Mar 25, 2019

​Amanda Sterling, RN, BSN, IBCLC is a Lactation Consultant and CHAMPS Team Leader at CHAMPS hospital Merit Health Biloxi in Biloxi, Mississippi. She was nominated as CHEER Champion of the Week for all her hard work and the excellent job she is doing leading the Baby-Friendly journey at Merit Health Biloxi!

“I truly believe that Baby-Friendly is what is best for all moms and babies,” says Amanda. “I want them all to receive quality, evidence-based care. I loved my personal breastfeeding experience with both of my children, and I enjoy helping others meet their own breastfeeding goals through my expertise and experience.

Amanda has been a nurse for 14 years and an IBCLC for 7. As the only IBCLC at Merit Health Biloxi and as CHAMPS Team Leader, she does rounds on all patients; coordinates and teaches childbirth classes; leads task force meetings; participates on all corporate Baby-Friendly and CHAMPs calls; collects Baby-Friendly data via chart audits and patient interviews; submits those results monthly and posts graphs for staff monthly; participates in community outreach; provides staff education and training regarding lactation/Baby-Friendly; and organizes and keeps all Baby-Friendly materials up-to-date.

“Amanda has worked really hard to keep Merit Health Biloxi’s Baby-Friendly journey moving forward,” shares Merit Health Biloxi’s CHAMPS coach Becky Knapp, RN, MPH. “Things I remember from a site visit last year are Amanda’s organization and the sweet displays she creates to keep staff up-to-date on the hospital’s progress, current education, and data. She carries a big work load and does her work so well. She’s incredible.”

Although Merit Health Biloxi’s Baby-Friendly journey has not always been easy, Amanda is seeing positive results. Over the last few years, she says their breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity rates, as well as their skin-to-skin and rooming-rates have dramatically increased. And staff are starting to change their practice from “the way things have always been done” to the new Baby-Friendly model of care.

What strategies have worked well for Amanda to keep the Baby-Friendly journey moving along?

“Staying involved with CHAMPS and our corporate team helps keep me on track,” she says. “I try listen to staff and take their concerns into consideration. I try to keep staff motivated and involved by posting a ‘Baby-Friendly Question of the Week,’ monthly data charts on our progress, and by giving the staff ‘Report Cards’ to help them know the areas where they need to improve individually. I have made breast cookies and cupcakes, and given candy to staff for World Breastfeeding Week and annual competencies to help them remember this is a positive thing for our patients. I routinely design bulletin boards for our staff, patients and visitors to educate them about different elements of the Ten Steps in a creative and fun way.”

Outside from work, Amanda is the founder and current president of the South Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition, and a volunteer with March of Dimes, Girl Scouts and her children’s school PTA.

Congratulations, Amanda! CHAMPS appreciates all that you do!