Day Kimball Hospital to Become Baby-Friendly

PUTNAM, CT – Day Kimball Hospital is currently in the process of becoming baby-friendly as part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. This is a lengthy 4-step process required by Baby-Friendly USA in order to achieve baby-friendly designation.

“I’m happy to report that we have already taken many positive steps to improve our services for mothers who choose to breastfeed,” said Mary Ellen Snyder, RN, operations coordinator of Maternal Child Health (MCH). “It’s important to us that mothers get as much help as possible in learning to breastfeed and that we provide the best evidence-based care we can give to help them succeed.”

Day Kimball Hospital is currently in the development phase of the transition to baby-friendly status, which is the second phase of the process. The hospital recently received the official letter of intent from Baby-Friendly USA. This is a certificate stating that Day Kimball has fulfilled the requirements of Baby-Friendly USA to demonstrate the commitment to becoming a baby-friendly hospital. As part of the first phase of the process, the hospital registered with Baby-Friendly USA, obtained a letter of support from the CEO and completed a self appraisal tool. “The whole process usually takes at least two years,” said Snyder. “However, we are well on our way to achieving baby-friendly status, possibly within a year, because we have already done most of the work involved for the second and third steps.”

In addition, Day Kimball Hospital was chosen as one of ten hospitals in Connecticut to receive a grant to fund part of the process. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the CT Breastfeeding Coalition awarded Day Kimball Hospital 40 hours of consultation with an expert in becoming baby friendly, 20 hours of education for all staff members in the Maternal Child Health department, and payment of certain fees and additional educational materials.

According to Baby-Friendly USA, providing infants with human milk gives them the most complete nutrition possible. Human milk provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for each baby to thrive. Scientific studies have shown that breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses than those who never receive breast milk, including reduced risk of SIDS, less childhood cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma and ear infections.

With funding help from the Day Kimball Hospital Woman’s Board, the organization now has 8 nurses and one pediatrician that are certified as lactation counselors. The MCH department also offers support and education for breastfeeding mothers. The “Mother and Me Breastfeeding Support Group” offers mothers who are nursing the opportunity to come together with other similar mothers to share their experiences. Trained lactation counselors are there to answer questions, make suggestions and provide assistance if mothers are having difficulty with breastfeeding. The group meets every other Monday from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. in Day Kimball Hospital’s RHF Conference Room #2.

One-on-one breastfeeding support from a certified lactation counselor is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Moms must make an appointment for this service.

Day Kimball Hospital’s Burdick Family Birthing Center offers seven labor, delivery and recovery rooms with state-of-the-art fetal monitoring and birthing equipment. These fully furnished rooms offer all the comforts of home and are designed to foster a family-centered approach for childbirth. Day Kimball Healthcare encourages mothers to have their babies “room in” with them. This is to assist the nurses in teaching newborn care, and most importantly, to help mothers bond with their babies before going home. The birthing center also has an ultramodern procedure room for when cesarean sections are necessary to protect the health of the mother or baby. In 2009, 585 babies were born at Day Kimball Hospital.