Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Receives Prestigious International "Baby-Friendly" Designation
June 04, 2012
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has received recognition as a "Baby-Friendly" birth facility, as designated by Baby-Friendly USA.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative ("BFHI"), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. The prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. The award is maintained by continuing to practice BFHI's "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding" as demonstrated by quality processes.
The Ten Steps include having a breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff, educating staff in the skills necessary to assist breastfeeding mothers, informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding, practicing mother-infant care without separation, assisting mothers who are separated from their infants due to illness and providing postpartum breastfeeding support.
"The goal is to increase the level of evidence-based support for new mothers and babies," says Bonny Whalen, MD, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD), medical director of the Newborn Nursery at DHMC and a certified lactation consultant. "Baby-Friendly designation is based on the Ten Steps, which have been shown to increase the duration of breastfeeding, as well as increasing the level of exclusivity or how much breast milk a mother provides to her infant. That's the main aim: to help mothers and babies breastfeed successfully and for as long as possible."
Through the process of meeting the guidelines for Baby-Friendly designation, DHMC care providers and nursing staff took the opportunity to review current practices and improve the quality of maternity and infant care. The Baby-Friendly team at DHMC was a multidisciplinary quality improvement team comprised of clinicians including those from CHaD, the Prenatal Clinic, Birthing Pavilion, Newborn Nursery, Intensive Care Nursery, Pediatrics, Food and Nutrition Services, Finances and Purchasing.
"Our biggest improvement was in the area of prenatal breastfeeding education in the clinic," says Lisa Lamadriz RNC-NIC, IBCLC, lactation coordinator at DHMC and the head of the DHMC Baby-Friendly team. "We updated our patient education materials, and created a process with the staff in the prenatal clinic to provide small amounts of breastfeeding education at each prenatal visit."
The educational presentation focused on the benefits of breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, and positioning the infant at the breast; and access to DHMC's lactation consultants. In DHMC's Birthing Pavilion, the practice is to keep baby and parents together in the same room, where most screenings and procedures are done. "Our parents expressed relief and a sense of security that they're able to keep the baby with them just about all of the time," says Lamadriz, adding that such rooming-in lowers separation stress on the baby as well, and gives new parents a full opportunity to learn the baby's needs and rhythms.
There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide, but only 142 in the United States about four percent of all US hospitals and birth centers. The "Baby-Friendly" designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. DHMC will be re-assessed in five years, with annual reporting to Baby-Friendly USA on metrics including exclusive breastfeeding rates, rooming in rates, prenatal education efforts and continuing evidence-based lactation practices.
For more information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, visit http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org
Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in evidence-based and patient-centered health care. The system includes hundreds of physicians, specialists, and other providers who work together at different locations to meet the health care needs of patients in northern New England. In addition to primary care services at local community practices, Dartmouth-Hitchcock patients have access to specialists in almost every area of medicine, as well as world-class research at the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and centers of excellence including The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI).
About Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD)
As New Hampshire's only NACHRI-approved, comprehensive, full-service children's hospital, The Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) is committed to providing the best pediatric care at the right place, at the right time, every time. CHaD physicians provide primary, specialty, and tertiary care to the children of New Hampshire, Vermont, and beyond. CHaD offers both inpatient (hospital care) and outpatient (same day care) services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Outpatient and same day surgery services are available at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester, as well as outpatient pediatric specialties at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Dover. Primary care is available at Dartmouth-Hitchcock facilities in Bedford, Concord, Keene, Lebanon, Manchester, Mascoma, Nashua, New London, and Plymouth.
For more information contact Rick Adams at (603) 653-1913.