As a mom of three young boys, I take great pride that through my work I can positively impact the new mother’s journey and that of the clinicians that care for their patients. Technology continues to advance and the practice of caring for our moms and babies continually shifts, but a few things remain constant: babies come out one of two ways; and they need to be fed- often!
In honor of both World Breast Feeding Week (WHO) and National Breast Feeding Month, let’s consider options for feeding and the movement for change to more breastfeeding. I can personally attest to a shift in practice from my first son to my third. By 2011, the formula company perks of nice coolers, backpacks, free samples and coupons were in scarce supply. That’s what I saw wearing my “mom hat.” What I see with my “work hat” on is that many organizations, including the US government, have stepped up their efforts to advance the adoption of breastfeeding:
- President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act which included an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act supporting working/nursing mothers
- The Department of Health and Human Services released “Healthy People 2020” with specific breastfeeding objectives
- The World Health Organization has established new breastfeeding goals for 2025
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued breastfeeding guidelines and created training courses for their members
- The United States Surgeon General issued a “Call to Action” to support breastfeeding
- The Joint Commission has included breastfeeding in their perinatal care core measures
- The WHO and UNICEF partnered to form the global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative which led to the Baby-Friendly USA focused on optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding
- Individual states like California and Nevada are driving further efforts to promote breastfeeding
- In January 2016, The Lancet published a robust series on Breastfeeding discussing trends and health consequences
While my list is likely just scratching the surface, what I see is that these robust programs, guidelines and initiatives require data to show efficacy. Centricity™ Perinatal, a perinatal Information System used in Labor & Delivery, Postpartum, Newborn Nursery and NICU, allows the clinicians to capture detailed breastfeeding data which includes standardized assessment tools. These tools can help provide early insights into problem areas. In addition, Centricity Perinatal provides reports that can help the unit assess their patients’ adoption of breastfeeding, measure their adherence to protocols, and fuel further research efforts.
This is the fun part of my job, seeking out the opportunities to work with and incorporate the latest advances in clinical care into our product while making a positive impact on the lives of our friends and families. At the end of the day, we want what’s best for our moms and babies.