Jan 27, 2020

Congratulations to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center (SMRMC) on their Baby-Friendly designation! This accomplishment was announced on December 12, 2019, approximately 3 years after they joined the pathway to designation in 2016. Located in McComb MS, SMRMC oversees a Level II NICU and about 813 births per year.

“To be Baby-Friendly is extremely rewarding!  Labor and Delivery (L&D) has completely been transformed in the way we practice maternity and infant care, providing a “Family Centered” environment for the mother and baby couplets that deliver on our unit,” states Angela Ferguson-Parker, CLC, and Lactation Team Lead.

When asked about the challenges faced and victories accomplished throughout the process, Angela shared that the culture, work flow, and logistical changes required for their facility to achieve designation was no easy task. She further mentioned that while the slow progression in their data made it tough to remain motivated sometimes, it mostly pushed them to work even harder towards the goal of designation. Angela is proud that they are the 18th hospital in MS and amongst the first 600 hospitals in the U.S. to be Baby-Friendly designated. She is happy that the team faced little to no resistance from moms to the new changes, which made the process easier. She also noted that the increase in staff knowledge about breastfeeding and their desire to assist moms through challenges was a high point.

Since joining the pathway in 2016, the staff approach to providing maternity services has changed. According to Angela, every staff personnel is providing evidence-based education to every mother about the benefits of breastfeeding, risks of formula feeding, the importance of skin to skin and rooming in, and the proper preparation and handling of breastmilk substitutes. They also provide resources for post-discharge assistance and follow up. “All patients are now well-informed and supported to make decisions as to how they choose to feed and care for their babies,” Angela reports.

Furthermore, Angela would like to specially recognize the entire L&D unit, the amazing Breastfeeding Task Force including the CEO, COO, CNO’s, Physician champions -Dr. Richardson, Dr. Artigues and Dr. Nobles-, 4th Floor Gyn. & Peds. unit,  Quality Improvement, Public Relations, Education Department, Accounting, Purchasing Department, WIC Representatives, and CHAMPS. She would also like to thank Kim Pace, Nurse Manager of LDRP, for the support, encouragement, motivation, and hard work she put into the entire process.

SMRMC first celebrated their achievement on December 30th. Going forward, they intend to stay up to date on trainings and updated materials to best serve and educate their patients, and take steps to increase the exclusive breastfeeding rates. They will promote, protect, and support breastfeeding while working hard to implement the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding and uphold the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

Congratulations on your designation SMRMC, thank you for your service to mothers and babies in McComb and surrounding areas!