Sandra Trumbach, NNP, BC, is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and CHAMPS Team Lead at Hancock Medical Center in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. She has done an outstanding job leading her team through their Baby-Friendly journey!
Especially commendable is that Sandra gathers data for CHAMPS on every birth by going through each chart by hand. Most hospitals collect data on a random sample of births with automatic reports, but since Hancock is small Sandra believes it is important for every birth to be represented, to show any trends and to improve quality of care. For example, Sandra is looking for breastfeeding and skin-to-skin rates, but she is also interested in finding out why medically unstable babies received formula over breast milk—even 1 formula feed—to reduce that practice.
“Every woman deserves to delivery her baby in a hospital that supports Baby-Friendly practices,” says Sandra. “We want to improve overall quality of care for these moms and babies. This period is crucial, and we only have them here for a short time. This is the beginning for them, and we want to get them off to the best start with the most accurate information. I personally think it all starts with skin-to-skin; that’s going to go a long way towards bonding and breastfeeding. I have personally witnessed it.”
Sandra says practicing skin-to-skin has been the most exciting change on their Baby-Friendly journey. At first it was challenging because “change is difficult.” But once her team saw the benefits, including thermoregulation, stabilization of cardiorespiratory status, increased bonding, stabilization of blood glucose levels, increased breastfeeding rates and greater success in breastfeeding, they were “hooked.” Sandra says there has been good team work among her team, and their pediatricians and obstetricians have “embraced” Baby-Friendly.
Very few mothers at Hancock refuse skin-to-skin, according to Sandra, including mothers who are adamant to formula feed. Some of these mothers, once they experience skin-to-skin and their newborns initiate breastfeeding, are “pleasantly surprised” and more open to breastfeeding. These mothers often come from families where breastfeeding is not the norm and they are the first in their families to try it. In the place of family support, they receive the support of the nursing staff. One of the advantages of being a small hospital is that a woman’s labor and delivery nurse often ends up being her postpartum nurse, providing continuity of care.
Sandra has worked at Hancock Medical Center for 3 years. Prior to that, she worked at Ochsner Medical Center – North Shore in Slidell, Louisiana for 25 years in the NICU. She says this experience taught her the importance of breast milk, especially for premature, sick, or immunocompromised babies, and she carries that knowledge into her current position. As Hancock does not have a NICU, Sandra now works with mostly healthy, full-term babies, yet she still believes in the importance of breast milk for optimal nutrition, for premature and full-term babies alike.
Congratulations, Sandra! It is great to be working with you!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Melissa Brown-Burkes, MS, BS, Peer Counselor II for Mississippi Department of Health’s WIC Breastfeeding Program (Jackson and George Counties). Melissa has over 5 years of breastfeeding work experience, in addition to the experience of breastfeeding her 4 children. We would like to thank her for her recent wonderful participation at CHAMPS site visits at newly enrolled Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi and Ocean Springs Hospital in Ocean Springs, Mississippi!
“What I love the most about being a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor is helping mothers and families make an informed decision about feeding their baby and/or babies,” shares Melissa. “‘Plant the seed. BREASTFEED!’ is my motto and I enjoy planting that seed in the clinics and in the community.”
As WIC Peer Counselor II, Melissa’s responsibilities include contacting patients prenatally and postnatally to offer breastfeeding and nutrition education, and a “listening ear if needed.” She also educates health department staff, other healthcare professionals, and the community; teaches infant feeding classes to her patients and the community; and offers one-on-one consultation whenever requested.
Melissa says she is motivated to do this work because of the positive breastfeeding relationship she established with her 4 children and her knowledge that giving mothers “positive and passionate support” can make all the difference in helping them meet their breastfeeding goals. She is inspired by her grandmother who exclusively breastfed all 12 of her children, in addition to the children of mothers who did not have a big milk supply.
Melissa shares, “I felt I may not possess many riches to give my babies but I have the best nutrition on Earth to share with each of them.”
In addition to working for WIC, Melissa teaches infant feeding classes for Promiss, a nonprofit located on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast offering prenatal care and counseling, and parenting and sexual health resources to women at no cost.
This week's CHEER Champion of the Week is Circle of Moms Baby Café, Mississippi's 1st cluster Baby Café!
Congratulations to Deserie Richard, CLC, CLE, Peer Counselor III for Mississippi Department of Health’s WIC Breastfeeding Program (Pearl River County and Stone County). Deserie has done breastfeeding work for the past 26.5 years, starting out as a volunteer Peer Counselor when that program began in 1990! It was great to meet this veteran of breastfeeding support, and to have her helpful input at a recent CHAMPS site visit at newly enrolled Highland Community Hospital in Picayune, Mississippi!
“I am motivated to do this work because I saw how my three children, Amanda, Blake, and Sarah, thrive because I chose to breastfeed,” shares Deserie. “God has given me an opportunity to serve other mothers and families by passing on what I have learned. I am truly thankful to God for this opportunity to serve others.”
As a Peer Counselor III, Deserie’s responsibilities include supervising one Peer Counselor, counseling mothers one-on-one, teaching group breastfeeding classes, doing outreach in the community, issuing pumps, and making home visits and hospital visits at Highland Community Hospital. What she loves most about her job is the opportunity to educate mothers and families who were not planning to breastfeed. As a result, Deserie says these mothers often “decide to give breastfeeding a try, and some of these mothers breastfeed for months.”
Deserie received the Tawanda Ferrell Breastfeeding Award in 2014, Certified Lactation Counselor certification in 2016, ROSE Community Transformer certification in 2017, and National Child Passenger Safety certification in 2017.
Congratulations, Deserie! You are a true CHAMPion!
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).