Setting Families Up for Breastfeeding Success

Every day, at 9 am and 9 pm, the nurses on the mother/baby unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) huddle for what they call the “Milk Minute.” They gather to exchange breastfeeding tips and other helpful information. This quick, daily training encourages communication between day and night shift staff, and keeps breastfeeding best practices top of mind.

Why the emphasis on breastfeeding? It can significantly reduce infant mortality rates, as well as childhood obesity and related chronic diseases in adulthood.

Based on research, staff has worked to modify practices in order to change the breastfeeding culture.  Why? Clinical practices and processes have evolved to promote success in infant/mom bonding and breastfeeding. This includes skin-to-skin contact, rooming in, and educating moms on baby’s feeding cues.

Here are some changes you may notice:

OLD WAY BABY-FRIENDLY WAY
Historically, it had been standard practice for newborns to receive a lot of their care in the nursery – away from their mothers. This practice unintentionally created a barrier to breastfeeding and newborn care education. Babies spend as much time as possible with their mothers. In fact, within five minutes of delivery, the infant is placed on the mother’s chest. After delivery, mom and baby are transferred to the mother-baby unit and room in together. Almost all of baby’s tests and procedures happen at the mother’s bedside.
OLD WAY BABY-FRIENDLY WAY
During daily rounds, the mother-baby care team used to bring all the babies into the nursery (away from their mothers) for assessment. If the babies cried, they would be given pacifiers. The care team visits each mother and baby in their hospital room and exams take place there with mom and other family members present. This process takes longer, but allows for better dialogue and education.
OLD WAY BABY-FRIENDLY WAY
All staff members had basic breastfeeding training. Lactation consultants were called in to visit breastfeeding mothers while in the hospital. All staff members have received additional education and are considered breastfeeding experts. They are equipped to provide moms with 24/7 breastfeeding education and support. Lactation consultants are still available for moms who need more intensive support.

New parents are often worried about whether their babies are getting enough to eat during breastfeeding. Staff use the picture chart below to help parents understand that newborns have tiny stomachs and that breastfeeding allows them to naturally stop eating when satisfied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding success starts even before baby is born. Doctors discuss infant-feeding choices with moms-to-be during their prenatal care appointments. UMMC offers free breastfeeding classes for women receiving prenatal care at University of Maryland Redwood office, Penn St. office, Edmonson office, or Family Medicine. Once at the hospital for delivery, mothers continue learning about the benefits of breastfeeding from nurses.

A breastfeeding support group is also available so women have the opportunity to discuss any challenges they’re having with a breastfeeding expert. The support group meets every Thursday from noon to 1 pm at 29 S. Paca St. Moms can also get breastfeeding help by calling the UMMC Warmline at 410-328-3512 or emailing their questions to lactationsupport@umm.edu.

The Stork’s Nest, sponsored by the March of Dimes and Zeta Phi Beta, is a program that provides education to moms living in West Baltimore. Mothers are awarded points when they attend classes, attend prenatal care appointments and adopt healthy behaviors like breastfeeding. The points can be used toward baby items such as diapers, a playpen, a breast pump, and more.

Learn more about breastfeeding.

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