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Research Medical Center Recognized with IBCLC Care Award for Family Lactation Programs

February 10, 2011

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) have recognized Research Medical Center for excellence in lactation care.

Research Medical Center—part of HCA Midwest Health System, Kansas City’s largest healthcare network—has received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and providing a lactation program that is available five to seven days a week for breastfeeding families. In addition, Research Medical Center demonstrates that they have provided recent breastfeeding training for medical staff that cares for new families, and has recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

Cathy Carothers, president of ILCA, says this recognition highlights the efforts being made by maternity facilities all across the world to help mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding. “Hospitals such as Research Medical Center are supporting women t in reaching their goals. IBCLCs have the only internationally recognized lactation credential in the world, and are highly skilled in helping mothers with the questions and concerns that can arise,” says Carothers. “They are also an important part of the overall maternal and child health team by assuring that evidence- based policies and practices are in place that help mothers succeed with breastfeeding.”

Ellen McIntyre, associate professor, and Chair of IBLCE, echoes those sentiments. “An IBCLC has many years of training and study to equip them for helping mothers with both common and challenging situations that may arise. They must also keep their skills current by recertifying every five years. The public can be confident that an IBCLC is delivering high quality evidence-based care.”

IBCLCs focus on preventive care, so they are available during pregnancy to assess the mother and provide information on how to get off to a good start. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by helping mothers latch their babies appropriately and answering their questions, and continue supporting them as their baby grows. They assist mothers returning to work or school, and help mothers in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby, nursing a sick or premature infant, and dealing with other challenges.

As allied health care professionals with the only internationally recognized credential for professional lactation services, IBCLCs work in hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, private practice, community settings, government agencies, and in research. There are currently more than 22,000 IBCLCs in 81 countries worldwide that are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (www.iblce.org) under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

“Breastfeeding rates are on the rise today and with that dramatic increase the need for trained professionals who can help also increases,” says Carothers. “Breastfeeding is natural and often works quite well without intervention. But sometimes things happen and mothers need extra support. IBCLCs are the trained experts who know how to work with the entire health care team so that a mother’s breastfeeding goals can be met.”

Julie Wood, MD, IBCLC, of Goppert-Trinity Family Care of Kansas City, says recent CDC findings show that 75 percent of American women choose to initiate breastfeeding. “This means more support is needed to help patients meet their personal breastfeeding goals,” says Dr. Wood. "We take this statistic seriously at Research Medical Center and have increased our efforts on training staff and providing lactation consultant services with IBCLCs. It's essential to provide ongoing breastfeeding support for our patients and families. It's an honor to be recognized by the IBCLC Care Award for our efforts.

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