1st Task Force Meeting: An Inside Scoop

If you’d asked me 6 months ago, 5 years ago or 10 years ago, I would have told you it was only a dream or a fantasy, but today we held the first Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Task Force meeting! Twenty people were in attendance, including representation from physicians, nursing, Memorial Health Foundation, Marketing, Administration, WIC, La Leche League, as well as unit directors and other leaders.

Since Baby-Friendly USA recommends a multidisciplinary team this turns out to be a good size group. The task force will meet together once per month. Each person has a different level of involvement, but everyone has daily, weekly and monthly tasks. These tasks are different, depending on each person’s level of involvement. Some people, for example, attend task force meetings as “fresh eyes consultants” or “expert consultants,” but may have little participation outside of the monthly task force meetings. These consultants help us all keep an eye on the bigger picture and notice the small details.

Ok, so you may be thinking, ‘if some people only have to come to task force meetings, how is it that everyone has daily tasks?’ Well, here’s the scoop. When we look at how things change in a unit, hospital, community or any other large group, we see that it only takes a few people to make a big change. Malcolm Gladwell calls this “The Law of the Few.” Applying this law to a contagious disease, we find that it only takes a few people to spread the disease to a large number of people. Applying this law to changing a unit or a hospital, we find that it only takes a few people to make meaningful change. But making an idea contagious takes some strategy. We need key people. These key people are called The Few.

The Few are not just people on the task force, but each task force member is part of the The Few. Anyone can be part of this group. Here’s what is required:

  • Be a CONNECTOR: Simply spread the word to the people you know. Use the words “Baby-Friendly” everyday. More importantly, have your Baby-Friendly elevator speech ready.
  • Be a MAVEN: Learn, share and learn some more. Be a passionate expert and spread your passion!
  • Be a SALESPERSON: Convert the skeptics.

Not many people are all three of these. Usually within a group, there is a balance of each kind of person.

If you’re into YouTube videos of crazy college students explaining the world (I am!), here’s a 4½-minute video to help clear up these roles.

Now HOW does THAT apply to Baby-Friendly? Let me give you an example. My sister-in-law knows everyone. She has thousands of Facebook friends and a rich social life. She has worked in several hospitals and stays connected with people at each one. When she found out about blogtobabyfriendly, she got out her iPhone and laptop and began signing up her friends. That’s a Connector!

Before Christmas, I don’t think she had ever heard of Baby-Friendly, but ask her now and she’ll say something like this: “Baby-Friendly helps hospitals change things so that women are successful when they want to breastfeed. It helps parents bond and be more confident parents.” That’s an elevator speech! Delivered with passion and an ever-growing base of knowledge, she could be a Maven!

Now a Baby-Friendly Salesperson is a person who wants to hear people’s opposition and give people the information needed to become a believer. Salespeople are needed because nursing staff and physicians will have very real concerns along the journey to Baby-Friendly. A Salesperson takes time to address those concerns thoughtfully.

Which are you: Connector, Maven, Salesperson? If you’re a mom, doctor, nurse, from Memorial or somewhere in California, you can be part of The Few.


About blogtobabyfriendly

blogtobabyfriendly is written by Amy Murray, a Childbirth Unit nurse with a touch of earth muffin crunch. A childbirth educator and IBCLC, she's been a breastfeeding advocate all her adult life, believing that if our bodies make milk, it just makes good sense to feed it to our babies. blogtobabyfriendly is her hospital's journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Click to get email updates on new blog posts. Our desire is to learn, share, and learn more.
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23 Responses to 1st Task Force Meeting: An Inside Scoop

  1. Susi Thompson says:

    I’m definitely a Maven! Yea baby friendly.

  2. Just watched that quirky YouTube video again…so funny but true! Thanks LaToya for suggesting it!

  3. Steve Huffman says:

    Enjoy being a connector – Keep on with the GREAT work!

  4. Gemma Regan (memorial family medicine-childbirth educator) says:

    YAY Baby Friendly!! What a GOOD thing for Memorial Hospital and our community – and what a GREAT thing for our MOMS and BABIES!! So glad to be a part of this task force : )

  5. Jerri Lynn Simmons says:

    I have to say that at my age I am a grandma and really wish that when I had my children I would have had this kind of information and support available. I am honored to be related to someone that is greatly dedicated to helping women become more educated about a baby friendly environment.

  6. Jenna Fischer says:

    Thank you for creating this blog. I am a breastfeeding mom who has delivered two babies at Memorial and I am so excited that they are moving towards becoming baby friendly. I am passionate about natural childbirth and breastfeeding, but am not a part of the medical community, so this blog will help keep me updated on Memorial’s progress. Keep up the good work!

  7. Jen says:

    Excited that Memorial is on this journey to baby friendly! I think too often mom’s don’t breast feed or stay with it because they just don’t have the education and/or the support. By becoming baby friendly will be a great benefit to our community! As a new mom who is breast feeding (and had my baby at Memorial) I am excited to follow the details!

  8. Marie says:

    I look forward to reading more blog entries about the baby-friendly initiative. I have participated in Memorial’s breastfeeding class and support group and I have learned so much! I hope to continue learning more through the blog as I breastfeed my now 12 week baby!

  9. Katie Kreider says:

    Yay for baby friendly in South Bend. Watching with great anticipation!

  10. April Kelly says:

    I am so excited about this initiative and this blog is so great to be able to stay in the loop! Every woman and baby deserve all the information and support they need to initiate and continue a healthy and satisfying breastfeeding relationship! I am honored to have a small part in this by just talking about it and attending our support group. I’m proud of memorial hospital for undertaking this initiative!

  11. Karen DeCocker-Geist MSN, CNM says:

    As a Certified Nurse Midwife I am thrilled to see Memorial leading the way on this very important topic. I work in Michigan, but am a long time fan of the progressive steps that Memorial hopital has continually taken in improving outcomes for mothers and babies.
    Sometimes doing the right thing is not the popular or easiest choice. I honor the committment Amy Murray and her dedicated crew and supporters have made to the long term health of the community! Go Memorial!

  12. Adam Houghton says:

    Hooray for Baby Friendly at Memorial!

  13. Thanks Karen! Getting this far took the support of many leaders at Memorial. I am proud to work for an organization that cares and has vision. Looking forward to sharing our story and hearing from other hospitals as we begin to reach out.

  14. Janet Engstrom says:

    I am a lactation researcher with the Rush Mothers’ Milk Club at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. I am writing to compliment you on your blog that describes your progress in achieving the UNICEF/WHO Baby-Friendly designation. To date, few hospitals have undertaken this process because it is a difficult task that requires expertise in the lactation and breastfeeding as well as extensive administrative knowledge and skills. The information that you are posting on this website makes the process sound much more achievable. In addition to the great service that this process provides to your community, you are also serving as a model for many other hospitals. I hope that you will continue to share your progress through each of these steps.

    Best wishes on your journey to achieving Baby-Friendly status.
    Janet Engstrom, PhD, APN, CNM, WHNP-BC

  15. Dr. Engstrom thank-you for your kind, encouraging words. We are happy to share our journey in hopes it may be of help to others trying to navigate their own Baby-Friendly path. At the same time, the blog provides an opportunity to reach out to our own community so families know just what to expect when coming to Memorial to have a baby. Everyone gets to be a part of the conversation along the way: staff, physicians, patients, other hospitals and professionals. Thank-you for being part of the conversation!

  16. Carrie Bechtel RN IBCLC says:

    Good luck as you strive to reach Baby Friendly Status. It’s a goal worth reaching for!

    Carrie Bechtel, RN, IBCLC
    Circle of Caring Birthplace
    IU Health Goshen Hospital – a Baby Friendly Designated hospital

  17. Mary Murphy-Smith, DNP, CNM, APRN, IBCLC says:

    Good for you! These might be baby steps to get the baby-friendly initiative moving, but it is a leap towards meeting Healthy People 2020 Goals. You are a step ahead of those hospitals which continue to distribute formula gift bags to every mom upon discharge! As a nurse midwife and lactation consultant, I look forward to sharing your progress with others. Thanks for the update!
    Mary Murphy-Smith, DNP, CNM, APRN, IBCLC

  18. Your blog is great! Thank you for what you are achieving at your hospital and the infectious way you are changing the conversation about Baby-Friendly Hospitals. I love incorporating the Connector, Maven and Salesperson roles on a breastfeeding task force. I am the chairperson of the clinical team of the Indiana State Breastfeeding Coalition and would love to have someone from your team join us on our team. We meet monthly via telephone conference call.

  19. Ashley RN BSN says:

    So excited to be part of an important and essential move to become a Baby-Friendly Hospital!

  20. Cindy Werner RN BSN IBCLC says:

    WOW Amy!!! I love this blog!! The U Tube video is awesome, and adds a little humor along our BFHI adventure. I have to admit, that this is my first blog experience, and it is a wonderful way to keep everyone connected.
    When I moved from Chicago 8 years ago from a level three hospital, I was very impressed with how committed Memorial hospital was to breastfeeding; not only in the mother/baby unit, but also in the NICU. I felt very fortunate to become an LC there, and continue to be amazed at the dedication of everyone that cares for the mothers and babies.
    For years there has been alot of discussion on taking the BF plunge, but all talk and no action. Kudos to you, for initiating this deignation, educating us all on the BFHI process, and making this journey exciting!
    I’m very grateful and proud to be a part of the team!

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