South Lake Hospital promotes benefits of breastfeeding

The hospital is also recognized as a breastfeeding-friendly employer.


Kim Couch
[email protected]

CLERMONT, Fla. — South Lake Hospital is recognizing August as National Breastfeeding Month by educating patients, team members and the community about the benefits of breastfeeding newborns.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding offers a variety of proven health benefits for both babies and mothers. Breastfeeding for nine months reduces a baby’s odds of becoming overweight by more than 30 percent. Babies that are breastfed experience less ear infections, lower respiratory tract infections and are at a lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and diabetes than babies who are not breastfed. Mothers that breastfeed are at a lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding education and support for parents begins during pregnancy at South Lake Hospital. The hospital offers an introduction to breastfeeding class (Breastfeeding I), ideal for parents during the late stage of pregnancy. A follow-up course (Breastfeeding II) is also offered for those who are preparing to go back to work or have additional questions once the baby is born. 

Mothers that deliver at the hospital’s Centre for Women’s Health have the opportunity to meet with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) registered nurse who will help answer any breastfeeding questions while they are in the hospital and provide encouragement and support. Once they go home, the hospital offers a free lactation support line, which is 352.394.4071, ext. 4380. If additional support is needed, the lactation specialists offer private consultations.

The hospital also offers two support groups for new mom’s — Mom’s Morning Out for mothers with children newborn to three months of age and Mom’s Afternoon Out for mothers with children three months to six months of age. This is also led by the hospital’s IBCLC registered nurse and mothers can ask breastfeeding questions, weight their children and draw off the support of other local new mothers. 

South Lake Hospital also recently earned Silver Level recognition in the Florida Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award. To earn the award from the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, employers must have a formal breastfeeding support policy, offer a comfortable, private area for pumping or nursing and allow flexible breaks to accommodate.

According to the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, businesses that support breastfeeding find that mothers and fathers of breastfed babies take less sick leave, the breastfed babies are healthier and have lower healthcare costs and retention for new parents is higher. South Lake Hospital is the only hospital in Lake County to earn this award.

“South Lake Hospital takes very seriously the responsibility to educate our community on the benefits of breastfeeding so it is imperative that we support our team members and do all that we can to provide a work environment that encourages the continuation of breastfeeding once they return to work,” commented Amy Harvick, one of South Lake Hospital’s IBCLC and registered nurse.

The hospital is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Centre for Women’s Health facility, which provides labor and delivery services as well as a women’s imaging center. South Lake Hospital delivers an average of 600 babies per year. For more information about breastfeeding classes and other community education opportunities, please call 352.241.7109, or visit

About South Lake Hospital’s LiveWell Campus: South Lake Hospital’s LiveWell Campus includes the 122-bed non-profit hospital, in partnership with Orlando Health, Centre for Women’s Health, LiveWell Fitness Center, National Training Center, South Lake Endoscopy Center, South Lake Surgery Center and various campus partners. South Lake Hospital has been serving the healthcare needs of the South Lake community since 1947 and employs 1,100 employees and has more than 200 physicians on its medical staff. The campus focuses on preventative healthcare through health, education and fitness programming.