St. Luke's University Health Network

News

Recognition for Lactation Care

St. Luke's Recognized for Commitment
to Lactation Care

Award Recognizes Level of Care from Lactation Consultants and Specially-Trained Nurses

Allentown and Bethlehem, PA (5/4/2011) - The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) have recognized St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network's Allentown and Bethlehem Campuses for excellence in lactation care.

St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network has received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and providing a lactation program that is available seven days a week for breastfeeding families. In addition, the award recognizes that St. Luke's has provided recent breastfeeding training for medical staff who care for new families, and have recently completed activities that help protect, promote and support breastfeeding, according to ILCA.

Help Mothers off to a Good Start with Breastfeeding

According to Cathy Carothers, President of ILCA, “This recognition highlights the efforts being made by maternity facilities all across the world to help mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding and to support them in reaching their 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. 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 breastfeeding.”

Ellen McIntyre, Associate Professor, and Chair of IBLCE, echoes those sentiments. “An IBCLC has many years of training and study to equip them for helping mothers with both common and challenging situations that may arise. They must also keep their skills current by recertifying every five years. The public can be confident that an IBCLC is delivering high quality evidence-based care.”

St. Luke's Board-Certified Lactation Consultants Available during Pregnancy

St. Luke's board-certified lactation consultants focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess the mother and provide information on how to get off to a good start with nursing. St. Luke's offers free monthly prenatal breastfeeding class to the public each month at both St. Luke's Hospital – Allentown and Bethlehem Campus. In addition, a community breastfeeding series is offered each month. A variety of topics are presented by the breastfeeding consultant and informal discussion follows.

Once the baby is born, the lactation consultants continue that assistance by helping mothers latch their babies appropriately and answering questions. Each family of a newborn at St. Luke's is provided with free, daily education and individual breastfeeding support during the hospital stay.

A daily postpartum breastfeeding class is held at the St. Luke's New Beginnings Family Birth Centers for all new moms and her family. This class covers the basics of breastfeeding, pumping and tips to help new moms get through the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Expectant parents or moms already home from the hospital also are welcome to attend the sessions.

Just-In-Time

Allentown
610-628-8698

Bethlehem
1-800-260-8355
or 484-526-1355

Once families return home, the consultants are still available to help. The Just-In-Time Line is a 24-hour-a-day voicemail for families with breastfeeding or infant care concerns. The Mother/Baby Educator will respond to patients' calls within 24 hours. The consultants assist mothers returning to work or school, and help mothers in situations of breastfeeding multiples, nursing a sick or premature infant and dealing with other nursing challenges.

“As a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) lactation consultant, I provide support to the families of babies born prematurely, multiples or those infants who are very sick,” said Cathy Waltmyer, RNC-NIC, IBCLC. “Parents feel very reassured to know that they can many times breastfeed their babies even in these circumstances.”

Waltemyer continued, “Parents of all the babies born at St. Luke's should be reassured that the professionals assisting them in breastfeeding their infants are board-certified lactation consultants and specially-trained nurses, as well as earning the Lactation Care excellence award from the only internationally-recognized credential for professional lactation services.”

IBCLCs work in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, private practice, community settings, government agencies and in research. Currently more than 22,000 IBCLCs in 81 countries worldwide are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (iblce.org) under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

For more information about the IBCLC Care Award program, see www.ibclccare.org.

For more information about St. Luke's maternal services, please visit Women's Services.