How do you see the Call to Action impacting Baby Friendly in the United States? (Maybe even internationally?)
The United States now has a strong, evidence based national policy on infant and young child feeding that specifically calls for expanding implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). This is an extremely important turn of events and status change. BFHI is also specifically mentioned in the White House Obesity Report, and possibly even more importantly, in The Joint Commission’s recent Speak Out campaign. Internationally, Baby Friendly USA (BFUSA) has always been a strong collaborator with other nations’ BFHI Authorities and I would expect this collaboration to increase.
What changes are you hoping to see?
The Director of Health of my state met with our state Lactation Consultant chapter in early August, and within two weeks convened a high-level meeting of organizations to begin discussions on moving BFHI ahead. That’s amazing progress! Several states have conducted in-depth surveys of maternity facilities (in addition to encouraging hospitals to respond to the Center for Disease Control’s mPINC surveys), developed interim goals and local incentive programs, held Hospital Summits, and more. Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) is a national survey of maternity care practices and policies that is conducted by the CDC every 2 years beginning in 2007. The survey is mailed to all facilities with registered maternity beds in the United States and Territories. I expect the Call to Action will resonate with and inspire the entire public health professional community, at every level.
Why is this Call to Action coming at a critical time?
I’m tempted to say “It’s about TIME!” The momentum for breastfeeding has escalated in the past ten years in the US, partly due to the collaborative work of the US Breastfeeding Committee. The economic conditions are encouraging everyone (individuals and companies) to re-think spending patterns; health decision-making is becoming more transparent; and virtually everyone is calling for better health outcomes. Over 40,000 IBCLCs around the world are working with other health care providers to provide the up-close one-to-one clinical support for mothers and babies. Without this rich network of support, mothers would face far more avoidable problems.
How will the Call to Action impact not only hospital-based lactation consultants, but lactation consultants in private practice, as well?
There’s something in the Call to Action for everyone. As an lactation consultant in private practice myself, I was thrilled to see a call for appropriate reimbursement for my services as an LC, regardless of other credentials or licenses. I’m currently in graduate school and was very excited to see a call for more research on breastfeeding. The Call to Action’s recognition of lactation consultants as important players on the health care team was extremely gratifying.
Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC, FILCA
Bright Future Lactation Resource Centre Ltd.
6540 Cedarview Ct., Dayton OH 45459-1214
Phone (937) 438-9458 Fax (937)-438-3229