Jun 10, 2019

Congratulations to Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) in Anchorage, Alaska, for becoming Baby-Friendly designated on May 22, 2019! ANMC was part of the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) CHAMPS program from 2015 until the end of the AI/AN CHAMPS grant in 2018. It is the largest tribal hospital in Alaska and serves as a tertiary care center for all tribal hospitals in Alaska. ANMC has approximately 1,600 births per year, and many mothers, including high-risk mothers from other tribal hospitals and mothers from remote villages, travel to Anchorage to deliver at ANMC.

“It was a very long journey to achieve Baby-Friendly designation, and there is a sense of pride knowing that we are providing the best care to our infants and moms alike,” says Lisa Derr, RNC, Director of Family Birthing Services at ANMC.

Lisa says one of the biggest differences that Baby-Friendly has made is that it provides a consistent framework for staff and patients.

“One of the most frustrating events from a new parent’s perspective is to receive conflicting information, especially about the most fundamental task, breastfeeding,” Lisa explains. “Having uniform language and teaching helps develop the trust between the patient and the care providers, which naturally lends itself to them trusting us with their whole care.”

Now that ANMC is Baby-Friendly, Lisa says they will focus on maintaining designation and continuing to help their patients be the best parents they can be, starting with their babies’ first breaths. They also have a strong desire to have telehealth lactation support for the remote villages in Alaska to support breastfeeding mothers. While there is lactation assistance in the Anchorage bowl, where ANMC’s campus is located, mothers in the villages often do not have any lactation assistance at all.

To read more about ANMC, check out their CHEER Hospital of the Week post from 2016!

Well done, ANMC! CHAMPS applauds all your hard work and celebrates with you!