expand the program and have it multiple days a week. For more information about the WIC Program, click here.

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