At John Peter Smith Hospital, we deliver about 4,000 babies a year. To help ensure that every child born at JPS has the best possible start in life, JPS provides all the necessary support for patients to exclusively breastfeed while they are in the hospital and after they go home.
The JPS Lactation Center has 15 breastfeeding experts who are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. They focus on providing support, information, and education about breastfeeding for patients, which amounts to about 1,800 care encounters per month.
Breast milk contains hormones and antibodies that help keep babies healthy. Research has found that breastfed babies have lower risk of asthma, eczema, childhood leukemia, ear and respiratory infections, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The goal at JPS is to help patients be successful if they choose to breastfeed.
“JPS is committed to providing service to anyone who enters the doors of the hospital regardless of the economic or social status of the individual,” said Valencia Moore, RN, Lactation Team Lead. “Breastfeeding promotes health equity by improving health outcomes, especially for patients and babies who are more at risk for developing and dying from illness and disease.”
The week of August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, held to raise awareness of the value of breastfeeding and to encourage organizations and countries to develop measures to safeguard breastfeeding.
To celebrate, leaders in the JPS Lactation Center are spearheading activities, and providing further education and training to nursing staff in Women’s Services. New parents are being gifted packets of diapers, bibs, and other baby items that have been donated to the JPS Foundation.
Hands-on breastfeeding support starts in the JPS Labor & Delivery Unit. Patients receive assistance with breastfeeding within the first hour after delivery. While in the hospital, nurses and lactation consultants provide information and education on successful breastfeeding. They emphasize the positive impact that breastfeeding will have on their baby’s health, Moore said.
Infants are assessed before they go home and families are connected to community resources and offered follow-up appointments with breastfeeding specialist at a JPS outpatient clinic. Nursing patients can receive one-on-one consultation and education either in-person or via telehealth. Lactation consultants are available to answer questions on topics such as latching on, milk supply, and using breast pumps.
In addition to supporting patients, JPS is committed to supporting team members who choose to breastfeed. JPS is designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a Mother-Friendly worksite. The JPS Main Campus has seven mother-friendly rooms—private spaces where team members can express breast milk. This can help ease the transition back to work after parental leave, while ensuring that team members and their babies experience the full range of benefits that breastfeeding imparts.