In 2014, Arkansas ranked 44th in the country for the percentage of new moms breastfeeding.
UAMS wants to help change these statistics using what they call belly beads.
Lactation consultant Lisa Fulgham, R.N. uses belly beads to help mothers understand how tiny a new born’s stomach is.
“That shows them that the mother does not actually have to have a lot of milk right at that time to feed her baby,” Fulgham said.
They also help moms cast away the worry of not filling their babys’ bellies.
“Many times is just takes a few drops every couple hours,” she said.
The beads are a helpful visual for new moms like Ashlee Duryea as she cares for baby Maxwell.
“It was great. I mean, all the information provided, getting to see the size, ’cause we’ve never done it before,” Duryea said.
In 2013, only 57 percent of Arkansas mothers breastfed their babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We want that rate to grow of breastfeeding moms, and it is growing, it is on the rise,” Fulgham said.
The latest statistics from the CDC prove the numbers are rising, and show a 10 percent rise in the breastfeeding trend in just 1 year from 57.7 to 67.1 percent. Despite the change, only 5 states have a lower breastfeeding rate than Arkansas: Delaware (65%), Mississippi (61.5%), Kentucky (61.3%), West Virginia (59.3%) and Louisiana (56.9%). The national average in 2014 was 79.2 percent.
“[Breastfeeding] decreases sudden infant death, also Type 1, Type 2 diabetes, there are just many different benefits,” Fulgham said.
“The health benefits and you know it’s just a good bonding experience and keeps up close,” Duryea said.
The maternal fetal medicine nurses handmade 500 of the pins for every nurse in their department to use.
They hope other UAMS hospitals around the state will follow suit.