Wanda Moore, RN, IBCLC, CCE, Labor/Delivery RN, is CHAMPS Team Lead at North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC)-West Point in West Point, Mississippi. She has worked for NMMC-West Point for 17 years with 14 of those years in the Obstetrics department. She is doing a great job leading her team through the Baby-Friendly journey! NNMC-West Point is in the Dissemination phase of the 4-D Pathway.
One of their most exciting changes, says Wanda, has been prenatal education and the responses from mothers who have captured the Baby-Friendly vision. Wanda shares: “We have just begun teaching and preparing our prenatal patients for the changes in procedures, the reasons for the changes and the benefits. Much of the teaching has been accompanied with smiles from our patients as they begin to understand that Baby-Friendly is much more than just breastfeeding. As I spoke to one mother regarding Baby-Friendly and the changes she will experience, she smiled and said, ‘This is what I wanted when I had my first baby.’ Another mother…after discussing rooming-in and the benefits…smiled and said, ‘This makes sense. By doing all exams and procedures in the room with us, we are included.’”
Like so many CHAMPions, Wanda’s personal experience motivates and informs her work in the field. Wanda confides: “When I had my children, no one spoke of breastfeeding and there was no education. Breastfeeding was very much discouraged. It was assumed that everyone would formula feed. If you decided to breastfeed, you were alone. No one knew how to help. Once you failed, a bottle was brought to the room. I want more for my patients. I do not want them to [feel] isolated or abandoned. I want them to have the ability to make informed decisions, possess skills to succeed, and leave with confidence that they can care for their baby.”
Wanda admits that the Baby-Friendly journey has not always been easy. As with all major changes, it has been “sometimes stressful for everyone involved.” What makes it worth it? A strong team and an outcome that will be better for all. “We have had to look at our routines and question them,” says Wanda. “Our staff is doing a great job with these transitions and I am very proud to be part of this team. The process is difficult but one that will benefit our patients and staff.”
Congratulations, Wanda and team! We are excited to be on this journey with you!
Irene McLendon, B.S. Ed, CLC, is the District 8 WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Health. She is doing a great job supporting her staff as WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator and offered invaluable input at a recent CHAMPS site visit at Merit Health Wesley in Hattiesburg, MS!
Irene has worked for the MS WIC District 8 Breastfeeding program for 2 years and 3 months. During that time, she and her team have increased the breastfeeding rates within District 8, which includes 9 counties. Irene reports that in June 2014, there were 8.32% breastfed infants (newborn-12 months old) and 2.71% exclusively breastfed infants in District 8. In June 2016, these rates were 18.09% breastfed infants and 6.26% exclusively breastfed infants. This is an increase of 9.77% breastfed infants and 3.55% exclusively breastfed infants in a 2-year period!
Irene shares: “I attribute the increase in rates to prayer, a dedicated breastfeeding staff and the support of the district nutritionists, nurses and office staff, and getting our clients and their support people “hooked” on the idea of breastfeeding in their very first prenatal visit to their local health department. How do we do that? By asking our clients what their thoughts are on breastfeeding (we assure the clients there are no right or wrong answers), by discussing and addressing breastfeeding barriers, by advising our clients on the breastfeeding benefits for both mother and baby, and by making an individualized breastfeeding plan for our clients who choose to breastfeed. We also let our clients and their support people know what they can expect at our local hospitals, the La Leche League, and from WIC in terms of breastfeeding resources and support. We do all this in the first visit. Why? Because I have learned that the sooner the breastfeeding barriers are addressed (usually “heard it hurts”, “I have to return to work”) the sooner the client opens her mind to the possibility that she can breastfeed. When it comes to breastfeeding, knowledge truly is power.”
As WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator, Irene supervises the activities of all breastfeeding staff within her district and collaborates with community breastfeeding stakeholders. She and her team work with several hospitals in their district, including CHAMPS hospitals Merit Health Wesley and the University of MS Medical Center. They provide their contact information to the hospitals; help facilitate the Baby-Friendly pathway; loan breast pumps to patients with a medical need for one; and inform WIC clients that they are welcome to call them from the hospital if they need breastfeeding support. They also collaborate and promote breastfeeding among community groups such as La Leche League, Head Start, Fetal Infant Mortality Review, MS Action for Progress, the Southeast Rural Health Initiative and local high schools.
Congratulations, Irene! You are a true CHAMPion!
CHAMPS Hospital of the Week this week is Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi—the first hospital in Mississippi to become Baby-Friendly! The hospital was designated on December 30, 2015, and since then has been sharing support and advice with many more Mississippi hospitals now on the Baby-Friendly pathway. Tangela Boutwell, BSN, Director of Women & Children and Baby-Friendly Team Lead, led Forrest General through the process and is generously sharing her knowledge across the state.
Tangela shares: “It truly takes a team effort to reach this magnitude of accomplishment. We are so excited to be Baby-Friendly and the first in Mississippi! More importantly, we’re able to use the education we gained from becoming Baby-Friendly to continue promoting the best possible outcomes for families in our community.”
The most challenging part of the process, says Tangela, was the “culture change” that had to take place. The most exciting changes were seeing an increase in breastfeeding rates, mothers with more confidence in breastfeeding, and family bonding during skin-to-skin.
When asked what her advice would be to other hospitals seeking to become Baby Friendly, Tangela shared: “Understand what it means to become Baby-Friendly and just do it. Do not be afraid of it. No matter the size of your hospital, it is very achievable.”
Between 2011 and 2015, Forrest General took part in the Best Fed Beginnings collaborative project, operated by NICHQ (the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality), a CDC-funded initiative which helped 89 hospitals around the US to pursue Baby-Friendly designation.
Barbara (“Barb”) Pratt, RN, BSN, IBCLC is a member of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force, the Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition, the South Dakota Breastfeeding Task Force, and the United States Lactation Consultant Association. She recently returned to South Dakota from New Mexico where she worked at Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC) for 2.5 years as their first IBCLC. During her time in NM, Barb was instrumental in helping GIMC achieve Baby-Friendly designation, advancing lactation practices, and collaborating on breastfeeding initiatives across Navajo Nation!
Barb arrived at GIMC and took on the role of Baby Friendly Co-Lead alongside Holly Rainier, RN, Nurse Educator for Women's Health and Pediatrics. GIMC had created a position for a Lactation Consultant (Barb) to assist with the training of staff, work with providers to improve breastfeeding success, and provide direct patient care for their mother/baby couplets during the hospital stay and at follow-up. Barb’s role also included keeping statistics and communicating with her administrative team about Baby Friendly. Barb did a great job at increasing support for the BFHI across departments and working on/gathering meaningful, chronic disease data, such as tracking the feeding choice and breastfeeding success of mothers with diabetes mellitus. GIMC was designated in November 2014!
Barb shares: “My FAVORITE part about working with breastfeeding in New Mexico has to be the people I met there. We are transforming a culture that had lost the art of breastfeeding. Physicians…changed their approach and are now very invested in helping moms succeed…one of our Navajo nurses became an IBCLC last year…we saw breastfeeding rates improve dramatically, and celebrated with mothers who achieved long-term breastfeeding. It continues to be a very successful initiative!”
Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, IBCLC, Director of CHAMPS says: “Barb saw GIMC through the designation process and was just a real rock and excellent lactation person. She worked on policy and really made it happen.”
While in New Mexico, Barb joined the Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition (NNBC) and became a key committee team member of the Navajo Area Breastfeeding Task Force. She was part of a small group, led by Amanda Singer, CLC that brainstormed the idea of NNBC’s breastfeeding Community Conversations, and she coordinated the session that was held in Gallup.
Barb has returned to South Dakota to be closer to her grandson (in the picture) and his new little brother, due in August. She plans to continue to promote breastfeeding and help moms who are struggling.
Note: This post has been transferred from CHAMPSbreastfeed.org. There were originally 3 comments. You can view it in this document.
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).