Freeman Health System has received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Get With The Guidelines® — Stroke Quality Achievement Award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines. Find out more about Freeman and this award here 

August is national breastfeeding month which provides an important opportunity to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding as well as the available resources for breastfeeding support. Breastfeeding can be daunting and overwhelming, especially without prior experience or knowledge of available resources. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for up to 6 months of life and beyond if desired. The health benefits include decrease in maternal breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity. It also decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and childhood infections. Approximately 83% of infants are breastfed at birth which is an increase in recent years, but only 25% of infants are exclusively breastfed at 6 months of life. There are many reasons for this decrease, some of which include lack of available maternity leave, lack of dedicated breastfeeding areas in the workplace, nipple or breast pain, low milk supply, and difficulty latching.

Lactation consultants are a great resource while inpatient in the hospital to initiate breastfeeding, but many people need support beyond their admission. Many hospitals offer outpatient lactation consultations during the postpartum period. Local WIC offices usually have a breastfeeding consultant as well. There can be some medical barriers to breastfeeding such as mastitis or engorgement which you should see your Ob/Gyn provider for. Additionally, premature delivery or even cesarean section delivery can affect the timing for milk supply to come in.

The World Health Organization recommends 10 Hospital Practices to Encourage and Support Breastfeeding which include initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of life as well as rooming in 24 hours a day with the infant. Other interventions that can assist with breastfeeding include skin to skin contact within the first hour of life which can prolong breastfeeding by up to 64 days. 1 in 8 women cease breastfeeding before they desire to which can increase the risk for postpartum depression. This is important to discuss with your Ob/Gyn provider as there are many available resources and interventions not only to help with breastfeeding, but to assist with mental health. Breastfeeding has many emotional and health benefits but is a personal decision that should be made based on everyone’s individual family and goals.

Dr. Jessica Windschitl, DO

Dr. Jessica Windschitl, DO is a board-certified Ob/Gyn and FACOOG at Ozark Obstetrics & Gynecology. If you have any questions or concerns around breastfeeding, you can contact Dr. Windschitl’s office at the Freeman Women’s Center, 1532 W. 32nd St., Joplin, MO 64804, 417-347-2525. You can also speak with a certified lactation specialist at Freeman Lactation Services, 417-347-1067.



Breastfeeding Challenges. Committee Opinion 820. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Barriers to Breastfeeding: Supporting Initiation and Continuation of Breastfeeding. Committee Opinion 821. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Optimizing Support for Breastfeeding as Part of Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion 756. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The newly formed Healthy Kids Team, a sub team of the JACC and One Joplin Healthy Joplin Team, is collecting ideas for initiatives to support the goal of permanently improving the health and wellness of kids and youth in the Joplin region. Our desire is to eliminate health obstacles and create an environment where every child and young person, regardless of abilities, have the right to a healthy well-being and access to a healthy lifestyle through initiatives that have a positive impact.
Please share ideas for short or long term initiatives that could have a positive impact on the physical, mental, social, educational, or emotional health of youth in the Joplin region. No idea is too large or small. Submission of an idea comes with no strings attached, there is no expectation to commit time beyond the submission. However, if you are interested in becoming involved, please let us know.

In order to be considered, ideas must be received no later than September 8, 2021

Submit ideas here.

We started the Empire Market in 2018, to increase access to fresh, locally grown food for our citizens and to provide another venue for small growers, bakers, and other makers to sell at. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things.