Lafayette General Medical Center named first Baby-Friendly birth facility in Lafayette
Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC) has received prestigious, international recognition as a designated Baby-Friendly birth facility. LGMC is the first hospital in Lafayette to receive this designation and has worked toward that goal for the past three years.
Becoming a Baby-Friendly Hospital is a comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey towards excellence in providing evidence-based maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding.
Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation 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). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious, international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
“We pride ourselves on providing the best quality of care to our patients, and Baby-Friendly has been proven to increase the quality of care for mother and baby,” said Judy Robichaux, RN, director of Maternal, Newborn and Pediatric Services at LGMC. “To achieve this designation, all of our nurses completed several hours of required education and additional hours of skills competency. The training continues with all newly-hired nurses,” she continued.
LGMC has different education pieces for moms who choose to breastfeed and those who do not.
Since instituting Baby-Friendly initiatives, the hospital has seen breastfeeding rates improve, particularly among its African American patients. Additionally, there has been a decrease in hypoglycemia in infants since initiating skin-to-skin immediately and for the first full hour outside the womb or until breastfeeding is successful.
Previously, skin-to-skin contact happened only after the baby’s weight and measurements were charted; but when medically possible, it is now the preferred practice to place the baby immediately with its mother for that skin-to-skin bonding, Robichaux said.
Baby-Friendly USA reviews its designations every five years, and Lafayette General is committed to continuing its implementation, Robidaux added.