Our New Partnership With Cohen Children’s Medical Center Means That You Have Access To The Best Care For Your Child

Now that Westchester Health Pediatrics is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, a wide range of sub-specialty pediatric services are now available to you at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report.

To make sure your child receives the highest quality medical care, Cohen Children’s Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of sub-specialties, including cardiothoracic surgery, Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center, Epilepsy Center, Fetal Cardiology Program, Hearing and Speech Center, Kidney Transplant Program, Leukemia and Lymphoma Program, Oncology Rare Tumors and Sarcoma Program, POWER Kids Weight Management Program and Stem Cell Transplant Program. All of these sub-specialties and many more are now available to you as part of our new affiliation with Northwell Health.

Here’s a wonderful story about a concerned mom, a premature daughter and the dedicated staff of Cohen Children’s Medical Center’s lactation team.

A new way to enhance preemies’ natural nutrition

When Mackenzie was born prematurely, her mother was determined to give her the breast milk she needed to grow and thrive.

A mother of two boys, Axsa Medrano had some experience with breastfeeding. But the 31-year-old accountant from Queens needed guidance to produce breast milk when her daughter was born last December.

“I didn’t breastfeed much with either of my boys,” Ms. Medrano said. “My milk dried up after just a few weeks for both of them, and I didn’t have the help or education I needed to breastfeed them successfully.”

While Mackenzie stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Ms. Medrano hoped her daughter would benefit from breastfeeding.

“On the first day, the lactation consultants brought a breast pump to my room and started educating me about how good a mother’s milk is for her baby,” Ms. Medrano said. “I felt like a first-time mom all over again.”

Ms. Medrano learned to pump about every three hours to encourage the production and expression of milk. She also focused on holding her baby and maintaining skin-to-skin contact to promote bonding and milk production.

Making the most of mother’s milk

The lactation team fortified Ms. Medrano’s expressed milk with key nutrients that would strengthen Mackenzie’s immune system and encourage her growth and development. Fortifying breast milk according to each baby’s needs is at the heart of Cohen Children’s Medical Center’s Human Milk Center.

“The Human Milk Center has trained milk technicians who label and store a mother’s milk in a temperature-controlled environment,” said Richard Schanler, MD, director of neonatal services with Northwell Health and Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “When a feeding order comes in for a baby in the NICU, the technicians bring a certain amount of the milk to the right temperature and mix it with the appropriate amount of fortifier. They then put it in a labeled feeding device, such as a syringe, and deliver it to the baby’s bedside.”

Getting adequate nutrients from a mother’s milk is crucial, especially for babies born ahead of schedule. Premature babies fed with their mother’s milk can better fight off intestinal disorders and infections, such as necrotizing enterocolitis, a common disease in preemies. If a mother cannot pump enough milk for her baby, Human Milk Center technicians may formulate servings with pasteurized donor milk.

“A mother’s milk improves the baby’s ability to withstand respiratory problems, like chronic lung disease, and reduces the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity, the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina that can cause blindness, and improves their development,” said Dr. Schanler.

The Human Milk Center’s streamlined delivery process helps the Cohen Children’s Medical Center team ensure that infants in the NICU consume their mother’s milk as often as possible.

“In the past, nurses had to spend significant time acquiring and preparing a mother’s milk for her preemie,” said Cynthia Pesce, RN, lactation coordinator at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Ms. Pesce is a board-certified lactation consultant recognized by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. “Our system allows nurses to concentrate more on patient care, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Today, Mackenzie is home and getting to know her big brothers. Ms. Medrano still marvels at the support she received from Cohen Children’s Medical Center lactation consultants.

“The lactation specialists are very knowledgeable, encouraging and uplifting,” Ms. Medrano said. “Thanks to their support, Mackenzie is getting stronger every day.”

To read Mackenzie’s full story, click here.

When you need us, we are here for you, now more than ever

At Westchester Health, even though some things have changed recently, the most important thing about us has not: our commitment to delivering the highest-quality standard of compassionate, patient-centered care for you and your family. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

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