Baby-Friendly as a Regional Collaborative Quality Improvement Project in an Academic Medical Center Environment

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Abstract

In 2012, the state of South Carolina lacked any Baby-Friendly designated hospitals. The Medical University of South Carolina had a strong lactation service since 2002 but continued to struggle with improving breastfeeding rates. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was the catalyst to increase breastfeeding rates at this academic medical center. In 2012, membership in the Best Fed Beginnings Learning Collaborative heightened awareness of the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. Participation in the regional collaborative provided evidence-based breastfeeding education and best clinical practices that supported the maternal-infant dyad. These improved practices are achieved by implementation of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. The collaborative model accelerated change, and the goals to reach 80% of each metric were met. The exclusive breastfeeding rate increased by 30%. As a result of swiftly achieving designation, the institution was then able to focus on sustainability issues and efforts to expand breastfeeding support into the community. The purpose of this article is to review one hospital's journey while providing guidance to other organizations undergoing the process of becoming Baby-Friendly. The invaluable membership in the Best Fed Beginnings Learning Collaborative quality improvement initiative proved to be a major incentive and source of support in efficiently achieving Baby-Friendly status.

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