I love fresh starts...We each have different dreams for 2016. We each have different stories. My hope is that you will allow us to "equip, educate, and empower" you in this coming year.
At the Café yesterday we discussed self-care. This is an area in which my mother never excelled. There was always something more important to be done or someone more important to tend to. Rest was not valued nor encouraged. As a hormonal and sleepy adolescent this frustrated me to no end. Now that my mother is gone and I find myself in the role of "mother", I at last understand the enormity of her struggle. How do we as women with SO MUCH valuable work in front of us give appropriate value to rest and self-care?
I've heard it said that we are not fully able to, "love others as we love ourself" if we are not in the practice of showing true love to ourselves. What a true and convicting the statement. How will we expect those whom we are nurturing to care for their bodies, hearts, and minds if we are not setting an example?
Showing love to ourselves will most likely look differently for each of us. What can you do today, this week, or this month to thank yourself for the valuable work set before you?
I challenge you and I challenge myself. Let us see how we are better equipped to show love to those in our sphere of influence by caring for the very vessels of love.
One of the things we most desire as an organization is to advocate for a positive change in maternal health on a community level. It is for that reason that we are proud to stand behind our local hospital (Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital) in their effort to obtain the coveted, Baby-Friendly USA designation. The staff and administration have worked relentlessly to integrate the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding best practices. Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing facilities must adhere to the Ten Steps to receive, and retain, a Baby-Friendly designation. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
- Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.
Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital will have their site visit for accreditation by Baby-Friendly USA on March 10 and 11, 2015. They have a request for you, the mothers of our local community. The goal of the 2 site assessors will be to see moms here in the hospital, but they may need to call moms on the phone to ask about their stay. If you were a patient in the last 6 weeks you have the potential to hear from a Baby-Friendly assessor. Questions could include: Was your baby offered a pacifier? How long did you do skin to skin? Was your baby taken from your room? Would you be willing to take the time to speak honestly and truthfully with the assessors? Would you be willing to think about your answers to these questions in preparation? We know your time is limited and precious, and we thank you in advance for considering your response. Together we will support this momentum for a positive change in maternal health in our community.
If you have any questions or concerns, Jackie Weaver (Unit Manager, Mother Baby) would love to hear from you, her office number is 200-4630!
For more details about the practices put into place and the road to Baby-Friendly, read on:
The journey to this site visit is what led our hospital to add many of the wonderful processes you may have experienced recently. Skin to skin is now possible for 100% of our vaginal deliveries as long as everyone is stable. We offer skin to skin for our C-section patients as well as long as mom and baby are stable. Even if skin to skin is not possible after your C-section, we have an increased focus on non-separation of mom from her baby. This can include a care partner holding the baby close by in the operating room or mom meeting her baby in recovery. Skin to skin should last as long as mom wants and at least through the first feeding. This process has been very rewarding for our staff as we watch babies transition significantly better on mom’s chest.
Other practices influenced by our journey include rooming in and lactation education for all our staff members. Rooming in helps mom and babies learn to be a team by matching sleep cycles and becoming familiar with babies unique cues. All staff members received lactation education and training. We now have a team of lactation consultants who see moms (formula and breast milk) in the hospital as well as outpatient at our Baby Café.
We are so thankful to groups such as yours for your support and collaboration. Through your discussions, patient experience stories, and questions we have been able to influence the population health of our community. With the support of the wonderful moms in our area, we now have a breastfeeding rate of 90%.
Jackie Weaver | Unit Manager, Mother Baby
I've had two hard weeks personally. Snow, sickness and the lack of school has not really helped my outlook. Do you have weeks like this? Weeks where you can't get ahead? Where laundry piles up, emails go unwritten, texts and messages pile up on your phone? You ever feel like you're failing as a mother, partner, friend, employee? Perhaps your struggles run even deeper. Perhaps you roll your eyes at the things above and think, "if only she knew the extent of my pain." Well, I might not know each hurt, each ache, each problem. But I know this. You're not alone. I'm so sorry for your bad week. Your bad month. Your bad year. I'm sorry for the pain that might run beneath it all. My heart hurts for you that this journey of MOTHERHOOD is not as simple as we all dreamed.
It is easy to isolate myself when I feel this way. To imagine my problems (small or large) will annoy my friends. But we need each other, don't we? We need to walk MOTHERHOOD together. This is one of the reasons I am so thankful for this organization. I has brought me into relationship with women I never would have known. Women who are nothing like me, but are my who are my partners in MOTHERHOOD.
Even if your little world is pain free, don't do MOTHERHOOD alone. Pour into someone else now, today. For, together we are SERVING WOMEN and CHANGING LIVES. I know you've changed mine.