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International organizations recognize St. Mary’s breastfeeding program

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) have recognized St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens and its Family Birth Center for excellence in lactation care.

breastfeedingSt. Mary’s has received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition of staffing professionals who hold International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) certification and providing a lactation program for breastfeeding families. In addition, the facility demonstrated that it has recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

Roberto Issler, IBCLC Chair of the Board of IBLCE, recently stated, “Agencies that are awarded the IBCLC Care Award have dedicated their efforts to promote and provide a lactation program that makes expert assistance available when the breastfeeding family needs it. This is achieved through encouraging and informing breastfeeding families about the benefits and management of breastfeeding as well as training health care professionals to assist families achieve their breastfeeding goals.”

What this means to moms

St. Mary’s international board certified lactation consultants are Laura Crowe, Donna Jenkins and Mallary King. They work closely with families – especially mothers – before and after childbirth to help establish and maintain the breastfeeding relationship. Their services include one-on-one education and problem-solving, telephone and personal consultations, and weekly support group meetings. They also assist mothers with pumping and with the nutrition of newborns in neonatal intensive care.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess and provide information on how to successfully initiate breastfeeding. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping families overcome breastfeeding challenges, providing accurate information, and continuing to support them as their baby grows. They assist families returning to work or school, help families in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby or nursing a sick or premature infant, and help train nursing staff to manage basic breastfeeding care.

According to Mudiwah A. Kadeshe, President of ILCA, “IBCLCs work tirelessly in all corners of the globe to help parents provide optimal nutrition to their children. We are proud to recognize some of these IBCLCs through the IBCLC Care Award, which highlights the significant contributions of IBCLCs to improving global health outcomes at the local level.”

As allied health care professionals with the leading internationally recognized certification for professional lactation services, IBCLC professionals work in hospitals and birthing centers, clinics, public health agencies, private practice, community settings, government agencies, and in research. There are currently more than 31,000 such professionals in 110 countries worldwide who are IBCLCs (www.iblce.org). The IBCLC certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).  NCCA accreditation represents a mark of quality for certification programs.

Learn more

In addition to finding IBCLC professionals at St. Mary’s, families can also find an IBCLC near them by visiting 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 award@iblce.org. For more information about St. Mary’s Family Birth Center and lactation services, visit https://www.stmarysathens.org/services/women-and-maternity/lactation-and-breastfeeding.

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