Our Journey to Baby Friendly Designation
The Women’s Hospital was founded on the principles of family-centered care. Our team has the privilege of being an integral part of the most anticipated, memorable and cherished moments of our patients’ lives. Because of that, it is imperative for our structure to focus on our patients and their loved ones in order to be successful with our care practices. Our clinical team also places a strong emphasis on evidence-based care practices. If a care practice has had proven and sustained success, we want to implement it into the care we provide.
It is because of the above principles along with an innovative and supportive leadership team that The Women’s Hospital continues to advance as a regional leader in both maternity care and women’s health. Throughout the years, The Women’s Hospital has achieved awards at the local, state and national levels for our accomplishments in care and as an employer. Nearly 15 years after our hospital’s inception, we continue to provide evidence-based care, educational programs and community support with the end goal of improving the health of women and infants in our area. Though we focus on all aspects of women’s health, this article concentrates on the hospital’s efforts to support new moms and their families over the years. This has been a journey for us and through this journey we appreciate the support and collaboration of community agencies and the ability to move forward on many projects primarily due to The Welborn Baptist Foundation.
Helping Moms Achieve Their Goals
In the early 2000’s, research continued to reveal that a number of moms wanted to breastfeed, however lacked the support necessary to accomplish the breastfeeding goals they set for themselves. In 2007, The Women’s Hospital opened Great Beginnings, an outpatient lactation clinic and retail store that offered one on one lactation consultations for continued support after taking baby home from the hospital. We were able to provide outpatient lactation support 7 days a week in addition to the inpatient care that we were providing. Within a few short years, we began offering 24-hour inpatient services from certified lactation consultants to ensure that moms would receive the support that they needed in order to accomplish their breastfeeding goals.
NICU Babies and Donor Milk
The Women’s Hospital also provides lactation support in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Our team knew the importance of human milk to the tiniest and most fragile babies and how human milk can make such a vast difference in their digestive systems and in their early development. We established a relationship with The Indiana Mothers Milk Bank, now known as The Milk Bank. The Women’s Hospital became Southern Indiana’s only donor milk depot for The Milk Bank in June of 2010. Until then, there was not a local avenue for women who wanted donate their breast milk for infants in need. The Milk Bank screens all donors and all donated milk is pasteurized, ensuring that this is a safe way for babies to reap the benefits of human milk.
In the Spring of 2015, The Women’s Hospital also began selling pasteurized donor milk to qualified candidates upon a prescription from their physician for short-term use.
Grant Funded Efforts
In 2011, The U.S. Surgeon General placed a Call to Action for Communities to Support Breastfeeding. The Women’s Hospital worked collaboratively with community organizations and businesses to respond to that call. Through the CDC’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant dollars secured by The Welborn Baptist Foundation, we were awarded funding that allowed our lactation team to promote and support breastfeeding through various projects. Our successes would not have been possible without their leadership and guidance. These projects included:
The creation and provision of Snuggle Stations at community events including County Fairs and National Night Out among others. The Snuggle Station is a Mommy-Baby Comfort area, allowing moms to change diapers and feed babies.
Distribution of education materials to area child care centers, schools, universities, businesses of the benefits of breastfeeding.
Implementation of a media campaign via radio spots, Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) bus and bench advertising and local billboards.
Collaboration with 4C of Southern Indiana to implement and provide the Indiana Perinatal Network’s breastfeeding training tool to area child care employees.
Planned and hosted the first community-wide breastfeeding art show, where pieces were exhibited at various employers in the community.
Creation of support initiatives within minority and underserved populations.
Collaboration with local employers and community organizations to create and implement breastfeeding/pumping rooms and provide hospital grade pumps to many businesses and schools.
Creation of corporate packets that were distributed to local employers’ for their staff.
In 2012, The Welborn Baptist Foundation received grant dollars from the CDC as part of a Community Transformation Grant. A portion of these funds was allocated specifically to the efforts for both local hospitals providing maternity care to seek and achieve the Baby-Friendly designation. The Women’s Hospital received this designation in August of 2015.
The Women’s Hospital is grateful to the Welborn Foundation and Healthy Communities Partnership for not only the funding toward this designation but for their vision and advocacy for healthier citizenry. We would like to give recognition to all who worked so hard during the preparation and designation process.
Being a Baby-Friendly facility exemplifies the world class care we provide to our patients every day in our hopes of making each new entrance into the world a little brighter.
Ready Set Baby
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