Piedmont Henry commended for breast-feeding program

Piedmont Henry Hospital was recognized for its work in promoting the importance of breast-feeding for new mothers.

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association, recently, honored the Stockbridge hospital with a Care Award, for achieving excellence in its lactation program.

The hospital received notification of the award, in December, according to Becky Parsons, lactation consultant for Piedmont Henry Hospital.

“We already had it before that, and they awarded two more years,” said Parsons. “We actually have three IBCLCs. So, that’s excellent for the size of our hospital.”

Parsons has worked at Piedmont Henry Hospital for 33 years, including 12 years as a lactation counselor, and the last two years as a lactation consultant. She said her department’s newest accolade signifies support for its continued emphasis on breast-feeding.

The hospital’s lactation program is staffed by consultants certified by the IBCLC, and is available five to seven days a week for breast-feeding families, said the hospital’s public relations specialist, Michelle Nunnally.

“In addition, the facility demonstrated it has provided recent breast-feeding training for medical staff who care for new families, and have recently completed activities that help protect, promote and support breast-feeding,” Nunnally said.

Cathy Carothers, president of the International Lactation Consultant Association, said the award highlights ongoing efforts in the medical community, to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.

“IBCLCs have the only internationally recognized lactation credential in the world, and are highly skilled in helping mothers with the questions and concerns that can arise,” said Carothers. “They are also an important part of the overall maternal and child health team, by assuring that evidence-based policies and practices are in place that help mothers succeed with breast-feeding.”

Carothers said breastfeeding rates are on the rise, as is a need for trained professionals who are knowledgeable in the practice.

“Breastfeeding is natural and often works quite well without intervention,” said Carothers. “But, sometimes, things happen, and mothers need extra support. IBCLCs are the trained experts who know how to work with the entire health-care team so that a mother’s breast-feeding goals can be met.”

Nunnally added that IBCLCs focus on preventive care, and are available during a woman’s pregnancy to assess the mother and provide information on how to begin the breast-feeding process effectively.

“They continue that assistance after the baby is born, by helping mothers latch their babies appropriately and answering their questions, and continue supporting them as their baby grows,” Nunnally said. “They assist mothers returning to work or school, and help mothers in more unusual situations, such as breast-feeding more than one baby, nursing a sick or premature infant, and dealing with other challenges.”

For more information about the IBCLC Care Award program, contact Cathy Carothers at (662) 931-6368, or cathycarothers@ilca.org.