The Putnam County Department of Health is made of several divisions all working towards improving and protecting the health of the community. Click on one of the options below to learn more about that division.
In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, the health department is spotlighting one of our maternal child health (MCH) nurses, certified lactation consultant Diane Liscia, RN, PHN, MS, IBCLC. Continue reading for insight about what it means to be an MCH nurse at the health department.
What is your favorite part of being an MCH nurse?
As a Maternal Child Health nurse and a lactation consultant, it is an honor and privilege for me to be involved in helping families adjust to having a newborn at home and to help ensure that mom and baby get off to a good start with breastfeeding. As the early days of new parenthood and breastfeeding can be difficult and filled with many questions, being able to provide support and guidance to a family in their home or in a support group is very rewarding.
What does your day-to-day work look like?
My daily schedule varies from day to day. I spend a good part of my time making home visits to new moms and babies to assess their breastfeeding status and to provide lactation support and education. The initial home visit includes a history of the mother’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery, as well as early breastfeeding experience. I then assess the actual breastfeeding relationship, the infant’s weight gain, and the mother’s comfort and confidence with breastfeeding. I also facilitate two New Moms Support Groups each week, giving mothers the opportunity to meet and interact with other mothers, as well as to have their breastfeeding questions answered and their infant’s weight gain assessed. General infant and child development issues are addressed in both settings as well. I welcome the opportunity to be able to speak with mothers and answer their questions and address their concerns over the telephone.
What do you wish the public knew about your job?
As both a Maternal Child Health nurse and lactation consultant, my goal is to support families in their goals regarding breastfeeding and to provide education regarding infant care and development. A mother’s decision to breastfeed will impact her infant’s long-term health, as well as her own health. Many difficulties encountered in the early day of breastfeeding can be overcome with timely support and evidence-based information.
What piece of advice do you give to new parents that always gets a positive reaction?
The early days with an infant may be long, but they do go by quickly. Savor each moment, as babies grown and change quickly. Trust that the fussiness and sleeplessness will turn to smiles and playfulness soon enough.
What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?
It is important for mothers to reach out and connect with each other for support and affirmation of their very important role.
Every family is different—with different experiences, expectations, and needs.
New mothers need to give themselves the grace and time to discover what works best for their family situation in terms of parenting style, breastfeeding, returning to work, and arranging childcare.
As Ms. Liscia stated, breastfeeding has health benefits for both mom and baby. According to the CDC, mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. They also lower their risk of ovarian and breast cancers. Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases like asthma, obesity, and type 1 diabetes. They are also at a decreased risk of SIDS, infections that cause diarrhea and vomiting, ear infections, and even severe lower respiratory disease.
The health department facilitates two new moms support groups where parents can ask about breastfeeding, sleep, milestones and more:
For more information to start or continue your breastfeeding journey, please call the health department at 845-808-1390 to speak to one of our maternal child health nurses.