MMC participates in Baby Friendly Initiative

April 7, 2015

Article coutesy of The Minden Press Herald. Written by Bonnie Culverhouse.

The birth of a baby should always be a happy occasion, and Minden Medical Center is putting an initiative in place that will make the experience even better for the parents and the newest addition to the family.

“Our primary focus is on the mom and baby as a unit versus babies in the nursery and moms being separate,” Dana Haynes, MMC Nursery nurse manager, said. “As soon as the baby is born, we go skin-to-skin and stay that way for the first hour. C-section babies go skin-to-skin as soon as the mom gets out of recovery, until then we do skin-to-skin with the dad. All babies get that, and it makes a remarkable difference for new parents.”

Mandi Hart, labor and delivery nurse manager, says it’s a time of special bonding.

“During the delivery process, we have the support people there, and we are taking baby straight to mom’s chest, no longer to the warmer,” Hart said. “It’s something we’ve had to move to in stages for the nursing staff, the patients and the physicians. It’s a new change for everybody.”
“Rooming-in” is something the hospital implemented in 2001, but it is now almost mandatory, providing there are no complications with the birth or the baby.

“Babies stay with their moms rather than in the nursery,” Haynes said. “We delay procedures and visitation and have limited visiting hours to give parents more time to bond with their babies. Before we started rooming-in, the babies were in and out of nurseries. Right after delivery, the babies went to the nursery to get warmed up and a bath. The mom may not see them for six hours.”

Haynes says now the nursery is essentially closed.

“We don’t have a nursery,” she said. “We have a Level II nursery, but well babies are always in with their moms.”

Aarion Story gave birth to both of her daughters at MMC, and she believes rooming-in is vital to the bonding process.

“I had C-sections with my babies, so I didn’t have that immediate skin to skin,” Story said. “But with the rooming-in … that’s how it’s going to be when you go home. The hospital is not a daycare.”

But, she says, the nurses were close at hand when she had questions, especially with her first child, Heaven, who is now 3 years old.
“I was breastfed, so I knew I wanted to do that,” Story said. “With Heaven, the nurses showed me how. If I had any questions, they were right there to help me.”

With her second child, Trinity, who is 4 months old, Story wanted to further her education, and MMC helped her there, too.

“I went to breastfeeding class at the MMC education building,” she said. “That helped a lot. My boyfriend went, too, because he wanted to know how he could help.”

MMC’s new programs are a part of Baby Friendly Initiative by The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.
“They are based on 10 steps of successful breastfeeding,” Haynes said. “Hospitals have to do different things to meet those steps in a certain pathway. We are evaluated by Baby Friendly. It is a certification that, once achieved, you continue to meet guidelines to maintain it.”
In 2009, The GIFT (Guided Infant Feeding Techniques) program was implemented.

“It is a step down from Baby Friendly that Louisiana came up with to help hospitals move toward Baby Friendly,” Haynes said. “We at MMC were the first hospital in north Louisiana to achieve The GIFT certification.”

They are not to the Baby Friendly certification yet; however, the hospital has entered the first phase.

“It requires changes we have made throughout the years,” Haynes said. “In 2011, we were certified by the Joint Commission in Maternal/Child Specialty Certification for Normal Deliveries.”

The WHO provides the tools and assists with policies. Every year there are changes that require re-certification.
“It costs MMC money to be a part of this, but we want to take that step to be able to provide the best care,” Hart said. “We receive nothing for it except knowing we are doing the best for our patients.”

Haynes, Hart and MMC are working toward more hospital and community involvement with the initiative.

“We want to get the word out to start educating the parents early,” Haynes said. “It starts with the clinic, then MMC, then the physicians that follow up with the babies.”

“Fortunately, we work with wonderful physicians who are easygoing and are willing to try something new,” Hart added. “If we bring them solid evidence and information, they will back us.”

For more information concerning Baby Friendly, call MMC at 377-2321.