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Connecticut hospitals have been invited to participate in a new breastfeeding initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), in partnership with the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC), will select ten maternity facilities to participate in the Connecticut Breastfeeding Initiative, with the goal of achieving Baby-Friendly Designation.
Baby-Friendly Designation is a globally recognized symbol of world-class maternity care, endorsed by the United States Breastfeeding Committee, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. In addition, the pathway to designation provides maternity facilities the opportunity to:
• Improve health outcomes for mothers and babies
• Improve patient satisfaction, elevate reputation and standards of care, and increase market share*
• Enhance a professional environment of competence
• Demonstrate a commitment to quality improvement
• Build leadership and team skills among staff
The Joint Commission has added exclusive breast milk feeding to the core measures beginning April 2010. Participation in the Baby-Friendly Designation program will demonstrate to the Joint Commission the commitment an institution holds to enhancing support for breastfeeding mothers. Application to this program will also help facilities increase their Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) scores related to breastfeeding promotion by CDC. In addition, this project will support institutions by meeting some of the criteria for the Magnet Recognition Program® developed by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center.
During this two-year grant, DPH and CBC will assist the ten hospitals through the initial discovery and development phase of the process. A program consultant will help each facility to complete at least five of the ten steps towards designation, by offering 40 hours of consultation with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with Baby-Friendly experience. Each maternity facility selected will also be offered a two-day training course that satisfies the accreditation requirement for staff education. Moreover, costs associated with completing the five steps, such as a portion of the Baby-Friendly USA registration fee and training will be covered by the grant. Recognizing that changing protocols can be challenging, this project is geared to provide guidance, support, and a multidisciplinary team approach to help institutions be successful with regard to the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
*Research in this field indicates that successful breastfeeding is strongly associated with medical care satisfaction and the wish to have a subsequent baby in the same hospital. Families who feel adequately supported during the vulnerable postpartum days can speak powerfully for a birth facility.