Improving Mothers’ Contact with Newborns
The recent statistics coming out of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center are further evidence that lactation consultants are key to improving successful contact with newborns and their mothers. In the last two years, since it adopted the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative begun at NHRMC’s Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital, New Hanover Regional Medical Center has seen a sharp increase in mothers exclusively breastfeeding.
Before the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was implemented, only 38 percent of mothers were breastfeeding exclusively after their release from New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The number of mothers exclusively breastfeeding today? 78 percent. That means more than twice as many mothers at this medical center are successfully breastfeeding their newborn babies.
What can account for the increased contact with newborns and their mothers?
The ten steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. These steps increase bonding time with a mother and her newborn, and focuses on making available breastfeeding education material and training.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.
In an interview with Star News Online, lactation consultant Gigi Lawless stated that one way in which the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has improved contact with newborns is that “it allows for the mother to be involved in the baby’s care all of the time.”
Test are run in the mother’s room and the baby sleeps in the room overnight. As these lactation consultants have proven, increased contact makes a significant difference when it comes to successful breastfeeding.