Athens, Ga. – The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) have recognized St. Mary’s Health Care System for excellence in lactation care.
St. Mary’s has received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLCs) and providing a lactation program that is available seven days a week for breastfeeding families. In addition, the facility demonstrated that they have provided recent breastfeeding training for medical staff that care for new families, and have recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
St. Mary’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants are Donna Jenkins, RN, and Laura Crowe, BSHP. Both are part of the staff of St. Mary’s Family Birth Center, providing classes on breastfeeding, weekly support groups, and one-on-one breastfeeding consultations with mothers. In addition, they educate and train other staff in St. Mary’s Family Birth Center to ensure all families receive quality advise and assistance with establishing and maintaining the breastfeeding relationship.
According to Cathy Carothers, President of ILCA, “This recognition highlights the efforts being made by maternity facilities all across the world to help mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding, and to support them in reaching their goals. IBCLCs have the only internationally recognized lactation credential in the world, and are highly skilled in helping mothers with the questions and concerns that can arise. They are also an important part of the overall maternal and child health team by assuring that evidence-based policies and practices are in place that help mothers succeed with breastfeeding.”
Elizabeth “Kaili” Stehel, Chair of IBLCE, echoes those sentiments. “Facilities that receive the IBCLC Care Award are to be commended for making breastfeeding a priority and for taking steps to improve breastfeeding support. Health risks from formula feeding for both mother and baby are significant and it is our obligation in every sector of society to remove barriers that women face when breastfeeding. An important part of providing excellent breastfeeding care is having expert assistance available when the breastfeeding couplet needs it. IBCLCs are the health care professional best suited to provide this help and often make the difference between success and failure for women attaining their breastfeeding goals.”
IBCLCs focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess the mother and provide information on how to get off to a good start. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping mothers latch their babies appropriately and answering their questions, and continue supporting them as their baby grows. They assist mothers returning to work or school, and help mothers in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby, nursing a sick or premature infant, and dealing with other challenges.
As allied health care professionals with the only internationally-recognized credential for professional lactation services, IBCLCs work in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, private practice, community settings, government agencies, and in research. There are currently more than 25,000 IBCLCs in 90 countries worldwide who are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (www.iblce.org) under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
Carothers says that, “Breastfeeding rates are on the rise today and with that dramatic increase the need for trained professionals who can help also increases. Breastfeeding is natural and often works quite well without intervention. But sometimes things happen and mothers need extra support. IBCLCs are the trained experts who know how to work with the entire health care team so that a mother’s breastfeeding goals can be met.”
In addition to finding IBCLCs at St. Mary’s Health Care System, mothers can also find an IBCLC near them by visiting the ILCA website at www.ilca.org. Follow the “Find a Lactation Consultant” link and search for an IBCLC by postal code, city and state, or country.
For more information about the IBCLC Care Award program, contact IBLCE at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 560-7330, or ILCA at email@example.com or (919) 861-5577.
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