Breastfeeding seminars

Marshall Medical OB Units Encourage Newborn Breastfeeding | Free sharing

Breast milk can mean the difference between life and death for a newborn, high or low intelligence for a toddler, and normal weight or obesity for a child. Science supports all aspects of breastmilk versus synthetic milk, but breastfeeding rates still lag behind formula feeding. As August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we asked experts from the labor and delivery departments at Marshall Medical Centers to share what they are doing to promote the healthiest nutrition for babies. newborns.

It turns out a lot is being done, according to lactation specialists on staff at Marshall North and South, where obstetrician (OB) units have changed many policies and practices over the past few years to support, promote and protect breastfeeding.

“We really want to provide the best care for our moms and babies,” said Courtnie Chaffin, Registered Nurse and Board-Certified Lactation Consultant at Marshall North.

Before arriving at the hospital to give birth, expectant mothers receive breastfeeding education classes to prepare them for what awaits them. On admission for delivery, women receive information about the many benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Chaffin makes himself available to meet and help patients get started.

“We also train our nursing staff in proper breastfeeding communication, counseling and troubleshooting techniques.”

According to the World Health Organization, breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It’s safe, clean, and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients an infant needs during the first months of life, and it continues to supply up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to a third during the second year of life. Breastfed children score higher on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese, and less prone to diabetes later in life.

Only 1 in 4 infants are exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age, as recommended.

Chaffin was an excellent source for Robin Dilbeck of Marshall South, a 30-year nursing veteran who recently became a certified lactation consultant. The extra education made all the difference, she says.

“Moms, partners and their families need support to make breastfeeding successful,” says Dilbeck. “There may be difficulties with breastfeeding. I’m here to help with that.

Dilbeck encourages moms to call her if they need help after leaving the hospital. Some new moms are shy and afraid to breastfeed, so she wants to motivate them to keep going after they get home.

“I think it’s good support for patients,” she says. “It gives them confidence. That’s the point.

Nurse Hailey Taylor and husband Jaxon recently delivered baby Cooper in South via Caesarean section. The new mum could not say enough about the help and friendliness of the staff – her colleagues – during her stay.

“If I wasn’t working on the device, I’d be just as ecstatic,” she says.

Emotions boil over as Taylor describes how Dilbeck helped her breastfeed.

“Robin has been a huge help to me,” she says. “I know I am not alone. She works one-on-one with mothers. She does more than her job. I can say that of everyone during my stay. It was just perfect.

Lactation experts know that getting newborns to the breast as soon as possible is crucial.

“Our goal is for the newborn to latch on within an hour of a vaginal delivery and at least two hours after a C-section,” says Chaffin. “This early initiation and skin-to-skin contact has proven to be critical to breastfeeding success.”

McKenzie and Drew Lester have fond memories of the help she received after the birth of their baby.

“I was determined to breastfeed this round,” she recalls. “Courtnie came to help us. Riggs locked in like a champ, but then things took a 180.”

The infant had to be transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit at another hospital after he started having difficulty breathing. The OB staff at North have worked very hard to help McKenzie continue to breastfeed.

“Courtnie stayed that night to help me hook up to a pump and get into a routine even though my baby was in NICU. Even on one of the best/worst days of my life, these daughters stayed positive and always said the right words, they kept me strong and pushed me to be able to provide for my little boy, and now we are going 13 months!

Elizabeth Gunther and her husband Josh gave birth to baby Oaks this year in Marshall North. Chaffin not only helped her breastfeed her newborn, but also guided her through breastfeeding a toddler.

“I can’t say enough about the staff at MMCN as a whole,” says Gunther. “Courtnie Chaffin has a forever place in my heart. She has been a constant resource for nearly 2.5 years.

A relatively new practice in OB units is emerging which is now hospital policy. Cohabitation is the practice of keeping newborns and mothers together for about 23 hours a day so parents can learn and bond with their babies. This proximity also facilitates exclusive breastfeeding, as well as early skin-to-skin contact.

“We promote, enable and encourage skin-to-skin contact between mother and newborn after vaginal and cesarean deliveries,” Chaffin said. “Skin-to-skin is also offered to fathers and other family members.”

Marshall North OB nurse Dayleigh Wisener chose her own hospital when she and husband Jake had baby Remi earlier this month.

“My breastfeeding experience was made so special by the support of the MMCN staff,” she says. “I was able to experience skin-to-skin with my little girl which created such an instant bond and helped her deal with the lockdown easily. The staff also supported a delayed bath, allowing for a more natural experience with my baby and his senses during the conversion to life outside the womb. During the move to my postpartum room, my baby was able to stay with me constantly, helping both of us adjust to the schedules of the other in terms of nutrition. I truly believe that my stay in the hospital prepared me to be able to breastfeed with confidence after my discharge.

Studies show that it’s best to delay bathing an infant after successful breastfeeding sessions, says Chaffin. A newborn is most alert and eager to breastfeed right after birth. Bathing can make them tired and sleepy.

“We generally recommend waiting to bathe until a baby has successfully breastfed,” she says.

A big part of breastfeeding success is preparing mothers to continue after they go home.

“I love making sure all moms have the tools and knowledge they need to help them succeed after they leave the hospital,” Chaffin said. “I make sure mothers get a breast pump or help them arrange for a breast pump through their insurance. Each patient receives take-home training and my personal phone number for post-discharge lactation support/counseling. »

The changes seem to be bearing fruit. Chaffin has noticed an increasing trend in breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity while infants are in the hospital. July 2022 was one of the highest breastfeeding averages with 83% of infants born at Marshall North receiving breastmilk during their stay.

“It could be the result of the recent shortage of formulas, but I also feel that our staff practices have also contributed to this number being so high,” she said. “Our goal is to get that number even higher and to increase the percentage of exclusively breastfed infants.”

“Breastfeeding is something we are passionate about,” said Brandy Ross, nurse in charge of obstetrics at North, where more than 330 babies have been born this year. “I’m so proud of how far we’ve come to ensure our patients have the knowledge, resources and support they need to succeed. »

The South OB unit, which saw more than 450 babies this year, recently saw a 20% increase in breastfeeding, said Leanna Dilbeck, director of the Women’s Center, whose husband happens to be a cousin of the husband’s. of Robin. The shortage of formula could be responsible, but whatever the cause, it’s a welcome result.

“I’ve heard so many positive comments during patient visits about our lactation consultant,” says Leanna. “Even a husband talked about everything he learned. Having him as a designated role was instrumental.

After a lapse during the pandemic, Leanna plans to return to breastfeeding and childbirth classes this fall. Its nurses will be teachers and classes will be open to anyone giving birth at Marshall Medical.

Nurses accept that not all mothers are able or willing to breastfeed, and they respect their choice without judgement.

“I want every patient to be empowered, educated, and prepared to make the decision to breastfeed or formula feed, and I do my best to support them in whatever decision they make,” says Chaffin. “I never want a mom to feel judged. I want her to feel like she’s the best mom ever.

She thinks new moms could benefit from a breastfeeding support group in Marshall County and is considering starting one.

“I hope this will help new moms develop relationships and support outside of the hospital to help them on their journey,” she said. “We want to help our patients achieve their goals, whether they are breastfeeding or formula feeding. »