Sep 24, 2018

Congratulations to Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner in Kenner, Louisiana for becoming Baby-Friendly designated on August 28, 2018! Ochsner Kenner was part of the first wave of the CHAMPS South program from 2014-2017. It is one of many hospitals in the New Orleans area that are now Baby-Friendly, a culture change that is truly remarkable! Ochsner Kenner has approximately 1,100 births per year and a level II NICU.

“We are elated to have received Baby-Friendly designation after a long and arduous journey,” shares Jennifer Melton, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, Director of Women’s Services and CHAMPS Team Leader at Ochsner Kenner. “The team has collaborated to change processes and improve patient outcomes.”

Ochsner Kenner began their Baby-Friendly journey in late 2014 along with other Ochsner facilities offering maternity services. Jennifer says that having the support of their sister facilities, along with the support of CHAMPS, Gift, Coffective and other facilities in the region kept the momentum going over the last 3 years.

Jennifer clearly articulates the difference Baby-Friendly has made in maternity care at Ochsner Kenner: “Mothers and newborns are no longer routinely separated and skin-to-skin contact is encouraged. Through extensive training, the staff feel more engaged and empowered to assist new mothers with breastfeeding. Patients also report feeling better prepared for delivery and breastfeeding. Many patients report excitement at being able to participate in routine tasks, such as the bath, hearing screens, and lab tests. We have also seen improvements in our exclusive breastfeeding rates for both healthy newborns and those admitted to the NICU.”

Jennifer would like to thank members of Ochsner Kenner’s Baby-Friendly taskforce, which is made up of frontline staff, lactation consultants, leaders, and physicians. She would also like to especially thank Lactation Consultant Heather Frught, RNC, IBCLC, for playing a critical role in achieving designation. Heather assisted with the writing of the newborn feeding policy, organized and led staff and patient education sessions, collaborated with the OB/GYN clinic, developed patient education materials, and pushed the team to keep going even when facing considerable challenges.

Well done, Ochsner Kenner! It has been an honor to work with you!