Since January 2010, more than 750 mothers and babies have turned to the Via Christi Breastfeeding Clinic for help — and the demand for the clinic’s services continues to grow.
“We’ve had up to 14 mothers during a four-hour period,” said Amy Ellington, the board-certified lactation consultant who manages Via Christi’s Lactation department.
To meet the growing need, the clinic, located immediately north of the Via Christi Hospital on Harry, recently expanded its days of operation from three days a week to five.
Now open to walk-in traffic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, the clinic’s services are offered at no cost to mothers who’ve delivered their babies at the Via Christi Hospital on Harry or the Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa. Mothers who’ve delivered elsewhere pay a one-time $50 fee.
“We invest a lot of time and effort in helping breastfeeding mothers in the hospital,” said Ellington, noting that at Via Christi all breastfeeding mothers receive at least one daily lactation consultation during their hospital stay. “We educate every day, watch the baby latch every day and will assist at every feeding if we need to.
“But once the milk comes in, which is usually after mother and baby have left the hospital, a whole new set of problems can arise,” she said. “That’s where the clinic has been a godsend.”
The Via Christi Breastfeeding Clinic opened in June 2008 to help with a variety of challenges for breastfeeding mothers, including breast engorgement, low milk supply, preparing to return to work, babies who have difficulty latching on, are jaundiced or have weight gain issues.
In addition to staffing the clinic and seeing patients in Via Christi’s NewLife Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Ellington, along with five other full- and part-time board-certified consultants and a breastfeeding educator, also teach twice a month breastfeeding classes as well as classes designed for residents and staff, answer after-hours calls from mothers with questions, and make follow-up calls to breastfeeding mothers after dismissal.
The Via Christi Breastfeeding Clinic, 1156 S. Clifton, can be reached at 316-689-5426. For information about breastfeeding classes, call Via Christi Health Connection at 316-689-5700.
Via Christi Health (viachristi.org) is a Catholic-sponsored health ministry affiliated with the Marian Health System and Ascension Health. The largest provider of health care services in Kansas, Via Christi Health serves the region through hospitals, senior villages, physician services and health services. Via Christi Health employs more than 9,000 in Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. In fiscal year 2009, Via Christi Health provided more than $78.1 million in community benefit, including care of persons who are poor, to the communities it serves.