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???
*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