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Madison Hospital certified as ‘Baby Friendly Hospital’

Kristine Taff, registered nurse and lactation consultant, (at right) discusses benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby with a patient and her baby girl, born on Dec. 21. CONTRIBUTED
Kristine Taff, registered nurse and lactation consultant, (at right) discusses benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby with a patient and her baby girl, born on Dec. 21. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – Madison Hospital has the distinction as one of only four Alabama hospitals to achieve certification as a “Baby Friendly Hospital.”
The certification process required about two years, Madison Hospital President Mary Lynne Wright said.
“When we opened in 2012, we had a vision for our model of care. We planned that all babies would go skin to skin after delivery (and) to embrace maximize family bonding,” Shari Crowe said. Crowe is Director of Perioperative Services, Obstetrics and Materials Management.
Also, staff wanted mothers to have “unlimited access to breastfeeding support during and after their stay,” Crowe said. To go ‘baby friendly,’ staff
examined all practices that impact mother and baby’s lifetime health.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program that the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund launched in 1991 to encourage hospitals to give optimal care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” and “International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes” are its guidelines.
The certification was “an employee-driven process and could not just involve the leaders. It challenged us all to question our standard ways of doing things,” Crowe said. For example, hospital employees interviewed mothers to understand the patient’s perception of hospital care, both strengths and challenges.
Lead Obstetrics Coordinator Renee Colquitt and Lactation Consultant Kristine Taff attended training in Montgomery and then dispersed their facts to the entire staff and coordinated online training for physicians. Grant writers with Huntsville Hospital Foundation secured a grant to fund a study from Centers for Disease Control and Carolina Breastfeeding Institute.
“We established a Breastfeeding Task Force with local agencies and groups that interact with pregnant and breastfeeding mothers,” Crowe said.
Twice-weekly support groups allow moms to interact with lactation consultants.
The hospital has even added a monthly group for moms continuing to breastfeed past the first year. Sessions with Lactation Consultants are free.
“We also partnered with Purchasing … to pay for our formula. When formula is free, even infants not requiring formula may receive it,” Crowe said.
As a Baby Friendly USA hospital, Madison Hospital has established uninterrupted skin-to-skin between mom and baby after delivery, even for
cesarean section babies. Baby Friend staff has evaluated those procedures.
Families practice ‘rooming in’ and avoid unnecessarily separation of mother/child. All tests are performed at bedside, unless mom requests otherwise. Pediatricians ’round on’ babies in the mom’s room,
Surveyors interviewed staff and mothers and were complimentary on the consistency of their practices. “We know we’re getting it right for our families,” Crowe said.
For more information, visit babyfriendlyusa.org.

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