Task Force Meeting #2: The Designation is Not the Goal

blogtobabyfriendly is a chronicle of Memorial’s journey to UNICEF/WHO Baby-Friendly designation. But the designation is not the goal.  In fact, there is danger in focusing on the designation alone.

Subtle but powerfully distracting changes occur in our conversations when we focus too closely on the designation as a destination. Instead of thinking and talking about sustainable change in practice and culture, we hope that our efforts will be approved.

If we make designation our sole focus, we negate what is required to maintain the designation. Becoming Baby-Friendly is a commitment to our community to provide the best, most evidence-based feeding guidance. After designation, quality improvement projects and additional training will keep us current. If the designation is like losing weight, then keeping the designation is like keeping the weight off.

So what are the goals? Of course we want the designation, but it may be more helpful to keep focused if we think of the “But why?”

Hanging in my office, right in front of me is a bright piece of paper that reads:

 Keep the GOALS in front!

1.  Achieve Baby-Friendly designation. But why???

*Evidence-based feeding

*Bonding

*More confident parents

2. Build a sustainable program

3. Become a Childbirth Center

The “whys” are all about the families we serve, not attaining a designation. That is where our focus must firmly remain.

The second goal is to build a sustainable program. We could, as quickly as possible, check off all we have to do to “get Baby-Friendly” and do the minimum required and be done. But that would be flimsy and would likely fall apart if a few key people left the organization. Instead, we’ll take time for depth of understanding, thoughtful process change and buy-in from all involved.

Lastly, the goal is to become a Childbirth Center.  Shared goals, working and achieving together will form a more cohesive culture. Earning Baby-Friendly designation is not something one person or unit can do independently; it takes the support of the entire hospital. It takes very dedicated work from nurses in the Childbirth Unit, Mother-Baby Unit, Breastfeeding Support Services, Newborn ICU and Pediatrics.

There will be no one person or department who will be able to lay claim to achieving Baby-Friendly.  We will do it together, and the journey will be the reward.

“I think there is something more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision.”  W. Clement Stone

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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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5 Responses to Task Force Meeting #2: The Designation is Not the Goal

  1. Patty De Stefano says:

    Amy – your passion is so contagious. Thank you for your leadership in this journey. The task force is great because of the diversity of the group. I love the discussions and the feedback around the table. It is easy to look at doing something because “we’ve always done it this way”. We must look at the evidence, the literature and then eventually change our culture because it is the right thing to do. After two task force meetings it is apparent why this is a marathon, not a 40 yard dash!

  2. Kathy Nania says:

    I am very proud of you Amy, for this effort. The blog is so beautifully and creatively written! Just another of your many talents. I wish all the best!

  3. Gemma Regan says:

    I can hardly put into words how much I appreciate all of this! What an important role and impact Memorial Hospital has in the health of our local families. I am honored and excited to be a part of it all as we move forward together. (nurse and new grandmother 🙂

  4. Marie says:

    I like how you mentioned being sustainable. I could see how momentum could build up and people be dedicated in the beginning and then efforts dwindle after the “newness” wore off. I am sure you will put supports in place so that won’t happen!

  5. Erica Garrett says:

    I wish I could be more of a part of this, what are some ways that a soon-to-be new nurse can help in this process. I am a wholehearted supporter of Baby-friendly care. I feel that way most importantly because it feels right, and also because it is supported by evidence and outcomes. Way to go, and please let me know if there are ways I can help too.

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