IBCLCs Traveling the Globe: Uppsala, Sweden: Part 1

Baby-Friendly Neonatal Care Conference and Workshop Uppsala, Sweden, Sept 14-16, 2011

L to R is Yvette Sheehy, Anne Merewood, Annette Wright, Susanna Scurry

IBCLCs, hospital clinicians, researchers, and lactation professionals from around the world met at the Baby Friendly Neonatal Care Conference and Workshop in Uppsala, Sweden, for a groundbreaking meeting on a proposed expansion of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The conference was the brainchild of the Nordic expert group, in response to the document “Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Revised, Updated and Expanded for Integrated Care”, UNICEF/WHO 2009.

On a packed first day in the beautiful and historic Uppsala University, 220 attendees from 27 nations listened to internationally representative presentations on the importance of breastfeeding in intensive care, and about innovatory programs and guidelines that are making NICUs more Baby-Friendly. Many speakers and participants were leaders of the Baby-Friendly initiative in their home countries.

On days 2 and 3, attendees met in workshops to discuss each of the Ten Steps, and their potential adaptation to the NICU. Participants also made suggestions for monitoring progress and standards. In the final session, group leaders summarized suggestions for all attendees.

Uppsala was an appropriate location for this conference, with its hospital NICU standing out as one of the world’s most family centered units. The working group will take conference suggestions and use them to create a final document to present to the World Health Organization for approval in the future.

Abstracts from oral, poster, and workshop presentations will be published online by the Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) in early 2012. JHL aims to publish the recommendations in full when they are finalized.

The conference was not all hard work. The Conference Dinner at Norrlands Student Nation included student singing and other musical entertainment, and the meeting opened with Swedish-style sing-alongs to “We are Family, Baby-Friendly Centered Family” and – but, of course – Abba’s Mama Mia…..

Anne Merewood PhD MPH IBCLC
Director, The Breastfeeding Center, Boston Medical Center
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine
Division of General Pediatrics
Boston, MA 02118

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