The CHAMPS NOLA Baby Café™ opened its doors last June 1, 2016, and has been making an impact on its community ever since! Their weekly attendance has been gradually increasing, and in February 2017, 13 breastfeeding mothers attended. Family members, including babies’ fathers and grandmothers, also regularly attend and participate in the Café.
“I believe that we are slowly making an impact on the community by providing this free resource to breastfeeding families,” says CHAMPS NOLA Baby Café Director Portia Williams, RN, BSN, IBCLC, CCHC.
The Café recently honored mothers at a holiday celebration where refreshments and gifts were provided. Mothers received breastfeeding awards for 6 months, 12 months, and 1 year & beyond of breastfeeding, and for tandem nursing and nursing multiples.
The CHAMPS NOLA Baby Café continues to meet weekly on Wednesdays from 10 am to 2 pm at the National Birth Equity Collaborative’s offices in mid-city New Orleans at no cost. ROSE (Reaching our Sisters Everywhere), Best Baby Zone Hollygrove, and Healthy Start of New Orleans are other key partners to the Café. Currently, Tulane University School of Medicine Pediatric Residents visit the Café to learn more about becoming pediatricians who support breastfeeding.
Café volunteers include Meshawn Tarver, MPH Candidate; Krystal Wallace, CLC; and Kenya Harry, MPH, Community Engagement Coordinator for Best Baby Zone. Krystal is training to become the Café’s first Baby Café Breastfeeding Counselor, a new role designated by Baby Café USA to encourage more women to become lactation professionals.
Portia shared her vision for the future with CHAMPS: “My vision is to open more Cafés in the Metro New Orleans area and to establish relationships with local hospitals, which increases [Café] attendance.”
Portia is also working out the logistics to open a “cluster Café”, a Café linked administratively to the NOLA Café but meeting in a different location. It will be called CHAMPS NOLA Baby Café-West Bank and the proposed location is on New Orlean’s Westbank in Terrytown.
Congratulations, CHAMPS NOLA Baby Café! Keep up the good work!
Rene Simpson, BSN, IBCLC, Lactation Coordinator and CHAMPS Team Lead at Merit Health Woman’s Hospital in Flowood, Mississippi, is this week’s CHAMPion of the Week. She also serves on the United States Lactation Consultant Association Task Force for Mentoring IBCLCs. We would like to recognize Rene for her excellent leadership of Woman’s Baby-Friendly taskforce! Woman’s entered the Baby-Friendly pathway 1 year ago in January 2016, and recently entered the Dissemination phase.
Rene shares, “When I took over this position [of Baby-Friendly Lead] 2 years ago, I was a new IBCLC and vaguely familiar with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. This has been a large learning curve for sure!”
Rene says she can hardly believe the changes she has seen in the past year. These changes include: an improved level of care for breastfeeding moms; more confident nurses who are “now excited to educate and help initiate breastfeeding”; mothers and babies rooming-in together; a former transition nursery transformed into a circumcision and treatment room; and mothers and babies transported together to the post-partum unit. “Pacifiers and formula bags,” Rene says, “are a thing of the past.”
Of course, all these positive changes have come with their challenges. Educating and encouraging moms to room-in with their babies, says Rene, has been their biggest challenge, especially for mothers who have delivered at Woman’s before and expect their babies to go to the nursery. Rene shares, “We often hear, ‘Just bring him back when he’s hungry.’ Teaching feeding cues and coping techniques is a large part of our day and night!”
In addition to leading the Baby-Friendly taskforce and seeing inpatient moms, Rene also sees outpatient moms in Woman’s Lactation Clinic by appointment or whenever a mom calls in distress. Rene loves her job and says it “has absolutely been [her] most rewarding position in 32 years of nursing.” It makes her day to hear a mom say, “Thank you for helping me, I think I can do this!” She describes her biggest accomplishment as helping her own daughter achieve her goal of 1 year of breastfeeding.
Rene would like to encourage other hospitals seeking to become Baby-Friendly to “stay positive and focused. Having deadlines and adhering to them is extremely helpful.”
Congratulations, Rene! Keep up the good work!
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There was originally 1 comment. You can view it in this document.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Dawson, FNP-C, is Nurse Practitioner and CHAMPS Team Lead at CHAMPS hospital South Sunflower County Hospital (SSCH) in Indianola, Mississippi. Betsy has been doing a fantastic job leading the Baby-Friendly taskforce at SSCH. They began their Baby-Friendly journey in fall of 2015 and are almost ready to enter the Designation phase!
Betsy describes being CHAMPS Team Lead as “a great experience along with lots of challenges.” She says the most challenging part has been “introducing change among the hospital staff, although our staff has been great at adjusting.” On the other hand, the most exciting change has been being able to help those mothers who want to breastfeed but, in the past, have not received the support or education to do so.
Betsy works at Indianola Family Medical Group, a department within SSCH. At the family practice clinic, OB patients are provided with information regarding a Baby-Friendly hospital, breastfeeding benefits, skin-to-skin, rooming-in, and other topics. Betsy is available for any questions mothers may have. Betsy shares, “Prior to [beginning our Baby-Friendly journey], we were not providing the needed education regarding breastfeeding and [its] benefits. So starting the Baby-Friendly journey has been a great thing for our clinic and patients!”
When asked what advice she has for other hospitals seeking to become Baby-Friendly, Betsy says, “It is definitely a journey so be prepared, but it’s a worthwhile one!! Ask questions and for help!!!”
Congratulations, Betsy! We are excited to be on the Baby-Friendly journey with you!
Congratulations to CHAMPion of the Week Abra Patkotak! Previously trained as a birth doula, Abra now runs Arctic Slope Native Association’s (ASNA) Pre-Maternal Home in Barrow, Alaska, a residential facility for expectant mothers from the outlying, remote North Slope villages. A 5-bedroom facility, the Pre-Maternal Home opened its doors in 2013 and has served hundreds of women since then, providing them a home-away-from-home for their 2-night to 4-week stay while they await their babies’ births at Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow.
Abra is a live-in Residential Coordinator and Director at ASNA’s Pre-Maternal Home, where she teaches classes on healthy pregnancies, nutrition, and breastfeeding, and shares the message of the importance of breastfeeding with every expectant mother that stays there. She is also a member of the North Slope Breastfeeding Coalition, and serves as a resource to the Barrow community regarding matters of breastfeeding. Abra has spoken about breastfeeding and healthy pregnancies on radio talk shows several times on KBRW, the North Slope’s radio station.
Inupiaq and white, Abra grew up in Idaho on the Nez Perce reservation and has lived in Barrow, where her father is from, for the past 4 years. Always passionate about health and nutrition, Abra became particularly interested in breastfeeding promotion after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her early 20s.
Abra shares, “Because breastfeeding is a protective measure for both baby and mom against diabetes, it only made sense to me to spread the message of health. Particularly for Alaskan Native people, diabetes is on the rise and breastfeeding retention rates are low.” Abra hopes to turn this around and recently received a grant from the Thriving Women’s Initiative to promote and encourage breastfeeding across the North Slope. She also created the moving digital story, “It Starts with Day One,” which mentions her experience with type 1 diabetes and promotes breast milk as the first traditional food.
Abra has been collaborating with CHAMPS staff members Anne Merewood, Kirsten Krane, and Camie Goldhammer on CHAMPS’ breastfeeding work in the Barrow area. She graciously hosted Anne, Kirsten, and Camie on their first visit to Barrow in September 2016, and she is excited about their continued work together. Abra has plans to launch a breastfeeding social media campaign, and in fall of 2017, the first Indigenous Peer Counselor Breastfeeding Training will be held in Barrow, facilitated by Camie.
Abra’s dreams include starting a breastfeeding support group and getting breastfeeding peer counselors into Barrow and every surrounding village. She would also like to become a lactation consultant, so that she can further support mothers with breastfeeding in Barrow and across the North Slope, where she hopes breastfeeding retention rates will greatly increase.
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).