Are you aware that women with a higher educational status are factors associated with higher breastfeeding rates in the US? According to a study by PMC- U.S. National Library of Medicine, “women who attended college were four times more likely to breastfeed than women who graduated from high school.” In fact, the CDC conducted a sociodemographic survey also confirming that women with an educational background beyond high school have a rising percent of breast feeders. With that being said, Dr. Schreck, myself, and another intern began to wonder if there was support provided to mothers currently attending college? If a mother were to attend a typical three hour college course on campus- is there a place for her to express her breastmilk? Last year, I started a project searching for colleges with pump rooms on campus. After a few voicemails, and a couple of visits to local college campuses, I am happy to announce a project completion for one particular college. As of mid-November, it was announced to me by a college staff member that Schoolcraft College (Livonia, MI) have created a lactation room for students and staff members! The private lactation room is located within the Counseling Career Services office on the 1st floor within the McDowell building. This is great news to the many mothers attending class or employees working on this college campus. Thank you and great job Schoolcraft College- the room looks beautiful!
The Mother Nurture Project was happy to be represented at last week’s Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies conference. With its focus on collective impact, it was the perfect complement to our current work of building better breastfeeding communities with our community partners. At the conference we were able to share some of our projects including updates to the Mother Nurture Lactation College and a small study we conducted to gain insight into how we can improve breastfeeding rates in the Arab Chaldean population seen in our hospitals. Dr. Schreck also gave a great presentation on innovative approaches we use to ensure all women are informed of the benefits and management of breastfeeding and to foster continued breastfeeding support for women after they leave the hospital. It was wonderful to think about how our Baby Friendly journey has inspired us to reach out to the community and work toward creating a vast support network so that all mothers and babies can get a great start!
Our posters also allowed us to show how we are engaging the community to improve. Our lactation college model is something we hope others see as a great option to improve breastfeeding support, and we presented it here as one of our posters. With Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association, the Mother Nurture Lactation College had a successful first run and now has two new interns to train. We even have another lactation intern at St. John Macomb-Oakland, Warren from the Arab Chaldean community.
The lactation intern at St. John Macomb-Oakland is part of a larger study of how we can improve breastfeeding rates of the Arab Chaldean population we see. In our second poster, we shared the steps we had taken to create a more breastfeeding-friendly environment for the largest non-English speaking patient population St. John Macomb-Oakland encounters. We created Arabic posters featuring Chaldean women, translated materials into Arabic, and found some supplementary breastfeeding Arabic materials. We also translated the Baby-Friendly 10 steps into Arabic and posted it in our birthing center. Outside of the hospital, we partnered with Chaldean American Ladies of Charity to survey Arab Chaldean women about the infant feeding habits to explore possible barriers to breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity. While this project is still in progress, we have seen promising results!
All in all, the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies conference was interesting and fit right into our current trend of focusing on the community. With everyone working together toward better breastfeeding and better health opportunities, progress is bound to be made!
We are happy to announce that all of our Breastfeeding Peer Counselros and Educators are now dually trained as Community Health Workers!
At the end of March, a celebration of our Community Health Worker Graduation was held at St. John Hospital and Medical Center. Community Health Workers are supported and trained by the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA). MiCHWA trains Community Health Workers in the following areas to help them meet the needs of community members:
- Role, Advocacy and Outreach
- Organization and Resources: Community and Personal Strategies
- Teaching and Capacity Building
- Legal and Ethical Responsibilities
- Coordination, Documentation and Reporting
- Communication Skills and Cultural Competence
- Healthy Lifestyles
- Mental Health
Community Health Worker training has been held for the past few months, led by Rebeca Guzman. This class was the first pilot course in the Detroit Area to use new curriculum in conjunction the Henry Ford Community College. Each CHW received a certificate of completion upon completing the training.
Special Guest, Octavia Smith, whom is a longtime community health worker, in her home community of Inkster spoke about the important journey the 9 women, who took part in the training, are about to embark on. This was a special time to appreciate the hard work that these women have put in over the past few months, and to celebrate their diverse backgrounds. The group consisted of doulas, a naturalpathic Doctor, lactation staff from St. John, and representatives from many different organizations such as the Institution of Population Health, and the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association.
Recently, David Brooks, President of St. John Hospital and Medical Center was presented with a special resolution, tribute and plaque on behalf of Senator Bert Johnson, of The Second District and Representative Fredick Durhal Jr, of The Fifth District.
The special tribute was celebrating St. John Hospital and Medical Center’s Baby-Friendly designation last year. The tribute also offers great thanks to our own Dr. Paula Schreck, and Kimberly Ronnisch, Director of Women’s Services, who headed up the quest to become a Baby-Friendly Hospital.
This generous tribute was unanticipated and a great honor for the hospital!
The Mother Nurture Project is continually celebrating and promoting continued breastfeeding amongst mothers. Recently, we decided to expand this celebration by creating a unique and special program for the mothers in The Mother Nurture Club.
Each mother in The Mother Nurture Club was presented with a Pandora Bracelet for Christmas in 2014. Along with the bracelet they were given a Christmas themed bead. These bracelets will serve as a reminder and motivation to continue breast feeding. When a baby is born, the mother will also be given a baby themed bead. For every month a mother chooses to continue breast feeding, she will be presented with another bead to add to her bracelet. At the end of each month our mothers come together for a bracelet ceremony. New members of The Mother Nurture club will be given their bracelet at the ceremony, and returning group mothers who have chosen to continue breastfeeding will be presented with their monthly beads. Each month is represented by a different colored bead.
What a beautiful way for mothers to be reminded of their hard work and dedication to breastfeeding- not only benefiting their babies, but also benefiting themselves!
Happy New Year!! It has been a crazy few weeks at the Mother Nurture Project offices; we recently had one of our sister hospitals inspected by Baby-Friendly and are now preparing for a third system hospital to be inspected in the next week!
We often hear about the beautiful benefits of breastmilk for mother and baby, but I feel like people never take the time to appreciate the physical beauty of the milk itself. When you think of it, you may think of the outside appearance, but have you ever seen a microscopic slide of human milk??
Framed photos of this slide now decorate many of the Mother Nurture Project Offices. Glancing at the photo during the day gives us another reminder of the beauty of our work. Many have stopped by offices after seeing one from the hall and commented on our new “abstract art.”
Breastmilk…it’s a beautiful thing.