Charlton Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital receive the 2017 Breastfeeding Achievement Award from the Massachusetts DPH

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Southcoast Health announced today that Charlton Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital each received the 2017 Breastfeeding Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The awards were announced at the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition’s annual conference on September 25 at the Massachusetts Medical Society in Waltham, Mass.

In 2017, MDPH recognized 15 birth hospitals for collaboration with WIC programs in their surrounding communities. Collaborating with WIC increases access to breastfeeding education and support for those women who are most at risk socioeconomically.

“We commend [Southcoast Health] for the dedication and care that you provide to mothers and newborns. The Department of Public Health is committed to improving breastfeeding outcomes across the Commonwealth. We look forward to partnering with [Charlton Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital] to promote and support breastfeeding,” said Ellen Tolan, RD, LDN, IBCLC, State Breastfeeding Coordinator, in a congratulatory letter to Southcoast Health.

Many studies have shown breastfeeding is best for mother and baby. From a reduction in the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis for women to a decrease in the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome, diarrhea, ear infections, leukemia and allergies in children, breastfeeding is a win-win for many moms and babies.

In addition, each maternity unit at Southcoast Health offers the services of trained and certified lactation consultants. These are nurses whose job is to promote breastfeeding and educate and assist moms to achieve success in their efforts.

“I am proud and not surprised that Charlton Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital has been awarded a Breastfeeding Achievement Award by the Massachusetts DPH,” said Dr. Uma Hari, Southcoast Health Obstetrician/Gynecologist. “Having worked at Charlton Memorial for several years and delivering both my children there, I know firsthand how committed the maternity ward is to helping mothers and babies breastfeed. They have been leaders within our healthcare system in implementing maternity care practices that support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.”

Southcoast Health also offers Baby Café, a friendly and comfortable drop-in session for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to learn more about breastfeeding. Mothers can relax, share tips and techniques, and socialize with other moms. Peer support and one-on-one help from specially trained health professionals is available, including professional lactation support and WIC peer counselors.

The program is led locally by Dr. Hari with assistance provided by Southcoast lactation consultants. For the latest locations and schedule, visit