Community Hospital’s Family Birthing Center and the TLC (The Lactation Clinic) program have received global recognition for excellence in staffing and serving as a role model in setting the standards for best practices in promoting optimal infant feeding, including breastfeeding and lactation consultation. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® and International Lactation Consultant Association® have presented Community Hospital with its International Board Certified Lactation Consultants’ (IBCLC) Care Award.
The 2020 IBCLC Care Award recognizes hospitals, birthing facilities, birthing services and community-based health agencies that utilize board-certified lactation consultants and have a dedicated lactation support program. Community Hospital is the only hospital in Northwest Indiana to receive this award and is among five hospitals in the state of Indiana to earn this honor.
“Maternal and child health and infant mortality are among the state’s highest priority health initiatives,” said Lou Molina, CEO, Community Hospital. “We’re proud to be able to lead the way in creating effective solutions to help women and their babies have a healthy, successful first year of life.”
The benefits of breastfeeding for infants are well-documented and include a reduction in risks for diarrhea, respiratory and ear infections, and allergic skin disorders. Mothers also receive health benefits from breastfeeding including a decreased risk of diabetes, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. These benefits potentially translate into millions of dollars of savings for the healthcare system in the U.S. through decreased hospitalizations and health clinic visits.
Much has been done in the past few years to strengthen the sources of support for women to breastfeed. However, no comprehensive national program has existed that focuses on the efforts of hospitals. Hospital staff do provide a unique and critical link between breastfeeding support provided prior to and after delivery.
“Community Hospital has a strong history of helping mothers and babies practice successful breastfeeding,” said Lauren Hovan, RN, manager of the hospital’s Family Birthing Center. “Breastfeeding oftentimes can be difficult for many new mothers, but we’re here to help. Education is an essential part of that support. One of our certified lactation consultants works with new moms during their hospital stay, and again when they return home, to teach them the skills they need to breastfeed successfully.”
Community Hospital follows the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” which are evidence-based practices that have been shown to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.
- Has a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
- Trains all healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement the policy.
- Informs all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Helps mothers initiate breastfeeding within one-half hour after birth.
- Shows mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Gives newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically necessary.
- Practices rooming-in – allowing moms and babies to remain together 24 hours per day.
- Encourages breastfeeding on demand.
- Gives no artificial pacifiers to breastfeeding infants.
- Fosters the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refers mothers to them on discharge from the hospital.
Community Hospital’s certified lactation specialists offer a free monthly Breastfeeding Class for women that provides education and support. In addition, the hospital offers TLC: The Lactation Clinic on Wednesdays. TLC is a drop-in clinic that provides a four-hour session for lactation consultation or a baby weight check without an appointment. For more information or to register, call 219-836-3477 or 866-836-3477.
For more information about the care and services offered at the Family Birthing Center of Community Hospital, visit www.COMHS.org/baby.