Supporting Breastfeeding in the Hospital: A Better Start
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2012 Convention Proceedings
Volume 41, Issue s1, page S51, June 2012
How to Cite
Brown, T. and Redmon, M. (2012), Supporting Breastfeeding in the Hospital: A Better Start. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: S51. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01360_35.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
- skin to skin;
- early pumping;
- exclusive breast milk feeding;
- easy access for rental supplies
Purpose for the Program
Breast milk feeding is the best option for infants and exclusive breast milk feeding is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first 6 months of life. In addition, the Joint Commission recently introduced PC-05, recommending exclusive breast milk feeding during an infant's entire hospital stay. Our goal was to increase the rates of breast milk feeding during the duration of the hospital stay and the rates of infants who were exclusively fed breast milk at discharge to promote what is best for infants and comply with the the Joint Commission's recommendation.
Our plan was to increase the support and duration of exclusive breast milk feeding by placing infants skin-to-skin during the immediate post delivery period. Second, we planned to begin encouraging early pumping for mothers of infants that were not breastfeeding well or were unable to nurse. We then planned to make breast pumps and supplies more readily available for our patients. Our staff would then be educated on the changes.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
Our unit began implementing changes to support the breastfeeding relationship in the above mentioned areas. We began placing all breastfeeding infants skin-to-skin within the first hour and allowed them to self-attach to the breast for the first feeding, which has been shown to increase the success of breastfeeding by approximately 80%. Second, we began to encourage early pumping for infants that were not feeding well at the breast or were unable to be at the breast because of medical conditions. We then looked at how we could support the use of breast pumps for our patient population. This was accomplished by partnering with a pharmacy in the Bristol Regional Medical Center to provide easy rental of breast pumps as well as breastfeeding supplies at competitive prices. Finally, we educated our nursing staff on the importance of supporting breastfeeding, allowing them to become breastfeeding advocates for our patients.
Implications for Nursing Practice
By implementing these changes, we were able to provide the early intervention and support necessary for our patient population. Patients are excited about the skin-to-skin process and our early support and intervention. Our partnership with the pharmacy has allowed our patients easy access to breast pump rentals and supplies. Combining these interventions has a great potential to increase the rates of exclusive breast milk feeding during the hospital stay and beyond.