“Breastfeeding has proven long-term health benefits, including prevention of common allergies, chronic illnesses, diabetes and obesity,” said Prentice. “Breastfeeding support within the first few days of an infant’s life is critical for lasting habits.”
The breastfeeding rate at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center has consistently been 90 percent or above during the inpatient stay. After discharge, patients have a lactation consultant available five days a week, as well as trained nurses and technicians who can provide 24/7 breastfeeding support.
Evidence also showed that skin-to-skin contact between a mom and baby along with breastfeeding within the first hour of life can help regulate infant vital signs and blood sugar levels.
The MCCIF allows one hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin and breastfeeding immediately after delivery. They are also among the first mother-baby units in the area to implement skin to skin contact in the operating rooms after a cesarean section.
Senior Airman Dezaree Webb, MCCIF medical technician, explained that delaying infant bathing has also been linked to positive breastfeeding outcomes after delivery and the MCCIF is the first mother-baby unit in the area to implement delayed infant bathing after the first 24 hours of life.
“Submersion baths are performed at the bedside with the involvement of both parents when possible,” said Webb. “The baby is then dried off and immediately placed skin to skin with their mother. This method of bathing has improved breastfeeding rates by minimizing separation between mother and baby.”
The MCCIF is a nine-bed labor, delivery, postpartum and antepartum unit with approximately 420 infants born at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center each year.