Lactation Care Award Logo

Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital and Ocean Medical Center were recently recognized for excellence in lactation care by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA).

K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital and Ocean Medical Center received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition of staffing professionals who hold the prestigious International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC) certification and providing a lactation program for breastfeeding families. In addition, both Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals demonstrated that they have recently completed activities that help protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

“As a Baby-Friendly Hospital, our team is committed to promoting and supporting breastfeeding,” says Cassandra Leahy, MSN, BA, RN, LCCE, IBCLC, clinical program manager, BFHI, director of Clinical Services, Center for Breastfeeding, Lactation Services, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. “Our families have access to breastfeeding education classes, lactation consultants, support groups and care at our Center for Breastfeeding. We want to help all families in New Jersey meet their infant feeding goals and achieve breastfeeding success.”

Roberto Issler, IBCLC chair of the Board of IBLCE, recently stated, “Agencies that are awarded the IBCLC Care Award have dedicated their efforts to promote and provide a lactation program that makes expert assistance available when the breastfeeding family needs it. This is achieved through encouraging and informing breastfeeding families about the benefits and management of breastfeeding as well as training health care professionals to assist families achieve their breastfeeding goals.”

“Breastfeeding is not only incredibly important for babies, but also for moms. Babies receive the right nutrients to help them grow and develop, fight off infection, and improve digestion,” says Joanne Simonetti, RN, nurse manager, Maternal Child Services, Ocean Medical Center. “Moms benefit from stress reduction and increased bonding with their newborn, faster recovery from giving birth and it may even help in lowering moms’ risk of diabetes, breast and ovarian cancers.”

IBCLCs focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess and provide information on how to successfully initiate breastfeeding. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping families overcome breastfeeding challenges, providing accurate information, and continuing to support them as their baby grows. They assist families returning to work or school, help families in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby or nursing a sick or premature infant, and help train nursing staff to manage basic breastfeeding care.

According to Mudiwah A. Kadeshe, president of ILCA, “IBCLCs work tirelessly in all corners of the globe to help parents provide optimal nutrition to their children. We are proud to recognize some of these IBCLCs through the IBCLC Care Award, which highlights the significant contributions of IBCLCs to improving global health outcomes at the local level.”

In addition to finding IBCLC professionals at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital and Ocean Medical Center, families can also find an IBCLC near them by visiting Follow the “Find a Lactation Consultant” link and search for an IBCLC by postal code, city and state, or country. For more information about the IBCLC Care Award program, contact IBLCE at


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