News Release - Casey Dixon
Phoebe Public Relations Coordinator
ALBANY, Ga. – Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is continuing its effort to serve the needs of women and children in Southwest Georgia, particularly the hospital’s tiniest patients housed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The hospital recently opened an updated lactation lounge that NICU leaders hope will encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.
The lounge is conveniently located across from the NICU entrance, right next to the family waiting area. Before the new space was created, the NICU had only one individual lactation room, which was usually occupied. Over a period of time, the need for a larger lactation space grew.
With a larger lactation room, the NICU communicates a clear message that the medical and nursing staff in the NICU want to support mom in her endeavor to provide breast milk for her baby, in the most comfortable environment possible. NICU nurses make every effort to ensure that new mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Studies show that providing breast milk for their babies is one of the most important things mothers can do after giving birth and that breast milk drastically improves the health of these tiny newborns.
The breast milk feeding awareness campaign was initiated in Phoebe’s NICU in November of 2012, with 74.1% of mothers initiating breast milk feedings that first month. Since then the rate of initiation and breast feeding success has increased to 84.8% in June of 2013. The NICU’s annual breast feeding goal is set at 60% and the average for the last eight months is 73.9%. The NICU’s goal is to initiate the start of breast milk feeding, and to continue successful breast milk feeding until each baby’s discharge.
Planning of the lactation lounge was led by a NICU team that consisted of Mary White, NICU nurse manager; Susan Tyson, RN; Nichole Graham, CRN, the NICU’s nursing practice council; Cary Burcham, director of children’s services; and Tracy Morgan, vice president of women’s and children’s services.