This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Lou Ann Wall, RN, IBCLC, Lactation Nurse at CHAMPS hospital King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Lou Ann was nominated for the incredible breastfeeding support she does at KDMC and the Circle of Moms Baby Café Cluster.
“What I love most about my job is helping moms,” Lou Ann shares. “It makes me so happy to see a mom smile when I tell her she is doing a great job. When some moms come for weight checks and see that their baby is gaining weight, they sigh in relief because they were so worried the baby wasn't getting enough. I just love seeing moms feel confident in themselves.”
Lou Ann wears many hats at KDMC. On any given day, she attends deliveries and assists with skin-to-skin and breastfeeding; follows-up with moms after discharge; conducts weight checks and lactation consults as needed; and helps moms with breastfeeding concerns via text or phone. As CHAMPS Lactation Lead helping KDMC on their Baby-Friendly journey, Lou Ann also records CHAMPS monthly data; conducts Baby-Friendly maternal surveys; worked on KDMC’s Feeding Policy and updated nursery policies following Baby-Friendly guidelines; and oversees staff/physician education for Baby-Friendly Designation.
“My job at KDMC is wonderful and busy!” says Lou Ann. “And we are almost to Designation! I am nervous and anxious, but ready to be designated. We have worked hard as a unit and I believe we are ready. The changes we have made at KDMC have been made possible by the most amazing staff.”
Another hat Lou Ann wears is as IBCLC for the Circle of Moms Baby Café Cluster. This Baby Café Cluster actually began as a breastfeeding support group at KDMC, which Lou Ann started in early 2016. They met once a month for over a year, and in June 2017, joined with the Mississippi Department of Health to open the Café Cluster. The Café Cluster now meets in 3 locations, and Lou Ann serves as IBCLC for 2 of the locations, KDMC and the Lincoln County Public Library in Brookhaven. Last year, Lou Ann and some moms also started a KDMC Breastfeeding Support Group Facebook page, and Lou Ann continues to monitor that site.
Like many lactation consultants, Lou Ann’s personal experiences motivate her to do this work.
“I did not breastfeed my 4 babies because I did not get the education about breastfeeding,” Lou Ann openly shares. “Nobody talked about it when I had my children. Now that I know the benefits of breast milk I feel cheated that I wasn't educated prenatally. I can't say for sure that I would have breastfed but if someone had shared that information with me personally I could say now that I made an educated decision. Another motivation is seeing a mom get through the rough times and reach goals, which is super rewarding.”
Congratulations, Lou Ann, and thank you for all that you do!
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).