I love “before and after” pictures. Anything before and after will grab my attention — weight loss, home improvements, makeovers — I just love it!
We are realizing some of our own “before and afters” at Memorial Childbirth Center as we are nearing Baby-Friendly designation. In the past, our nursery was full of babies.
Today, it is unusual to see babies in the nursery. In the past, breastfeeding was viewed by administration as merely a feeding choice. Today, exclusive breastfeeding is tracked daily as one of our Key Performance Indicators (KPI). In the past, skin-to-skin contact for moms and babies in the operating room immediately after cesarean birth was a far-fetched impossibility. Today, 88 percent of our babies and mothers have this opportunity.
Another before and after is in our lactation department. In the past, we had an exceptional group of lactation consultants who did a great job helping mothers all over the hospital with their breastfeeding needs. They also provided regular breastfeeding education for our Mother Baby Unit nurses. Reading that, it hardly seems we needed an “after.” But some changes were necessary, including:
- A Lactation Coordinator was designated, providing leadership and facilitating communication both within the group and with others in the hospital.
- Nine additional nurses received certification as lactation specialists (CLS).
- An existing breastfeeding support group program was expanded from one day a week to two.
- An educational booklet was created in collaboration with The St. Joseph County Breastfeeding Coalition to help communicate Baby-Friendly changes to pregnant women in our community, as well as care providers and doctors’ office staff.
- An interdisciplinary committee (The Mavens) was created to plan and implement breastfeeding education for nurses, patients, hospital units and doctors’ offices. So far, this group has created a brief computer-based learning (CBL) program required for all Memorial employees and has personally shared Baby-Friendly and lactation services information with several units in the hospital, including:
- Emergency Trauma Services
- Environmental Services
- Nutritional Services
- Ambulatory Care Center
- Outpatient Surgery Center
- Pre-admissions and Intra-operative
The work of Baby-Friendly right now is disseminating information to others, beginning within the hospital, and then our community. We realized helping women successfully breastfeed cannot be the work of five lactation consultants alone. It takes everyone working together, with our expert lactation consultants at the helm, to lead us to where we want to go.