NEWARK, NJ — As part of an awareness campaign and in support of new moms and babies, University Hospital Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and to raise funds to purchase breast pumps for moms in need.
“We provide an average of 60 pumps annually to moms who give birth in our hospital. However, we are almost out of our supply for the year with only six electric breast pumps left. Our breast pump program identifies and supports moms who demonstrate a financial need. We have a robust lactation program that encourages moms to breastfeed because of the many benefits it provides to their newborns, especially babies in our NICU,” foundation Executive Director Jessica Backofen said.
The role of the foundation is to fundraise for important programs and services provided by the hospital. There were 1,261 deliveries in 2021 at University Hospital and about half of these patients did not have financial aid for breastfeeding.
Almost two-thirds of the hospital’s patients have Medicaid, which does not cover the cost of a lactation specialist to assist new moms in learning about breastfeeding or getting a breast pump. Breast pumps are tools used by lactation specialists to help train moms on the many benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mom and baby and is the most affordable option for feeding babies. Breast milk is highly nutritious and helps to strengthen a baby’s immune system, which is especially important for babies in the NICU. Regular pumping enables mothers to continue feeding their babies, and breast pumps allow them to return to work, if needed.
“Breast pumps offer much-needed flexibility to help moms feed their babies nutrient-rich breast milk while they are at work and their babies are with a caregiver,” Backofen said.
University Hospital Foundation is asking for donations to support this critical program through the end of September. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/ywwa9bwv.